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My mother-in-law died last October, in Florida, age 86.  She was cremated, and we spread her ashes here in New York yesterday.  She lived and died on her own terms.  Follow me through the "infinity" symbol a la Kos, and I'll tell you a little about her.

    I met "Nellie" the day Mr. WH and I were married.  It was 3 weeks after my 40th birthday, and 3 weeks before his 23rd.  I had 2 children, never been married before.  I wasn't as nervous as you might expect.  I had heard all the stories about her.
     She was on her 3rd marriage at the time, and had one of her many children by another man, while married to the first.  But "Tiny" apparently accepted this, and they raised their two, and the extra, as  a family.  
     I'm not clear if Tiny died, or they divorced, but eventually, Nelly married "Pete," who had three of his own, and they went on to produce my spouse and his older brother.  When my husband was 17, Nellie ran off with "Rob."  Pete was an alcoholic, with arthritis of the spine.  Mr. WH said it was because he couldn't go dancing anymore, and Nellie wasn't ready to settle down. Mr. WH and his brother stayed with Pete, and he died of alcohol-related illness a year or two later.
     A fw years later, we took our new son, WH Jr, to meet Grandma Nellie and Rob.  Nellie has diabetes, and showed me, an RN, an infected ingrown toenail. I gave her my best advice, "See a doctor," but she ignored me, had Rob's daughter help her dress it, checked her blood sugar, and gave herself her insulin.  As I got to know her, I learned her favorite phrase was "I'll bet you f@cked him/her!"  When Mr. WH's only full brother divorced his wife, and Mr. WH said he never liked that sister-in-law much anyways, Nellie looked Mr. WH in the eye and said "I bet you f@cked her." Right in front of me.
     After she and Rob divorced, Nellie took off with a cross country truck driver named "Nicky," whom I never met.  She couldn't get a CDL because of her diabetes, but she helped him buy his own rig, and traveled with him.  They fought a lot, and Nellie threatened to have have "Nick" tattooed on her labia, in some weird effort to keep him. Eventually, Nick forged her signature on the title to the rig, sold it, and left her high and dry.  
      Fast forward a few years.  Nellie married Ollie, and became a Christian.  Other than signing Christmas and birthday cards with a reference to Jesus, nothing much else changed.  They settled in North Carolina some where, but came up several times over the years for family gatherings. Ollie was the sweetest person you would ever want to meet.  He died of old age, short of the time needed for her to qualify for survivor benefits.  She was working when I first met her, and taught ceramic classes on the side, but had multiple bankruptcies over the years.  If she got any SS of her own, it wasn't much.
     So Nellie headed to Florida to live with her son "Lonnie."  No lie, she got married again, to "John."  I recall Mr. WH talking to her on the phone.  "So, what's your last name now?"  They came up to New York once, and we had them over for a cook out. Soon after, we got the news that John had terminal lung cancer, and he died within six months.
     We got the call from Lonnie about Nellie's passing.  Lonnie was almost hysterical on the phone.  Nellie had a bad back, spinal stenosis.  Although she was 86, and had insulin dependent diabetes, she insisted on surgery.  The doctors couldn't talk her out of it. So it was basically suicide by surgery.
     After eating awesome barbecue all day, we gathered in a circle at sundown.  People who were babies-through-early-teens when I first met them twenty years ago are now parents themselves. Nellie's oldest son spread her ashes on their farm, and the little kids launched helium balloons on which they had written "We love you, Grandma."  
     People began to prepare to leave.  A group in the kitchen comforted each other that Nellie found Jesus toward the end of her randy life, and made her peace with the Lord, and they were genuinely happy.  I went to find Mr. WH, to see if he was ready to leave. As expected, he was around the corner of the house with an adult niece and an adult nephew, smoking pot,and reminiscing about Grandma Nellie.
   It appears Grandma would send niece "Cindy" to the drug store to buy horny goat weed so Ollie could "do it."  "Did she ever ask you if you liked to have your p@ssy licked?" Mr. WH asked.  Cindy flushed, and he said, "And I bet she said, "How could you do that?  That's disgusting!"  Cindy howled with laughter.  "I know," Mr. WH went on, because she did the same thing to me."  

 

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