Dark Thoughts of the Past

Posted Sat, 12/23/06

I thought about not posting the entry below because it is personal in nature and could lead some to believe I'm as cold as stone. However, I have little concern for the thoughts or feelings of certain people in the following reminisce. This was also true of them long before I even left the situation.

Quite by accident I recently found out that my second former mother-in-law died in 2004. In addition, my former sister-in-law of the same family also died earlier this year.

I was sad to hear about the sister-in-law. She had her problems, many of which stemmed from a mental condition, but she was a good-hearted and compassionate person. We used to have long conversations about our respective husbands – mine and hers, who were brothers – and how we disliked their mother with her meanness, petty jealousies and selfishness. This is the same "mother" in-law who died in 2004.

I tried for a long time to accept my former mother-in-law as she was. She was controlling, interfering and highly dysfunctional. This in turn created much the same in her children, my ex-husband included. All of them were nervous wrecks, like trains careening out of control without brakes.

I tolerated excessive verbal garbage and twisted mind games during the ten years I was married to husband #2 and managed to keep my mouth shut for the most part, but when the woman started disparaging my parents I drew the line. This was unforgivable as far as I was concerned. On my part, the action opened a dichotomous floodgate of resentment and apathy towards the mother-in-law. My mother is lovingly supportive without being interfering, and I lost count the number of times she bailed my ex-husband and I out of a jam.

After the rather dismissive remarks she made about my parents at the time, I also dismissed the former mother-in-law from my mind. When I have been treated a certain way - which defines lack of respect and contains nothing more than unwarranted venom and spite - I become as cold as ice. The person in question becomes a non-entity to me. Any feeling I had for the woman, little there may have been, was washed away and replaced with a barely veiled hostility. I'm sure it contributed to the final breakdown of marriage #2, but not before the woman's interference and lack of regard eroded it in the first place.

In other words, I feel nothing that the woman is gone from this world. As a mildly religious person, I realize compassion and forgiveness should be at the forefront of my thoughts. Yet it is not, in regards to her alone. If she had only disparaged me, perhaps I could forgive and pray for her misguided soul, but because she attacked my parents I see no absolve for her on my behalf.

On a brighter note, I did like my first mother-in-law. She was sweet, kind and never interfered with her children's marriages. As far as I know, she is still alive and hopefully very healthy.

Left to right: My mother Joyce O'Toole, Wilbert's mother Elva Alviso, and me. Photo taken in 2002. Click on image to see larger size in a new window.

(Above, left to right): My mother Joyce O'Toole, Wilbert's mother Elva Alviso, and me. Photo taken in 2002. Click on image to see larger size in a new window.

Wilbert's mother is a dream, too. Because her English-speaking skills are limited, we haven't had long conversations but I do appreciate her sense of humor and her caring concern for others.

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