Saturday, February 24, 2007

My Mother-in-Law, a Remarkable Woman

No, this is not my mother-in-law and frankly this woman looks better than me, the ancient daughter-in-law!

Today I'm again taking the easy way out and going to post a piece I wrote a few years ago about my mother-in-law. She died in 2005, at the ripe old age of 104, just shy of her 105th birthday. Yes, she was born August 10th, 1900, within a few days of the Queen Mum, for whom she felt a great kinship, even though their lives couldn't have been more different, and whom she outlasted by a few years.

From the year she turned 90, and on, a big celebration was held every five years and we always went back to Australia to attend. For her hundredth birthday, my sister-in-law, the second of her four children, put together a book to give to her on the occasion and she asked my husband to contribute a piece. She said all the children, grandchildren, etc were going to write something. Of course, she didn't ask me, since I don't really think in her mind I'm part of the family, just the Australian woman her younger brother married when he was in England. In high dudgeon, I decided to write something anyway and send it along and she did include it.

This truly remarkable woman lived in an apartment by herself until she was 101, totally taking care of herself. Her husband died when she was 74, so she lived alone for all those years. The apartment was part of a retirement community on the outskirts of Sydney and at 101 she was persuaded by her daughters to move into the hostel part, where she had her own room and ate her meals in the dining room.

Sadly the last two years of her life were not pleasant as she suffered from colon cancer and at her great age cells divide very slowly, so she endured a long dying process. Everyone prayed for her to die, especially she did herself. She always used to say,"I don't know why I'm still here." I think after she reached the goal of 100 she was ready and willing to go.

This introduction has grown longer than I planned, so I'm going to put it up as a teaser and you'll have to wait to read my earlier piece in the next post. Please come back, you're always welcome to jmb's world.


mhr said...

You can bet I'll be back!
People who live past 100 years hold a special fascination to me.
Thinking of all they have witnessed during their life is mind-boggling somehow.

jmb said...

Hi mhr,
The next piece appears tomorrow. My Italian son-in-law's grandmother lived to 101, so my 4yr grandaughter got a double dose of longevity genes.
A bientot.

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

I shall look forward to the rest tomorrow - longevity genes indeed, or perhaps it's the food over in that part of the world! Thanks for the post. Michelle

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

P.S. Hope you don't mind - but I have just added you to my links. All the very best, Michelle

jmb said...

Hi Michelle,
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for linking to me. I'm feeling very embarrassed that I don't have a blogroll. I've got a list over in and am too scared to load it as yet. I've read the instructions over and over, but I'm terrified that I will wreck the blog. I'm really rather pleased that so far I've managed so well and don't want it to be gibbled up.
I read your blog every day and I'm glad I found it. Mostly I lurk because everyone has already said what I think. Your blog is full of good common sense as well as being thought provoking.

Ian said...

Hi jmb,
I'll be back for tomorrow's installment. I didn't have time to post anything today, but managed to check a couple of blogs out.

jmb said...

Hi Ian,
I don't know how any one blogs and has a job and family and a life. Even retired, I find this blog thing takes a lot of time.