By the time we got married, Jenny had been in a nursing home for over a decade. I heard stories about her formidable personality. I also learned of the distress my father-in-law felt over the fact that his mother was bedridden. He could not understand why his mother had to suffer that way. Why couldn’t God just take her and relieve her of the pain and suffering.
We were married on August 2, 1986. Our honeymoon took us up into Maine; a state that is both beautiful and one in which we share many deep roots. Both our families are from Maine. As part of our trip, we stopped by the nursing home to visit Jenny. In fact, that was when I met her for the first time. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous given all the stories I had heard about her strong and demanding demeanor.
Instead, I found a kind and gentle woman with long, beautiful hair. A smile that lit up her eyes and face. And a deep love for her Lord. She made me sit next to her, and she held my hand while she shared solid marriage advice; one woman to another. She told me about her grandson and what a sweet relationship they had. She told me that my mother-in-law was a “good woman” and that I should listen to her. She was proud of her son for choosing such a mate. (This flew in the face of all I knew about her).
We visited Jenny a few more times at that nursing home, before she passed away. During one of those visits she recited Psalm 27 in its entirety. Several months after her death we were visiting with my in-laws and reminiscing about Jenny. My father-in-law pondered why she had been allowed to live so long, with such suffering. My immediate response was, “I know why. I was supposed to meet her.”
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