I am always thinking about things. No doubt, you are, too.
I am thinking about my mother-in-law, Mildred Pearl Haile Black, whom we buried on Saturday, December 5. She would have been 91 in just a few weeks. She had been running on low boiler pressure for some time now, and eventually vented her remaining steam to the atmosphere as her fire went out. She lived at home, was as active as her arthritis allowed her to be, or as much as she wanted to be, and took no daily medications, nor hardly ever saw a doctor. Her only thorn I could see was a grandson she loved too much, who abused this powerful love of hers. She is gone now, may she rest in peace. Her much-loved grandson? I am not yet sure he understands just how hard his life will become in her absence, but he will understand soon enough. I hope he can develop a stiff upper lip, and soon; he is going to need it in the dismal world he inhabits, in which he is the perpetual victim.
Debbie, my loving wife, had made the statement, “My mother passed away. While she was ready, my heart was not.” This is what hurt me the most, seeing pain in someone I love so much. Mildred Black lived a long life of 91 years. While the last few years seemed to be difficult for her at times, she kept a stoic grace about her that belied her modest retirement circumstances with which she supported far more than she was required. It is always those of us left behind that bear the pain of parting, as, most likely, the dead are not sitting around mourning their death, only we living, mourning those who exited before us.
Rest in peace, Mildred Black. You left behind you five children, eight grandchildren, and thirteen great-grandchildren. One of those children of yours is the most fabulous woman I have ever known, who has been my wife and steadfast companion for the last 36 years. For that, I will always be thankful.
I will miss her pecan pies. I doubt I will ever eat one nearly so sweet, so perfectly sticky, with just the right texture: not a crunchy crust, but suggesting crunchy, hinting at it, with just the desired thinness/thickness of syrupy delight underneath a double layer of whole pecans, not the cheap pecan dust as used by inferior bakers. On her worst day, she exceeded everyone else by a country mile. She sure knew how to make one. This is gone with her, as if she told anyone her real secret, she could not effectively communicate it to their understanding. Everything else is merely an approximation, a facsimile, a caricature of the genuine. In that way, my life changed forever.
Our mothers are sacred to us. God bless them all.
I have other things I am thinking of this morning, but I am content to think, having written when I actually had nothing to say, but glad for having said it, as the nothing turns in to something as soon as the fingers touch the keyboard. The rest of the nothing, having seen the privileged nothing take root and blossom into something and now yearning to become something itself, had best remain in my head before it yields to an unsavory inclination to politics and social commentary, of which we seem of late to be cursed with an unsavory excess.
It is a full time job of self-regulation, avoiding the snares of political commentary, though easier if one could limit one’s self to writing about what one knows about rather than writing with a misplaced confidence about things that obviously elude one’s understanding. I knew my mother-in-law as only a son-in-law could. There are only two of us on this planet that can say that, and the other one does not have a blog-site that he writes in, though I daresay he would not disagree with anything I have written here, though I won’t ask him, nor be surprised if he does, nor be upset if he does. The politics of families is sometimes unavoidable, even unmentionable, though me and this remarkable man who married sisters have our own unique bond, and what we tell each other, we hold sacred and inviolable, never betraying the confidence each holds in the other, which is one more gift from my late mother-in-law.
If we stop and consider it, other people have more impact on our lives than we give them credit, as their impact continues through the relationships that grew from our having known them. It makes us better people…at least we are claiming the better people part. Time will tell.
Thank you, Mildred Pearl Black.
©2015 Mississippi Chris Sharp