(Mis)Adventures in International Travel: A long life

A year ago my sister’s energetic and charismatic mother-in-law, still living on her own, was diagnosed with incurable cancer. It was sad to hear of this 96-year-old woman suffering at the end of life.

My sister called a few days before my trip to tell me that her mother-in-law had stopped eating. She died at her home the morning I arrived.

Usually I stay in New York when I visit, but this year I had arranged to visit my brother in Washington. He agreed to have us come a week earlier than planned, so I changed our reservations in order to leave after the funeral the next day. After paying the airline’s fee, we received e-tickets with the new dates. We would return to New York after the bulk of the family had left my sister’s house, where the shiva would take place.

At the funeral my brother-in-law spoke about his mother’s passion for her grandchildren. She bragged about them to no one but their parents, because telling people outside the family would only make them feel bad. Her grandson spoke about her giving him a check for $100.25. When he inquired about the odd sum she replied that the hundred dollars was because she loved him. The $0.25 was so that he would “call her sometime.”

I blogged here about the compassion and assistance of my sister’s in-laws during another international trip. My sister’s mother-in-law had a warm place in her heart for my family, and despite the “balagan” of arriving in the midst of everything I was glad to be at the funeral. My children stayed with my father and his helper.

About thirty people returned to lunch at my sister’s, but I didn’t have much time before leaving for the airport. Amazingly, my sister found a ride for the four of us with a couple on their way back to Manhattan. They were happy to fill their van, now that their children are mostly grown. I sympathized; our own van is rarely full these days.

To be continued . . .

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Comments

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your sister’s mother-in-law. I really enjoyed my cousin’s mother-in-law, and I used to love talking to her when I visited my cousins. Also a warm, compassionate woman.
    The story with the check is poignant.

  2. I’m sorry to hear about your sister’s mother-in-law. I really enjoyed my cousin’s mother-in-law, and I used to love talking to her when I visited my cousins. Also a warm, compassionate woman.
    The story with the check is poignant.

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