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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)

TITLE: Why Is My Mother-in-Law So Mean?


Joyce loved her husband dearly but his mother was something else! Why from the very first meeting, Jay’s mom, Helene, looked at her with disdain and said, “Crawford! What is a Crawford?! Let me find my book of names and I will check and see who you are and where you come from!”

Joyce was flabbergasted by such treatment but what made it worse was that Jay just stood there and said nothing. Of course, they had only been married for a year and Helene and father-in-law, Hank, had not attended the wedding. Jay admitted right from the beginning that his mother was difficult and demanding and didn’t want to attend the wedding. So, that first unpleasant memory was in her mind as she quietly planned a reunion with his folks. Hank, was a quiet man, so she was not fearful of him. But, Helene was another matter.

It was getting close to Thanksgiving and Joyce thought it would be a good idea to invite his folks over for dinner. Jay thought it was a good idea, too, but was afraid of how his mother would be, coming to their home for the first time..

Jay was going to do the inviting and so on Monday, two weeks before Thanksgiving, he dialed their number…

Jay’s father answered the phone. “Hello?”

“Dad? It’s me, Jay. Can I talk with you a minute?”

“Sure, son. You know you can call here anytime. What’s up?”

“Dad, I know it’s been awhile since we’ve talked or visited and I apologize but Joyce and I would love for you and Mom to come over for dinner on Thanksgiving. I realize Mom got off on the wrong foot with Joyce and Joyce is somewhat anxious being around her, but we both feel the need to give it another try. Do you think Mom would come and make an effort of getting along with Joyce?”

“Well, I think so. Let me talk with her and I’ll get back with you later.”

“Great! Thanks Dad…”

Several days later Jay’s Dad called and said that they would be coming for dinner.

It was about an hour before the big day and Joyce was finishing up in the kitchen. Joyce had everything ready—the table was set, food was cooking and the house was sparkling clean.

The doorbell rang minutes later; Jay walked to the door and opened it.

“Mom and Dad! So good to see you. Won’t you come in?”

Both walked in, Jay took their coats and everyone proceeded to the living room.

Joyce walked in and blurted out, “Mom…Dad…So, glad you could come. Dinner will be ready soon.”

Jay’s mother replied, “Nice home but kind of cluttered.”

Joyce ignored the remark, and went directly to the kitchen.

Jay left his folks, walked to the kitchen and said, “Honey, I know you’re upset but let’s see how it goes….”

Tears were forming in Joyce’s eyes but she decided right then and there to see it through.. It was time to confront her fears...

Just then, Jay’s Dad walked into the kitchen and said, “Please forgive Helen. She just found out several days ago that she has cancer and she’s very confused and angry.”

Joyce said nothing but a look of surprise and compassion filled her face and then Jay said, “Oh Dad! We’re so sorry. If there’s anything we can do, please let us know.”

“Thanks Son and thank you, Joyce, for inviting us.” With that he left and went back to the table…

As everyone was seated and the food was served, Helene said, “Well, the food looks good Joyce, but let’s see what it tastes like.” She smiled at Joyce and with tears forming in her eyes said, “So sorry it took us so long. Thank you for inviting us, dear…”

It was a Thanksgiving to remember; for two months later Helene died but before she died she whispered to her husband, “Tell them I’m so sorry for the way I’ve been, that I love them and ask them to please forgive me!”

As she spoke her last words, a peace came over her and a kind of glow enveloped her entire body, as if a healing were taking place.

Moral of the story—be happy and show your love to others whenever you can. Life is so short and filled with such potential. Live it well and wisely!

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Member Comments
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Sara Harricharan 05/15/08
I'm glad that Helene did ask for forgivness before she died. I loved the fact that it brought her peace. I felt sorry for Joyce to have to go through that, but good job! ^_^
Sylvia Hensel 05/18/08
You really captured the difficulty of a mother releasing her child. That was the hardest thing I have ever done. Rare, a son-in-law would understand his mother-in-law's feelings in this most tramatic situation.

Good writing.