This page is dedicated to my mother-in-law. Ida Jean was just like a second mother to me and I loved her very much. I know the feeling was returned.
I feel sorry for women whose mothers-in-law are hateful, intrusive and down-right mean. Mine wasn't like that at all. Don't get me wrong, though. Ida Jean was a force to be reckoned with. She was outspoken and strong. If she didn't like something or someone she would let you know. I was just fortunate enough to be one of those she liked. I liked her, too. She had a sharp tongue and a dry sense of humor. She gave advice only when asked, and she was not judgmental. I also respected her strong will. Her life hadn't always been easy.
Ida Jean taught her son the value of a strong woman. Like her mother and grandmother before her, she had to raise her children alone. And she did it well. All three of her children grew to be happy healthy adults who loved her and each other. Ida taught her son it was okay for a woman to be strong and aggressive. She showed him that even a strong woman could have a "softer" side. In essence, she paved the way for me to move into her son's heart.
The only time Ida ever questioned my relationship with her son was when we first got together. She asked him if he was sure he wanted to "deal" with an interracial relationship and the problems that came with it. He said he was sure. She gave her blessing and that was the last she said about it.
In 1991, my Mother-in-law was told by her doctors that she had breast cancer...again. She had already fought this battle a couple years before and won. It was a hard battle. The chemotherapy was brutal. On top of the cancer, Ida's youngest child David had been killed by a drunk driver just weeks before. She didn't have the will to fight off the cancer a second time and we watched as she withered away. (I truly believe in my heart that if Dave had not been killed, Mom Jean would be here today.)
On November 15th, 1991, Ida called all her children to her in the hospital. She told Randy and I that she loved us and she was proud of us. I'm sure she spoke similar words to her daughter. She passed away in her sleep that night. She had said her good-byes.
I miss you Ma.