A few of you were aware that my mother-in-law, Annie Manzano, was diagnosed with Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease) earlier this year.
On Friday, July 28th, she passed away.
Annie was a wonderful woman and the best mother-in-law you could wish for. She was caring and sensitive and was always concerned about others. When I first started dating Beverly and would go to their house for dinner, Annie was always asking me if I had enough to eat, needed anything else to drink, etc. – and ignoring her daughters ;-). The guests were the most important.
That all changed when the grandkids were born. The joke was that when ever Annie called to the house, the first thing she asked was how were my boys. Then she would ask about Bev. And then about me, if I was lucky – but usually after she asked about the dog 😉
She lived for the grandkids – they were her pride and joy and she loved them with all that she had. One of our greatest regrets is that she will not see the grandkids graduate from high school and college and get married. I like to believe that she will be there in spirit though.
I feel pain on her passing, but it is really hitting her 3 daughters hard. One of the questions I have asked my friends who have gone through similar experiences is what do I do? The general response is to just be there to listen and provide support. Do not try to “solve” anything or use logic to explain/resolve it (as most engineers want to do).
This is the first time I have been this close to death and it has been a surreal experience. Seeing her pass did not effect me as strongly as I thought it would – it was harder to see her struggle with the disease the last couple of months. Her mind was there, but she could not get her body to do what she wanted, including telling us what she was thinking.
I believe she has gone to a better, happier place and her suffering is over. Now it is up to us to adjust to life without her, deal with our grief, and move forward.
p.s. If you so desire, Beverly requests donations be made to the ALS Associationin her name in lieu of flowers or any other recognition.