It is always sad to lose someone. Even more so when you have things you wished you could have said or done with that someone and suddenly they are just no longer there.
Ellen asked me a long time ago if I knew how to iron. I said, "Well, I think so...I kind of just put the clothes out and iron them, no real plan of action."
She proceeded to tell me that there is a specific way to iron, that her mother-in-law taught her how to do so and that she would love to show me. I told her I would love that and we should plan a time for me to come over with some of Oliver's clothes.
Time went by, we continued our weekly dinners with Oliver's parents, and saw them often, but never quite planned that ironing lesson. I always thought to myself, "we'll figure it out, we'll find a time."
Ellen began to get sicker and as she began to get even more weak, I remember thinking, maybe I could set up an iron in the hang-out room where Ellen was in her bed. She might not be able to show me, but if I were right there she could guide and direct me.
It seems simple, an ironing lesson. Ironing is ironing, you get the wrinkles out, you're good, right? But it was more than that. It meant something that my mother-in-law-to-be wanted to pass something on to me that her mother-in-law passed to her. It was just really a moment to share. And I wanted that moment. And as time went on and her sickness quickly began to completely take over, I lost my chance. I lost my chance to spend the time and make the memory. Like I said, it seems simple, but it tears me up inside that I missed out on that moment. I was lucky enough to marry into the most amazing family, have the most amazing in-laws. Even if I technically only had a mother-in-law for three days.
I miss Ellen everyday. I'm not really sure I will ever forgive myself for letting that moment pass. I am extremely blessed that I got the chance to say everything I could ever want to say to her, to thank her for her son, for making him who he is, for loving him the way she had his whole life, for teaching him how to love and for welcoming me with open arms into their family. The most amazing woman, the pride of the family, the elegant matriarch. I learned a lot from my mother-in-law and I am thankful for that. This lesson, instead of teaching me how to iron, has taught me to treasure all moments and never take time for granted because you are not always guaranteed to have it.