Leaving for Mississippi as soon as DAILY DONUTS in Graham opens so I don’t go empty handed. I’m going to Pat’s stepmother’s funeral. The donuts are important because they are the first donuts I’ve had that are as good as the ones offered at the Ole Miss Student Union and as a fellow Ole Miss grad, I think Maryann would appreciate the effort, from her now lofty height. She was a tiny thing during her sojourn down here, and even though she wasn’t a cook herself, appreciated good food.
My girls were all so tickled that their families were mentioned in the obituary. She was their grandmother by choice, if not biology. She was the grandmother they knew.
My own connection to the family as an “in-law,” is over I think. Once Pat left, so did that term. I still use it when referencing them to others, but that’s just to clarify our long standing connection. Legally that connection is kaput. Not emotionally.
If we were rich and landed sort of gentry in England, I would have gone to the dower house, think of Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey. This also explains those long marriage contracts in the old days between people of property. Far seeing fathers (and in rare cases, mothers) did their best to ensure that their daughters wouldn’t be cast aside in the case of the son’s death. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not so much. Think of Sansa in Game of Thrones. Not only did they kill her dad, but she was also humiliated and publically shamed.
That didn’t happen to me. I am still considered a part of that family and even though my own parents haven’t been around for a couple of decades, I have a sister and brother who weren’t around when I was young, and I am still someone’s daughter in a way. That is a nice feeling. At least they treat me as such. ( I’ve heard nothing about setting me up with a mouthy, drunken imp) I still phone Pat’s dad on a fairly regular basis. It would happen more often, but I LOATHE talking on the phone and he is the only one I do that with really. All of my other communications are via texting and emails.
In the olden days, I would also be called Mrs. Pat to designate where I stood in the family. There were four boys, whittled by cancer and ALS to two now. Due to our names being similar, people have always mistakenly called me “Pat.” instead of my real name. And that’s fine. I answer to both. We had a true union, a blending of the souls and now, I have to get on the road to witness the ascension of a sweet soul to heaven with whom I did have a long familial relationship, even if legally it’s toast.