My Mother-in-Law – My Inspiration

My Mother-in-law


Why My Mother-in-Law is My Inspiration

At the age of 99 my mother-in-law-continues to amaze me, and to teach me by example about aging and attitude, and about courage, grace and dignity. While it is true that she has genetics on her side, what is so admirable is how she deals with life’s challenges..  As an almost-centenarian she has outlived not only her beloved husband of 67 years, but also all of her friends – and she is the only living member (of her generation) of what was once a very large family

I am proud to share a letter I wrote three years ago – a letter which illustrates why I love my mother-in-law and aspire to be like her. 

Letter to Mother-in-Law

My Dear Rose

You are probably wondering why you are receiving a letter from me. I decided to write this when – recently – I happened to be watching the video we have of the ‘mock wedding’ that Jay [her son – my husband] and I had arranged for you and Al [her late husband] in celebration of your 60th wedding anniversary [they were married for 67 years]. I could not take my eyes off your ever-present smile – a smile that radiated warmth, excitement, happiness, appreciation and love. Even your eyes were smiling!

My Mother-in-law

Age 80 with husband Al – at mock wedding for their 60th anniversary

As I sat and watched the video, I thought about how that smile typifies who you are, and that is what led me to want to tell you what it is that makes you so special in my eyes.

First and foremost, it is your attitude to life. You face challenges with grace and dignity, and you respond to loss with great courage. Rather than dwell on what you don’t have,  you gradually pick up the pieces and focus with gratitude on what you do have. And you seldom complain, even when you have every right to do so.

I watch you embrace life with every fibre of your being – taking your ‘joie de vivre’ with you wherever you go – to the Home for the Aged where you help those less able … to an event at your retirement village  … to your bridge games … to the pool as you exercise.

My Mother-in-law

At 95h birthday celebration

You are well-read, well informed, and can hold your own intelligently and assertively in any discussion. The fact that you continue to enjoy new experiences is a source of wonder to me. I want to be like you!

You are also extremely generous. You would rather have less for yourself so that others have more.

From the first day we met , you welcomed me into the family, and for almost twenty-four years I have heard you tell me repeatedly how happy it makes you, that Jay is happy. And that brings me to my next point:

Rose – you and Al did something right. Jay and I have the kind of relationhip that mirrors what I saw in your marriage to Al.  We are truly happy together and we are proud that our children see in us an example of a happy marriage. My children  love and respect Jay, and to our grandchildren he is simply ‘Grampa’ – the man who loves them to pieces, and who always makes them laugh. Our relationship has stood the test of time, and our home is a haven filled with love, harmony and laughter.

Jay is so clearly a product of the wonderful home and family that you and Al provided for him, and I am grateful beyond words to have him as my life partner.

Rose, you are my role model. You demonstrate in every way that aging happily has everything to do with attitude and determination. Whatever life throws our way, we can choose to wallow in self-pity, or we can choose to learn from you and smile that infectious smile that you carry with you at all times, bringing sunshine with you wherever you go.

I love you, and I am truly, truly privileged and blessed to have you as my mother-in-law. You epitomize all I strive to be as I grow older.

My Mother-in-law

Age 99 – attending granddaughter’s wedding

Much love to you



(We look forward with much excitement to celebrating Rose’s 100th birthday in June 2014).





Posted on November 27, 2013 by Adele Gould
In: Inspiration, Uncategorized
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