I hear the stories of the dreaded mother-in-law.
The one who is always sticking her nose into your business and giving her unsolicited advice and opinions.
I also hear the stories about the mother-in-love, who is supportive, loving, accepting and fun; the one who you can call to go shopping or vent. The one who’s there for you and is your friend.
I can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy.
You see, I have never met my mother in love. She passed away in April of 2012. In my mind, I have an idea of who she was during her lifetime. All I have is what I see in pictures, hear on the recordings and the stories I hear from her faithful, loving husband and adoring children.
Muriel Murphy. Fondly, referred to as “Marty” or “Mom”.
My husband has described her as a funny and vibrant woman. He told me that she would introduce herself and say “Marty rhymes with party.” He describes her as sweet, tough, direct and to the point.
I really wish I could meet her and know her, so I decided that I would write her a letter and maybe somehow, someway, she will get it.
This is your daughter in law, Marie. I have the profound privilege of being married to your wonderful son, Frank. I wish I could’ve had the chance to meet you. I think if we could’ve met and developed a relationship, we would’ve been great friends. I think we would’ve shared many special times and moments. I think I could’ve called you just to chat or to make plans to come visit.
From the stories I hear from the kids and Stu, you were funny, fun, loving, sassy, smart, sweet, tough, devoted, confident and the life of the party. To hear Stu speak of you is like hearing an angel talked about. The pride you hear in his voice when he talks about you is extraordinary. You are the love of his life and he is dedicated to you.
I want to tell you how amazing Lisa and Carla are. They have become like sisters to me; always supportive and loving. I can text them or call them and I know that they will be there to lend an ear and give advice. They are the perfect sisters-in-law and I am proud they are mine.
I would tell you that Stu is the perfect father-in-law. He’s so sweet and funny. He’s an excellent host and tells the best stories.
Many of them are about you and his Air Force days. He’s kind, welcoming and always gives me a big hug when we visit.
I would tell you what an extraordinary man Frank is; more like remind you, because I am sure you already know. I would praise you for raising such a sweet, funny, brilliant, loving and sensitive man. I would tell you that Frank takes excellent care of my family and me. I would tell you that when he holds my hand, he holds my hand up a little in the air. That way, he can catch me if I fall. I would tell you that when we walk places, he always walks on the outside. He protects me and provides for anything and everything I want or need.
I want you to know that Frank is incredibly sweet to me and tells me I am beautiful daily. I would tell you that he’s s the strongest person I know. When Frank was diagnosed with Leukemia, he put his family first and still took care of us through all of his treatments. He always makes sure that we have what we need.
Frank and I have a little boy named Jackson. Seeing him with Jackson and how sweet he is to him is amazing. He’s so attentive and puts Jackson’s needs first always. He’s protective of him and always analyzes the situation to make sure it’s safe. Very Carla-like. He’s an amazing father and he loves his boys. He is patient, loving and allows them to be themselves.
Marty, you are talked about and never forgotten. You live on in the mannerisms, the face of your grandson Elliot and characteristics of your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. You live on in the pictures, videos and stories.
So, thank you, Marty. Thank you for giving me all the love in the world. It’s because of you and who you are that I have this love in my life.
Your adoring daughter-in-law, Marie
You see, I have not met Marty and I never will this side of Heaven, but I know her.
I know her through stories shared, pictures displayed, and the parts of her that live on through her loving family.