Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sherry Smith, my mother-in-law

Sherry was older when she had Lee, my husband. She turned 40 right after he was born (today that would be no big deal!). Randy (Lee's half-brother) was a senior in high school when Lee was born and had a great story of not telling a girl he was bringing over that his mom was great with child. She was very surprised!

I remember when I met Sherry I was so nervous. I liked her son after all. Sherry was as nice as she could be and impressed me with her confidence. She had a ceramics business for 20 years and I remember going to craft shows simply filled with awe that someone could not only create such art, but paint it and sell it as well. Sherry said that rabbits paid for Lee to go to college. When we were in college, apparently ceramic rabbits were very popular, who knew?

When I looked at our wedding album today, I was struck with how proud Sherry looked. She was so proud of Lee, so proud of us and when I looked through pictures of her with our kids she was so happy. She called herself Mi to her grandkids, because Taylor her first grandson had called her that. Sherry had told Taylor that this toy was his but this other toy was mine and Sherry became mine/Mi to Taylor.

I remember when Lee and I lived in England in 2001 and Sherry and Paul came to visit. Sherry was always cold, but she was always cold in Texas too! In the picture below Sherry is in the middle, I promise!

After Madeleine was born Sherry came to stay with us for a week. She showed me how to make Lee's favorite meals and I remember she was very surprised that I did not have tomato juice (who has tomato juice?) and we had to run to the little convenience store in Krum. The tomato juice from the store had dust on it!

When Madeleine was 4 and Everett was just born, Sherry developed PSP, it is very similiar to Parkinsons, but does not respond to medication. It has been a long journey, and there was lots of grief along the way. Grief for the loss of the incredible woman that I knew, loss for the grandmother that my children would never have the opportunity to grow up knowing, loss for the mother-in-law that I would no longer have. It seemed unfair that someone who was always going and doing had to move into a nursing home, was no longer able to get around, and seemed to be slipping further and further away. One of the last times that I saw Sherry, Everett was playing with a balloon. It looked like Sherry was trying to smile and so we had Everett hit the balloon towards Sherry and she hit it back to him. They were playing together! They hit the balloon back and forth and back and forth and it was like time stopped. It made me so happy and so sad at the same time.

It is a hard thing to lose a parent, so whether it is quick or whether it is slow, may we relish those Holy Spirit moments when we experience the joy that God reveals, the peace that God showers and the love that God brings.

Sherry passed away this morning and her memorial service will be at First UMC in Kemp at 10 am on Friday, November 18, 2011.

Sherry, Madeleine (age 3 1/2) and Paul, February 2008

Everett (4 months) and Sherry


pastor frank said...

What a loving tribute. God bless her memory, and give you, Lee, and your family comfort and peace.

Jim and Phyllis said...

Phyllis and I remember unexpectedly running into Paul and Sherry at a craft show in Omaha when we lived in Nebraska. We sat down with them and they told us all about craft shows and what sold and did not sell and how buyers' tastes have changed over the years. It was a most insightful and interesting experience. We talked for so long they probably lost some sales.

And then there are the memories of visiting and eating with the Smiths and Sherry's incredible (and I mean incredible) banana pudding!

We will miss you Sherry but you are now in a much better place and at peace.

Lee, our prayers are with you as we both know the depth of sorrow that comes with losing one's mother. They occupy a special place in our hearts that is uniquely for them and them alone.