Dear Friends:

It’s been so long since my last post. This summer was simultaneously altogether too short and the longest I’ve known. My family and I went home to Maine this June. It had been three years since we had been able to visit. We spent three glorious weeks with our family, creating memories that will last a lifetime. We roasted marshmallows indoors at the fireplace. We picked blueberries and made pancakes. We visited the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and enjoyed the splendor of stepping inside some of our favorite story books like Blueberries for Sal, Fairy Houses, and Miss Rumphius.

This would have been the most glorious summer I’ve ever experienced spending time with my children, my husband’s family, and my extended family except for one thing. My mother-in-law, Val, passed away shortly after we returned home. She was only 63. To have had that time with her is priceless. But I never expected the magnitude of the grief and how it hits you when you least expect it. Almost two months out,  I thought I would be over the sobbing part. But no. It still manages to catch in my throat and well up in my eyes even right now as I sit here typing.

The week before she died, my husband flew back home to be with her and I was suddenly presented with a few mother’s day greeting cards to design. To sit and create a mother’s day card while your mother-in-law is dying is either the cruelest irony or the most cathartic gift – I haven’t quite decided which yet. But in any event, I was struck by one of the assignments as it reminded me so much of Val.

I had taken a photograph of the daisies in one of her gardens. Her mother (who has also passed away) had planted them. I used this to draw 5 daisies for the card – one for each of her children. My husband was able to show her a copy before she passed on. It was a gift, I’ve decided.

Val was an extraordinary woman. She welcomed me into the family and treated me like her own. At her funeral, I shared some memories of her and I’ll leave you with my final sentiment: Thank you Val, for raising the best man I know, for unreservedly sharing him with me, and for loving me like your own.