371085_1630430143_26489506_n[1]Almost a week ago, I lost my mother-in-law to ALS, a disease many people know as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  It’s a terribly cruel disease that strikes about 5,600 people in the United States each year.  The disease is variable by person.  Some patients live many years with it.  My mother-in-law was diagnosed on her birthday, August 8, 2011.  She died three months and twenty days later, on November 28, 2011. 

What struck me most–within those last months, she never complained about her disease. She must have wondered “why” to herself, but not once did she ever vocalize that to us. She maintained a positive attitude and fought ‘til the bitter end.

She was the best mom-in-law a girl could ask for. Always treating me like a daughter. She had the biggest heart of any person I have ever met. She was always doing for others and never asking for anything in return. Except when she’d come over on weekend mornings and ask if we had coffee or come over at night and ask if we had any beer. Smile My heart aches knowing she won’t be flying through the door to ask for either of those things. Or eating pancakes with us on Saturday mornings. Or attending my kids’ sporting events and school functions. Or sharing holidays and cooking her amazing mashed potatoes.  Or zipping through the neighborhood to visit customers or friends. Or going to check out a new listing (she was a realtor) with her.  Or trying to convince us to buy a new house. Or see her grandkids grow up.  Or…or…or… There are myriads of or’s. 

Last week I came across this cool Advent calendar on Busted Halo.   Each day of Advent has an inspirational quote and then micro challenges you to do something to show the spirit of that quote. 

Today’s quote:  “That kind of act leaves a mark … [that] cannot be seen. It lives in your very skin.” “What is it?” “Love.” — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Today’s challenge:  Call your parents and thank them for all they sacrificed for you. 

In that spirit, here’s my thank you to a world-class mom-in-law, Trish. 

Thank you for blessing the earth with a wonderful son who became my hero. Thank you for welcoming me into your family with a warm heart and open arms.  Thank you for being a role model by giving to others without reservation.  Thank you for the special memories you gave us – especially for your grandchildren those last few months.  Thank you for being there, always.  Thank you for your never ending love and support.  Thank you for being our number one fan in everything we did.  Thank you for showing us how to live and die with dignity and grace.  I love you and will miss you more than words can convey.