I've become quite close to my in-laws. My wife's family is very tightly knit and shares much of their lives together. We usually meet every other weekend at her mom's house nearby. Its a place where she cooks for us, we talk and laugh while our children play together.
we found out last year, that she had stage 4 lung cancer, it was a difficult time. All of us pulled together to provide support. One became the "medical director" of sorts researching the disease and helping her to make the proper treatment choices. Another suggested we all fold paper cranes hoping that there was some glimmer of hope in that Japanese legend. Three of us became photographers of her, bring our cameras almost every time, sneaking candids of her bravely living her life as normally as she could, not knowing what the future would bring. Each image took on a different, more profound, meaning.
She passed away last week surrounded by her family, all six of her children, and some of her 10 grandchildren. They all watched as she took her last breath and left this earth.
she is alive only in our memories. Her influence lives on in each of us. She taught us all what joy the comfort of a big family brings. She taught us to keep going, no matter what life brings you, keep moving forward.
She will be missed.