A writer’s mother-in-law

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With her heart-felt words and enduring support, my mother-in-law Marilyn Altschuler, has always made me feel like the absolute best version of myself. I’ve known her for over half my life and she’s taught me many things but the most important nugget of truth is this: Be kind; no matter who you’re interacting with or what their story is, always be kind.

Marilyn doesn’t avert her eyes, for example, when she notices a destitute or forlorn stranger in her path. Instead, she respectfully meets their gaze and says something about how she honors them and their journey. She makes visible the invisible, offering her understanding, withholding judgment.

As a hospice volunteer, Marilyn is often the one that’s there to hold a dying person’s hand, offer expressions of compassion and sympathy and make bereavement phone calls. She doesn’t shy away from the difficult and often uncomfortable prospect of death, and in fact, she acts as the reverent gatekeeper from this world to the next, allowing surviving family members to receive some sort of unburdened peace during such a trying time.

Marilyn is a doer and a giver. She is involved in her children’s lives, regularly making her time and love available and extending that affection to her 8 grandchildren. I can’t tell you how many times she’s brought over groceries or homemade lemon poppy seed bread. I’m so proud that this woman is in my corner, not only for me but also for my children. The love and adulation I feel for her brings tears to eyes because I feel so lucky — I’ve hit the jackpot! Graceful, lovely, and strong, like moss on a rock, Marilyn warms my heart and brings light to my life.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!