The love of a mother-in-law

I see people asking for prayers on Facebook with some frequency, for themselves or for a family member or friend who is in distress. And people respond. I see it all the time. It’s not something I do – I don’t actually pray, nor do I ask for prayers. If people offer up good thoughts and prayers to me – for example, many people sent good wishes when our dog Spencer was facing amputation surgery – I appreciate that. Very much. I convey my positive thoughts when I think it’s appropriate and I truly wish that something about the positive energy I’m trying to create might at least offer comfort.

What am I getting at? Well, given that I am not religious and don’t pray, one might think I have something against prayer. Just the opposite is true. I respect people whose lives are guided by faith, and I consider it an enormous compliment, a loving act, when someone offers to pray for someone else.

Patrick and his mom and I went on a vacation in mid-April, to our usual spot – Bald Head Island, N.C. It is a quiet setting and offered the respite I really needed – more from the rigors of everyday life than from anything specifically having to do with Mom. One thing I have known for many years is that my mother-in-law says the rosary every single day. If I recall correctly, she chose to do this when her husband was in grave condition after heart surgery 20 years ago. He survived at that time, and in thanks to God, she has since performed this daily prayerful task. (He passed away a little over a year ago. His troubled heart held out for a long time.)

Having an early Mother's Day dinner with Mom K last Friday.

Having an early Mother’s Day dinner with Mom K last Friday.

We were driving along in a golf cart on the island, and Patrick asked his mom about the rosary. I was sitting in the back, enjoying the inland forest and the just-right temperature, not fully hearing what they were saying. And Patrick said, “You should tell Emily that.” It turns out that Mom K says daily prayers for a number of family members and friends, some living and some gone. Turning around to face me, she said, “One of those people is your mother.” My mother-in-law prays for my mom every day.

This struck me and I got a little choked up in the back seat. It’s not surprising, really, but it’s just something I never considered. Mom K is asking God to look after my mom – it is such a loving act for her to do that. I am lucky to have her in my life.


3 comments so far

  1. David Hoover on

    You are right, Emily, to appreciate the gesture. What I resist and resent is when the “prayers” are seen as a miraculous fix, which clearly has not proven to be realistic. I struggle with family and friends who seem to always default to that easy solution to all of our troubles, without being willing to acknowledge truth. I will continue to attempt to give credit for good intent!

  2. momsbrain on

    Hi, David – I do know what you mean. I remember when my dad was waiting for his heart transplant and was hospitalized for months, he said he had never had so many people tell him they’d pray for him. Those are the prayerful gestures that I think can be the most special.

  3. dementedgirl on

    Hi there,

    I have been a young(ish!) carer for my mother-in-law, who suffers from dementia, for the last three years now….

    I am in the process of creating a new poetry site primarily aimed at carers, but also people with dementia as well –

    The blog is an honest account of my experience of caring over the last few years in poems – some silly, some exasperated, some happy, some sad – of my last three years caring for my mother-in-law, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and is aimed at helping to support other caregivers in a similar position.

    If you would be happy to link to me, I would gladly return the favour!

    DG x

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