A Tribute to my Mother-In-Law

I’m not sure how many times I need to learn this lesson, but once again, I have been reminded that money just isn’t that important. Over the weekend, my mother-in-law passed away unexpectedly at the age of 57.

After the initial shock, there is only one word to describe how I felt. Pissed.

I was pissed that someone so young lost her life.

I was pissed that someone so good couldn’t keep living when so many terrible people continue to.

I was pissed that a wife of 35 years was taken from her husband.

I was pissed that a mother of 5, mother-in-law of 2, and grandmother of 4 was taken from her family.

I was pissed that a beloved principal was taken from her students.

I was pissed that an amazing friend was taken from those who adored her.

I was pissed that our meetings were confined to Skype and phone calls, and that we didn’t get to see each other in person.

I was pissed that our future children will never know one of their grandparents.

But most of all, I was pissed that my best friend in the world and love of my life lost the woman who shaped him into who he is today.

Unfortunately, all the anger in the world can’t undo what happened. More than that, she wouldn’t want us to be angry. You see, my mother-in-law was not your average woman.

She was a woman who made friends with everyone she’d meet and who liked people far more than what made sense.

She was a woman who, despite living in a culture where women often fade into the background and are told to be subservient to their fathers and husbands, taught her sons to respect women and treat them as equals. But she didn’t just say it. She walked the walk and demanded respect from everyone she met and worked with.

She was a woman who wanted the best for her children, even if it meant they would live far away.

She was a woman who had a social life so active it would put college students to shame.

She was a woman who loved her students as her children.

She was a woman who you would aspire to be, if you didn’t already know you could never attain that level of goodness without a divine intervention.

She was and is my mother-in-law, the amazing woman who gave me a husband far better than anyone deserves.

You know, it’s sort of a sitcom joke that every wife gets annoyed by her mother-in-law. But what I wouldn’t give to have hugged mine just one time.

Cherish your family. You know that trip to visit them you’ve been putting off because it’s too expensive? Go. Book the ticket now, because I promise you, it’s not too much. There is no figure high enough that should ever keep you from your loved ones and life is far too short to take it for granted.

Nothing I could write could describe the type of person my mother-in-law was, but if I could be a tenth of the woman she was, I would be a fantastic wife, friend, daughter, and future mother. I hope I can live up to that and live a life she would be proud of.

Rest in peace, and thank you for everything you’ve done. You truly left the world better than you found it.


  1. I’m so sorry for you and your family’s loss, Erin, But thank you for sharing this with us – it was a touching read and made me want to go hug both my mother-in-law and my own mom right this second. Will be sending you and your husband positive vibes and good thoughts.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about this, Erin. I’m thinking about you and Steve. Please let me know if you need anything.

  3. WHAT. That is way before her time. I am so sorry for you and Steve’s loss – thoughts with you both.

  4. I’m so sorry again for yours and Steve’s loss. What a touching tribute to your MIL though. She was lucky to have a DIL like you in her life. And yes, 57 is way too young!

  5. I’m really sorry for you and your husband’s loss. She sounds like she lead a very happy life and touched those around her, whether or not you met in person. 🙂

  6. So very sorry for your loss, Erin. She sounds like an incredible person and so young! My heart goes out to you and your husband.

  7. Erin, my condolences and thoughts and prayers for your family. She sounds amazing and I so glad that you shared this advice. I am wishing you and your husband positive vibes.

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss. 57 is too young. Please let me know if you or Steve need anything!

  9. My deepest condolences.

  10. Erin I am so sorry 🙁 What terrible news. Sending my regards to you and Steve during this difficult time. Let me know if you need anything. You have done a great job at capturing this woman’s spirit and I appreciate you sharing this with us. Xoxox.

  11. I’m sorry to hear of your loss, Erin. Will you guys at least be able to make it down to see the family? Family comes first – money comes and goes, but family is forever.

    • Thanks, Nina. Yes, Steve is there already and I’ll be meeting him there on the 15th after spending some time with my family in Ohio.

  12. Oh Erin, I’m so sorry for you and Steve and the rest of the family. My thoughts are with you.

    It’s not often that we find people in life that get into our soul but I’m blessed with a MIL like yours, too! And the thought of the loss is just immeasurable. . What a wonderful tribute.

  13. I am so sorry for your loss, Erin. This was a beautiful tribute to your mother-in-law. She sounds like she was, without question, a beautiful person inside and out. <3

  14. You and Steve are in my thoughts and prayers. It sounds like her memories will live on and your future children will get to hear beautiful stories about their strong an independent grandmother. Much love to you both right now.

  15. I’m so sorry for your loss! But thank you for sharing…it’s a good reminder of what’s important in life, and it’s usually not money.

  16. Lovely. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad you get to be there with the family soon. Hug your family A LOT and get out there. xoxo.

  17. I have been thinking about you guys since Johnny told me about your loss. We have been having some conversations lately about our planned travels. And while I definitely agree that seeing the world will be amazing, to me, nothing beats spending time with family. Your message was beautifully said. And Steve is just as lucky to have you as a wife, who obviously didn’t let the distance get in the way of getting to know this extraordinary woman inside and out. I just wanted you to know that your support system has a far reach, and I’ll continue to send positive vibes your way.

  18. I’m so sorry for your loss Erin. I can understand this sentiment so much… the anger that comes up during the grieving process. Take good care of Steve during this time – he will need a lot from you, even if he doesn’t show it, or ask for it. Safe travels.

  19. I’m truly sorry for what you guys are going through. You’re very brave and wise to let go of your anger and remember your mother in law’s awesomeness.

  20. What a beautiful tribute Erin.
    Very sorry to hear about your loss.

  21. I’m so sorry for you and your family’s loss. My boyfriend lost his mother a year ago, before I met him. I wish I could have met her and fought with her and hugged her. Thank you for sharing and *hug*

  22. Well, well put my friend. Just… wow.

  23. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. That is so young.

  24. Erin, I’m very sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing this intimate moment with your readers. It’s a touching and true reminder for us in the struggle to get out of debt life is about so much more than money.

  25. I’m so sorry for you loss. For some reason I had been putting of visiting my family for a bit now, trying to eek out another week of work, and having read this, I just want to go home today and hug them all. Thank you.

  26. Very beautifully written, Erin. I can feel the love and respect that you have for your mother-in-law. You gave me chills. What a wonderful woman and what an honour it must have been for you to know her.

    My sincerest sympathies for your loss. How terrible.

  27. So deeply sorry to hear this Erin. I hope you and your family do take care.

  28. Sorry for the lateness of this message Erin, but I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. She sounds like an incredible woman that touched many lives. <3 Sending my love!

  29. Oh, no!! I am so, so terribly sorry for your loss. I would be broken-hearted if my mother-in-law died. Sending you positive thoughts! :o( Let me know if I can do anything when I get back to town. 😛

  30. Erin, I am so sorry for your loss. She was way too young. This is a beautiful tribute to her. You and your husband are in my thoughts and prayers.

  31. Erin, very moving post. We lost my mother in law a couple year ago and the whole family was devastated. It still hurts today and we talk about her often. The whole range of emotions that you explore came rushing back to me.
    I am going to visit my 89 year old father and 85 year old mother this weekend so this is a good thing. I know time is precious and short for them. So I am looking forward to seeing them.
    Thanks for your thoughtful post.

  32. This is something I definitely need to do, Thanks for sharing

  33. Blessing says:

    Losing my mother in law brought me to this site and I find your write up quite inspiring and losing her at 59 is close in age to yours and they also share some striking characteristics. Sorry for your lose but thanks for the inspiration.

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