People come into our lives in many different ways.  In-laws come in through marriages and then you have the added members of their families.  Cathy became my friend when my son fell in love with her daughter, Whitney, and we were forever bonded with the birth of our mutual granddaughter, Eliza.


How could you not love Cathy?  She was always smiling and laughing and giving to others.  We found we had mutual friends and we shared the same concerns for our youngest children as they launched into a marriage that we knew would always have the shadow of cancer hanging over them.  What I found in Cathy was a rock of stoicism.  She had not always had the easiest life, marrying a man who already had three children before they had their own, our Whitney.  When left with four children, she did whatever she had to do to keep them going.  And she kept smiling.  We all make sacrifices of some sort for our children, but I am in awe of what Cathy accomplished for hers.

Whenever I talked with her, she was busy taking care of someone.  Her involvement in church was her greatest love outside of her family.  All the love and concern she had shown through the years came back to her when she began her final battle, and it was truly a battle, with cancer.  Her friends were there to offer love and constant support.

She was the perfect mother-in-law for my incorrigible son, Clayton, with her dry humor and big laugh.  She didn’t put up with any nonsense, but loved and cared for him until the end.  She loved Eliza, her little Precious, with all her heart.

She loved her family so very much and always talked about her sister and her family, her children and their families.  I always felt better after a call to Cathy.  We would worry and laugh and then go on with whatever life had dealt us.  We were good in-laws, once removed, that way.

Her final months were full of pain and, I imagine, confusion and fear. Everything that could go wrong…did.  From surgery to infection to chemo and radiation to more infections, she kept going until her body had used all its resources.  We lost her this morning and those who knew her felt the gift of her release from all that she had suffered through.

I’m left as Eliza’s only grandparent and I feel the responsibility of sharing with her how great her other grandmother was.  At three, she knows her Grandma, but I want her to remember her as she gets older.

Cathy did a great job raising Whitney, who has to know that much of her strength came from her mother.  Cathy lives on through all who knew and loved her.  We are grateful to have known her and shared so much.

Cathy loved Christmas, so it is sweet that she left us during this season of love and caring.  Here is one of my favorite memories…lunch with just the moms and kids during the holiday…