Recently I ran onto my late mother-in-law’s diary from 1965. It piqued my interest since Carl and I were not only dating but became engaged that year. Several pages were blank and most entries were about household chores, but I admit it was exciting to see my name in that little book as her son’s girlfriend.
I wished there had been a second book since Carl and I were married in March, 1966, just hours before he deployed. Being as I couldn’t go with him, I remained in college but spent several weekends with his parents. His mom and I developed a special relationship and I kept Carl updated on his mother’s health since she had severe emphysema from growing up in a coal mining town.
After college graduation in May 1967, I planned to spend the summer at a university in Mexico, improving my Spanish skills for my upcoming teaching job. But Mom Jones’ health took such a downturn that I never left and Carl was brought home on an emergency leave. The best medicine ever was when he walked into that hospital room and literally lifted his mom off the bed with his hug. Happy tears flooded the room.
And though we were allowed to take Mom out of the hospital for a short drive, she never totally recovered and in August, Carl was called home again, just days before his mom went to heaven at the age of 44 years old. She had truly become a second mother to me, even telling me she couldn’t love me more had I been her own daughter.
Had there been a diary for those fifteen months Carl was away, my name would have been written all over those pages where Mom and I baked cookies and made fudge to send overseas and watched late movies with popcorn. And oh, how she prayed for Carl and me and even the baby I told her I was carrying one sweet August morning just before heaven called.
Bittersweet memories, but they delight my heart on this 57th Wedding Anniversary to my handsome, heavenly husband.
“LOVE AND MISS YOU, CARL! JE T’AIME!”