My sweet sweet mother in law passed yesterday. She is the one inspiring my bread pudding and pie baking, trying to sort out all of the feelings I have where she is concerened. Almost a year ago, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I always knew she had super human toughness, but until I watched her endure the months of surgeries and rehab, I had no idea anyone could actually be that tough. Instead of complaining when we would come to see her in the hospital after her surgery that left her with a scar that ran the width of her belly, she would look at M and ask if she wanted to see Grandma's owie. She was the most unassuming and loving person I have ever met. I remember the first time I met her. I was so nervous to meet his parents for the first time. We showed up at their house, she made us dinner and afterwards, everyone got a calculator and we all sat down and played Jepoardy on tv.! It was so odd and so comfortable and I knew right away things would be good. I remember when I had my first baby and how worried she was about me. How she hovered and worried- you didn't always see that side of her- she is a sweet stoic Englishwoman. I remember feeling how comforting it was to know how much she loved me. She was a constant in our lives. And we had so much in common. Some saturdays she and Pakka would come over to our side of town and we would drive her around and she , hubby and I would go to the estate sales while Pakka stayed with the kids. Two nights before she died, we all were at the hospice with her and Jepoardy came on ,and in one of her more enthusiastic times in days, she said,"Lets all play". It felt so oddly full circle. We are just heartbroken over here. My little almost two year old nephew showed up at her house this morning, saw her picture on the fridge and kept pointing at it. Then he took Pakka's hand and walked him around the house, looking in all the rooms for Grandma. That is pretty much how I feel today. A little lost, wandering around, hoping to find her in the next room, sitting at the couch playing jepoardy. So I am taking atleast the week off, to help plan the funeral and let some of this sink in. One sweet thing hubby's sister thought up is to hand out Christmas Crackers after the funeral. She loved her Christmas Crackers. It is going to be so sad this year, not to be able to look across the table at Christmas and see her, with that sweet face, wearing her tissue paper hat from the crackers.