My mother-in-law, Althea, died last night. She passed away quietly, and although I’m glad she didn’t suffer – passing away quietly was not the Althea I knew.
I first met her, before I was married to her son, at a little league baseball game. Her eyes rarely left the field as she cheered the team on, yelling every line of baseball chatter at the top of her lungs.
After the game she turned to me and asked, “Which one is yours?”
Her eyes lit up and she finally smiled at me. “Oh, the one that hustles.”
She believed you should raise your children to be the best and, thanks to my son, I passed her test. We’ve been friends ever since.
I have a lot of memories of time spent with Althea, but this is one of my favorites. Every Labor Day we drove out to the small town where she lived, and spent the weekend. At one point I said I needed to run to the grocery store. She said she’d ride along. The streets didn’t have any stop signs so at each intersection I paused to make sure it was clear before driving through.
“What are you doing?” she snapped.
“I’m not really sure who has the right-of-way.”
“Well! I do, of course!”
I have no doubt that was true.
Althea never had a thought in her head that didn’t come out of her mouth and most of those thoughts were about her children. She was passionately proud of them, as well she should be. She raised three of the most strong-willed, caring and loyal people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.
John, Peggy, Jim – my thoughts are with you.