Monday, September 26, 2011

Our Reason to Relay - Heli M.

Many of you may have heard my specific reason to Relay being my Father-in-Law who lost his battle with cancer before I even had the privilege of meeting him.
Today we have a new reason to Mother-in-Law. 

My 81yo MIL was diagnosed with cancer last Tuesday and is currently in hospice care resting comfortably in her own home surrounded by her loved ones. She's a fascinating woman who some would say has lived a good, long life. And while that is definitely true, I would argue that it would be nice to have a little longer time with her so my children and her children could get a chance to know her even better.

She was born in New Jersey in 1930 to immigrant parents. 

In the late 30s, her parents sent her and her siblings to live with grandparents in Europe. 
(My MIL, her brother and sister in Europe)

War broke out and she and her brother and sister were told not to let anyone know that they were Americans for fear of their lives. As a result, her brother actually fought in the Nazi Army until he could defect to the Allies and she was a member of Hitler Youth. Of course correspondence between children and parents ceased and her parents lost track of where they even were. A long and interesting story later, her Uncle happened to be a doctor near where they had been moved as refugees, heard about a grandmother with 2 girls and discovered that they were the long lost daughters. They were sent back to the US and reunited with their parents. 

She became a beautician and met a handsome fellow who adored her. They fell in love and married. From all accounts from their 6 children they were always very much in love.

She lived through losing her spouse to cancer after 36 years of marriage and while lonely and sad, she didn't stop to feel sorry for herself. Rather, she turned to helping others. She was active in her church, in the bell choir, delivering meals to those who were home bound and taking care of those who needed it. 
She's a most unique individual who I'm honored to have had the chance to know. As we add another luminaria to our list to light at Relay, we pray for peace for her in her final days and for her family during their time of grief.

My MIL passed away this morning (9/27). Please join me in praying for the family's comfort at this time. Thank you!

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