Soon after Husband and I married, my mother-in-law sent me a letter. Sort of a “welcome to the family” kind of letter.
In it, she admitted how she never had a particularly good relationship with her own mother-in-law. She always felt a little uncomfortable around her and never knew what to call her.
But it would not be that way between us, she wrote. And it didn’t matter to her in the least what I called her. “You can call me Roberta or Bobbi or Mom or ‘Hey You!’ if you want.”
Naturally, the letter I wrote back was addressed to “Hey You.”
And that’s how it stayed. Any letters we wrote, birthday cards we sent, gifts we gave each other. She was Hey You and I was What’s-Her-Name.
Over this last weekend, my mother-in-law passed away. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, she’d been declining in health over the last year. The last time I saw her was in the summer and she didn’t know who I was.
I wasn’t even What’s Her Name. More like a “Who’s She?”
It didn’t bother me. Partly because I’d gone through it with my own Mom, but mostly because our relationship was above that. Even if she didn’t remember me at that moment, I knew her and remembered how she had accepted me into her family. How comfortable she made me feel.
That was the kind of person she was. She never made demands on people, insisted on her own way, was arrogant or rude. She endured all things.
And from what I know of her, she’d really hate my writing about her like this. Like, really hate it a lot. It’s embarrassing and unnecessary, she’d say.
And chances are good that if there’s WiFi in heaven, she really is reading this because she followed this blog.
So right about now she’ll be saying, “Oh Lord, why’d she have to write something like that?!” And then almost immediately she’ll smile, give that throaty chuckle of hers and say, “Oh, I don’t know…” Because she wouldn’t want me to feel bad.
Listen, I’m sorry to embarrass you so, but I wanted to write you one last letter. Okay?
Dear Hey You,
Thanks for everything. Of all the mother-in-laws in the world, you were the best.
38 thoughts on “Hey You, Thanks”
I’m sure she’s reading this and looking for the like button.
Ah, that’s sweet. Thanks Andrew.
You’re so blessed to have such a wonderful mother-in-law!
Thank you, and I agree. I won the in-law lottery. 🙂
That’s so sweet. I am sorry for your loss. I got pretty lucky in the MIL department too. Makes things so much better, doesn’t it?
It does make it better, and kind of makes you wonder why anyone would choose any other way.
The dearest love letter that I’ve ever seen.
You mourn so beautifully and you write
Thank you so much. She was a beautiful woman.
Brought tears to my eyes- you brought a laugh through your tears.
Hugs to you and praying for heavenly comfort to you and your husband during this time.
Thank you, Susie. She gave us a lot of good memories to comfort us, and I know she’s in a better place. 🙂
I can only imagine the precious years you and Hey You had together but I can see you’re keeping them safe and sacred and that’s why family is more than just a name. Sorry for your loss CJ.
Thank you, WD. We had many good years and lots of love, that’s what counts.
I want to be just like her–she sounds pretty cool. I’m very sorry for your loss (but this is a wonderful tribute to her memory).
Yes, she was definitely one of the cool ones. Well worth emulating. 🙂
A wonderful tribute – she sounds like she was really fun. So sorry to hear of your loss.
Yeah, she was pretty fun. Had a great sense of humor and was darn smart, too. She’ll be missed.
Sorry for your loss but what a great story to tell and remember her by.
Thanks, JC. Sometimes you struggle with what to say, other times it comes easy.
What a blessing to have such a wonderful mother-in-law. I did, too, and her legacy is that now I’m trying to BE the best mother-in-law I can be for the three wonderful people my children married.
What a wonderful legacy to pass on! I agree, there’s no better way to give them tribute but to follow in their path. 🙂
Mine was a big part of my life too. Since I was in short trousers, in fact.
That’s the best kind of relationship.
Sorry for the delay in responding — family activities can wipe a person out. Thank you for commenting!
A beautiful relationship and post. Just about shed a tear.
~ Yours Truly,
that chick 👧
Ah, I hate how long it took me to see this comment, you’re too kind. Thank you!
It’s amazing how much more we miss someone who is humble and good-natured than someone who’s self-centered and brash. You had one of the good ones, my condolences.
Thank you, Dave. Family came from far away to see her off, even from the in-law side as they were all fond of her. That says a lot right there.
What a lovely tribute!
I knew a lady whose name was Shirley, but for some reason she seemed like she should be Marg. When I told her that, she said she would be happy to call me the name she thought I should be too. From then on, we called each other by these new names. We always grinned when we did that in front of others, because she was the wife of the Department Manager and my husband was about 6 levels below that rung of the ladder. No one wanted to be the one to tell the Manager’s wife that she had my name wrong…
That’s a fantastic story! I’m sure it’s something she remembers with fondness too.
Sorry it took me so long to respond to this, family activities kept me away. You know how it goes — on the bright side I missed our severe cold.
Christi, your stories usually feel like home to me, but this one in particular choked me up. Maybe it’s smoke from the wood stove… Regardless, thank you for sharing. I’m sure HeyYou would love this. At least on the second reading.
Yes, I expect she wouldn’t mind it after a bit. Thanks, Roo. I really appreciate it.
What a beautiful and touching post. Thank you
Sorry it took me so long to respond, but I really appreciate the kind words. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
What a really thoughtful way of welcoming you to the family, sounds like you had a great relationship. Sorry for your loss. Lovely tribute, your letter has made my eyes leak.
Leaky eyes are the worst.
She was a pretty smart lady, she knew exactly the right way to welcome me in. I was pretty lucky in that regard.
She’ll probably put that last letter you sent her in a frame that sits right next to where she hangs her wings up at night. Only lovely thoughts, CJ.
Lol that was funny but heart felt
Thank you — that’s exactly what I was going for.