My sister-in-law -- my late husband's sister -- called me today to express disdain at some family members who've swooped in to sweep up some items belonging to Julie A., my mom-in-law who passed last week.
She is especially bothered by the loss of her mother's string of pearls; she wants to wear them at her mother's funeral -- and should.
What she (and I) didn't know was that Julie had possessed two strands of pearls -- that which was snatched up the night of her death, and the strand she gave me before I married soon-to-be-deleted husband, to wear at my wedding. (Because I already had jewelry picked out, a matched set of earrings & necklace, I wound the pearls around my wrist to make a perfectly fitted bracelet.)
Mr. Soon-To-Be-Deleted and I had a small wedding, sixty people, and my in-laws from my first marriage were first on the list. I felt so honored to be given this gift from Julie -- it was such an act of love and faith on her part. I bless her, now and forever.
She was an extraordinary woman.
She was my touchpoint, my no-nonsense source of just about any info about anything. She rarely cut anyone slack, yet she loved with an honesty and fierceness that was unquestionable. She possessed a formidable intelligence, never minced words, and for many years she intimidated the hell out of me. After we endured the death of her son/my husband, we shared a bond unlike any I've experienced to date.
I recall her sitting on my couch two days after Mark's death, and she said (with the remnants of her New Orleans accent):
"Now T., I don't want you to stay single. You're too young, and you need to move on."
I was stunned. Here she was, stricken with abject grief, and she had the presence of mind to think of me. I was, and remain, humbled by that comment, and by her magnanimous spirit.
Here's a link to her obituary: Julie.