She and I didn’t always see eye to eye. Things get messy when small-town Baptist girls divorce their husbands and take up with someone new. The new guy is an intruder, an interloper, he doesn’t belong so it’s only natural that he would bear the brunt of all the hurt, disappointment, guilt and anger a parent and family feel when they can’t control their kids anymore but still want to prevent the bruises, scrapes, and pains of life and independent decisions.

Time can heal those kinds of wounds, and it did.

I have a lot of warm memories of Elaine Goodlad’s mother. She was my mother-in-law for 20 years. Every year on my birthday, she would send me a cardboard box filled with her home baking, and in my opinion, no one can bake quite like a Canadian Prairie farm wife. She would make all my favorite things, cookies, soft rolls, and other delicious odds and ends and with each package would come a hand-written letter wishing me a happy birthday and strict instructions not to eat everything in one sitting. She signed each one of those birthday letters with “Love Mom.”

Of course each birthday I would eat every last crumb she sent, ignoring her instructions. Then I would call her and tell her that I ate it all and that her baking was so good it was impossible not to eat it all in one sitting. She would pretend to be annoyed, we would laugh, and I would tell her how much I appreciate her packages and then end the call with an “I love you mom.”

She went home to God today around 3:00 pm Pacific time. It was expected but no less painful. Elaine is staying with us for a couple of weeks, and I was thankful she was here when it happened. We had a lot to reminisce over.

Anne was 87 years old. She lived a good life that she and her family can be proud of. We sometimes try to minimize the pain of loss when older people we love pass away by saying they lived a full life. While it’s true, she did live a full life, and death is inevitable for all of us, Elaine and her siblings have never drawn a single breath on this earth without their mother being in their lives. That’s gone now. Elaine’s father, Don, was married to his beautiful bride for 57 years and she was the center of his universe. That too is gone. For the first time in his life, he is truly alone.

There’s nothing easy about that regardless how full her life was.

Thank you Anne, you’ve given your family and loved ones the very best you had to give. I know you are with God, it’s time to rest now.