Flowers for Mom

Remembering a beloved mother-in-law.

Dear Mom,

It’s been so long since we’ve talked. I never had the chance to say goodbye. We all expected you to come home from the hospital the next day. But that changed. Forever. I think of you often. I have a lifetime of good memories.

When I got engaged to Jack one of the girls our age from church told me I was getting a sweet deal for a mother-in-law. Funny, she didn’t say anything about my choice of husband! Anyway, she was right.

I miss your sense of humour. You always told me you did your best with Jack and from our wedding day on, it was up to me. “I tried,” you’d say with a wink, as he kicked his boots off in different directions and traipsed across the floor with wet socks. “I know,” I would answer, “And I’m not holding a grudge.” We loved to joke about being married to VanderSlikke men and what a character building experience it was.

Thanks for teaching me how to make the world’s best jam and “lekkere” soup with those tiny meatballs. You introduced me to the joy of spring cleaning. You had to be the tidiest person ever. Remember when I painted your living room? I left for the night and when I came back the next day you had all the drop cloths neatly folded up and the paint and tools organized in a corner. I felt guilty spreading it all out again. Just before you collapsed you were sorting through a closet.

You knew how to stretch a dollar, find friends anywhere and make the best out of any situation. You had a solid faith and steadfast love for God and family.

People often commented on your youthfulness. You soaked up those compliments with a gracious smile. As a girl, you thought 80 would be a good old age to reach, but you made it past 90. “I’ll enjoy every day the Lord gives me here,” you said, “And it won’t take anything away from my eternity in heaven.”

I miss our trips to the bookstore. You pored over greeting cards, choosing just the right one for every occasion and each family member. You underlined the important phrases and then added a favourite Bible verse in your careful handwriting. You’d be surprised how many I’ve kept.

You loved to receive gifts. I never knew what to get you for your birthday and Mother’s Day, since they were so close together. But as long as I had a couple of nice cards and some flowers, you were delighted. I hear your voice in my mind – “Bring me flowers while I’m alive, I always say. I won’t need them when I’m gone.”

And now you are gone. Dad chose a beautiful headstone. Jack and I went to the cemetery in the fall and dug in some tulip bulbs for you. Oh, I know. You don’t need them. The flowers in heaven are beyond compare. But I need them. They remind me of you and how you loved spring.

I sure do miss you, Mom.

Until we meet again,



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