This post was written longhand on the night of the 21st, but posted midday on the 22nd.
It’s a few minutes past 10PM but it feels like it’s 4AM. It’s been a very long day. Hurtful words were siad. Alan and I left work at 2PM and had to break some bad news to my mother-in-law. The poor woman broke her knee yesterday and is convalescing in our home. She lives with my sister-in-law who has a house but whose main access is via stairwells that would be impossible for her to manage with her knee in a cast. She has a cane but trying to walk with one when you’ve gotten used to 75 years without it can be a herculean task.
I fell like a westling referee after others let their tempers flare, and I had to help my hubby keep his at bay. Fortunately, he listens to me. He knows that after an hour or two, he’ll be glad he did. I told him to bite his tongue and he did — one angry voice was enough.
I tried to calm everyone down to clarify things because so much was left unsaid. The difficult thing about keeping secrets is that we often presume no one else knows. And when it turns out they do know, we end up with our foot in our mouths.
I guess it’s pretty obvious I’m not letting the cat out of the bag. I only came to know of these secrets in the last 24 hour myself. But because I found out the truth, I was able to play peacemaker. However, peace only works when the parties are willing. It turned out I was the only one who was amenable to a truce. Well, I tried.
My mother-in-law became a casualty of this war only because she was doing everyone a favor by carrying the burden of a secret. I can completely relate to her dilemma because I had been there. She broke into tears when she remembered how her late husband had prevailed upon her to keep it a secret because he wanted to be the one to divulge the truth. Then he passed on without a word being said.
When she turned 75 years old in May, I wrote a post about her saying how lucky I felt I was to have a mother-in-law like her. A well-educated woman who thought nothing of making sacrifices for her two children, a doting Lola who spoils her grandchildren rotten — never interfering in the affairs of her married children. We are not particularly close but I take care of her like I would take care of my Mom. She has always been nice to me, so I have no beef against her. It pains me to see her being treated the way she is being treated now for having held on to that secret for so long — and I knew she did it out of love.
She and Alan have a special bond. I can relate to that because I have the same bond with my child. Sometimes he would get overprotective of her and others would get defensive. He didn’t care much about offending others if it were in the defense of his Mom. I have the same attitude about my parents. It’s really a complicated story, but so much has been said which has caused more pain.
My Mom’s been telling me not to get into the thick of it. I simply stepped in to mediate. Now I’m being hit myself. I guess it’s time to step back and just let the family resolve its issues. After all, I wasn’t born into this family — I married into it. Unlike my husband, I have a choice to stand back.
So we’re settling down to this new set up at home. My mother-in-law is more than welcome to stay with us. Angel is beside himself with joy that he keeps climbing onto her lap despite our admonitions for him to be careful about hurting mom’s injured knee.
I wish my Mother-in-law peace in her heart. She’s too old to be hurting like this — not after everything she had done to give her family a good life.