Thursday, June 1, 2006
My mother-in-law passed away last week. And as much as I hate the phrase — it really was a relief and/or blessing.
Jimmie, my mother-in-law, was 78 on May 22. My oldest granddaughter, my older brother and I went to the nursing home in Memphis, Tenn. Saturday to see her and say “Happy Birthday.”
I was very sad that day. I saw her physical body, but Jimmie’s mind was already gone. She had suffered — greatly — from senile dementia for several years.
Jimmie always liked for me to give her diamonds on her birthday. And I usually found some sort of sparkly, costume jewelry that she liked.
Saturday, I was very sad, because even if I’d brought her diamonds, she wouldn’t have known. She hasn’t known who I was for a while now.
At her funeral this Saturday, Jimmie’s niece Sarah and I were talking with Debbie Hilton, Jimmie’s stepdaughter. Debbie had been horrified at the thought of Jimmie in make-up. Sarah and I laughed out loud and shared quite a few memories of the “real” Jimmie with Debbie.
Remember hot pants? Back in the late ’70s, early ’80s, when they first became fashionable, Jimmie certainly had the gumption to wear them. At one New Year’s party, she was spectacular in a blue, polyester, rhinestone covered hot pants set.
While she had the gumption (and the style and the figure) to wear them, she didn’t have the nerve to buy them. We found the hot pants outfit at a department store and she absolutely refused to pay for them. She went and hid outside while I went to the check out and paid for them.
Jimmie was a stunning woman for many years. As a young woman, Sarah could remember cars honking, etc. as they would walk down the sidewalk.
“Aunt Jimmie would always push me and say “don’t look at them” and hurry me along the sidewalk,” Sarah said laughing. Today, Sarah bears a striking resemblance to her Aunt Jimmie.
We almost had a good time at her funeral — telling stories and laughing at the memories. Jimmie’s sister-in-law (nearly 80 now) and her brother, Eva and Jack Covington, still play dominoes and laughed when I talked about teaching my 10-year-old granddaughter how to play “42” (kinda like Rook, but with dominoes).
We spent many a Friday night gathered around the square yellow kitchen table playing dominoes. It could get really fierce and competitive sometimes.
I spent Saturday, May 20, grieving for my mother-in-law. I spent Saturday, May 27 at her funeral.
And it was a good day...
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