As I walk through the living room today, I glance at my mother-in-law Rosemary sitting on the couch, quietly listening to her book on tape. I see the shadow of a woman who has left a bright light of illumination upon this world. I’m reminded of all the amazing moments in her life in which we have shared. Our journey began as the man who married her daughter and became part of her inner circle. The flashes from the past come in waves as I remember her appetite for life and not so much the shadow of the woman who sits in front of me today.
Rosemary loved to golf, especially with her husband Ray. When Ray passed away, I, without hesitation, assumed the role as one of her golfing buddies. We share great memories of golfing together in our younger years. I hold vivid memories of her carrying three clubs and hooting out loud when her ball went straight down the fairway. She would swing that favorite seven iron as hard as she could (even with her polio stricken right arm) and then would putt on the green as though we had a million-dollar bet on the shot, all a perfect expressions of how she loved life.
We danced the polka more than once when the wine had flowed too well. I can remember Rosemary’s welcoming smile when she offered her guest bedroom to a young airman who was sporting a full leg cast after knee surgery. It wasn’t even a question when she learned of my struggle making it up my three-story dorm with crutches. She has been my favorite crossword buddy for the last twenty years until her hearing and eyesight failed.
The shadow grows longer everyday as the light slowly fades. I try to remind myself to focus on the light and the memories instead of the shadow, and remember her brightness. Today I choose to illuminate the shadow with memories of a life well lived.