Saturday, December 26, 2020

My Mother-In-Law


We got a phone call Wednesday night that no one wants to get.  My mother-in-law Bobbie Carolyn Woods had passed away.  

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer in her leg this summer.  She had surgery on her leg.  Then, she was found to have lymphoma and had to start chemotherapy at Vanderbilt.  We had taken her to several sessions with hopes of it helping her.  About a month ago, she became very ill and had to be taken to the hospital.  She stayed there for a week or so and then came home for a few days.  Her oncologist at Vanderbilt has us bring her there for a week.  She never could regain her strength there, so she came home under hospice for a little over a week and then passed away at home.

She was a wonderful woman.  I never can accept the stereotype of a terrible mother-in-law like you see in shows such as “Everybody Loves Raymond”.  She was always wonderful to me.  She was like my second mom especially when my own mom passed away several years ago.  The first time we met is a funny story.  I had just started dating Donna and went to visit where her where she worked after my day at Martin Marietta ended.  When I came in, she said “My mom wants to meet you and she’ll be here pretty soon”.  I was in no way prepared for that so I hid under a desk.  The next thing I knew, I see a woman’s face looking up under the desk and saying “Hi”.  Fortunately for me, she didn’t tell her daughter that she needed to forget about a young man that was crazy.  In fact, Donna told me years later that she said “If she lets that one go, I give up on her”.   That “under the desk” story was going to be the one I told on Jeopardy if I ever made it to the show.  We got to spend a lot of time together over the past several months on multiple trips to Vanderbilt and I’m thankful for that.

My father-in-law (Jack but he’s Pappy to me) and her were a wonderful example of a loving married couple.  They did everything together.  You rarely saw one without the other.  They ran errands together.  They worked together on their farm raising tomatoes and pumpkins that they sold to local stores and to people that came to their home.  They were the true embodiment of the Biblical teaching of a married couple being as one.  She especially loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  I remember how happy she was when we brought Jonathan or Josh to visit her.  And oh how she loved our granddaughter Lucy.  And of course if she hadn’t been born, I wouldn’t have the four most precious people in my life. 

I’d ask that you keep my wife Donna and especially my father-in-law in your prayers.   They were married for almost sixty years.  It’s going to be really tough on him being without her.  And give everyone precious you have in your life an extra hug, because you never know when they won’t be there anymore.