A Facebook message from my daughter gave me the news that my former, yet forever, sister -in-law had passed away in the night. It was not unexpected, but still it puts a tear in my eye.
When I became engaged to her brother, she embraced me with her kindness and accepted me into the family, more so than any of the others did. We became relatives at the wedding, and oddly, double relatives, as she was not only my sister in law, but she was married to my cousin, too. Her children were a few years older than my own were, but they connected well as cousins.
We did many family things, beach gatherings, parties, holidays and Sunday dinners. Even after both of our marriages dissolved, we both felt connected, and vowed to be 'forever' sisters in law.
As life would have it, she remarried, and much later, I did too. We didn't see much of each other in those days, but it always seemed the same when we'd meet somewhere. She worked for my doctor, my kids' doctor, so at times we saw a good bit of each other. We did live differently, lifestyles which were far distant from each other, but still, we didn't feel distant.
Today there is a sadness, a sorrow for her loss, though I'm sad to say we hadn't had any sort of communication since we moved away from East Hampton. I find myself wishing that I could embrace her daughters today, to take them under my wing, and 'be there' for them. They say they were ready for her leaving, but are we really ever ready to lose someone we love? My heart goes out to them, and to their step-father, who I never really got to know well. I grieve for my former husband and his remaining two younger brothers. They are all that is left of the family which once numbered eight children.
Life is a muddle of happiness, sadness, living, dying, and a whole bucketful of other things. While there is joy in the coming of a new baby, there is sadness in the loss of someone we love. It's all a part of life, I guess, and somehow we must accept it.
Thank you, K., for being a part of my family...a part of my life. Rest easy.