There we were, just the two of us, sitting side-by-side, laughing, smiling, and having a great time. We were looking out from the audience, BEAMING with pride, as we watched and enjoyed our little one's performance. We were just giddy — so beside ourselves, we shared an excitement so bold, it literally could have been bottled up. Oh, it was such a gratifying feeling — so organic! There was so much noise and commotion, but I could head your voice so clearly — that soft chuckle you do when you're just overflowing with joy. Then I saw her — my sweet Madame President at her very first dance recital. And suddenly I woke up — startled with fear — filled with disappointment, as I briefly realized this moment of perfection will never happen. It was all a dream.
I woke up early that morning. Everything was cold, quiet, and undisturbed — something just did not feel right. As I laid peacefully in bed, I glanced over at your son and looked in his direction for a while. As he began to awaken, he began to open his eyes, and for a moment, our eyes met. Suddenly, the telephone rang, and because we don't typically receive phone calls that early, I had a feeling we were about to receive some bad news. Just as I had feared, we learned that you quietly slipped away from us that morning. I heard what your son had said to me — that you were gone — but I was just so perplexed, I wasn't able to process what he was really saying to me. I rigorously repeated thoughts in my head about what I could do to bring you back. Were you really gone?
It was not supposed to be a dream. I had the future all planned out. You were supposed to be there right next to me, to experience it all: the first steps, the first days of school, graduations, birthday parties, prom, the first love, the first heartbreak, weddings, and the list goes on. Besides, how I am supposed to get through the next eighteen years without you? You provided all of the balance in our lives. Every time mommy and daddy delivered a hard, "NO," the Presidents could always count on grandma to follow that with a soft, "yes." All of the cookies, candies, and goodies the Presidents could not get from mommy and daddy always had a way of appearing at grandma's house. That's what grand parenting is all about, right?
You displayed the true essence of a grandmother's love; ears that truly listen, arms that always hold, a love that truly is never ending...
You were there from the very beginning. When friends and family members weren't quite sure whether or not I was the right match for your son, you continuously remained a beam of support. I will always remember the day you came to the house to chat with your son. He gently pulled me aside and told me what you had shared with him: you were extremely excited that he had finally found his happiness, but part of you was afraid of losing your son. I was at a loss for words. I really did not know what to say to you in that moment. But we instantly fell in agreement, and we discovered a newfound respect and understanding for one another: I would support you, you would support me, and together we would move forward. From that moment on, until the day you breathed your last breath, you never let me down.
You displayed the true essence of a grandmother's love: ears that truly listen, arms that always hold, a love that truly is never ending, and a heart of pure gold. There is so much I wish I could say to you — so many stories I wish we could share. If I could talk to you just once more, I would tell you that every time Madame President reaches a milestone, every time Mr. President #2 makes me proud, and every time Mr. President #1 does something that tugs at my heart strings, I immediately think of you. For all of the ways you have shown me love, or showered my children with this rare kind of affection, I am forever indebted to you, and I thank you.
Thank you for teaching your son how to love. Love is by far the most powerful emotion man can experience. I am convinced that because of you, my husband learned how to share this experience with others. You actively demonstrated a type of love so pure, you genuinely found joy in the plight of someone else's happiness.
Thank you for living by example. Your life was exemplary. You were supernaturally reliable, forgivably honest, inspiring, and unconditionally generous. You made yourself available to support us in any way you could, and I am extremely grateful to you for that. You were such an incredible example for us. And if I had my way, I would make your routine an official guide for mothers because you literally, never missed a beat.
Thank you for showing me how to pick up the pieces. Every single time I experienced just an ounce of doubt or despair, you never let me stay there for too long. When you would say to me, "Well, tomorrow is a new day," I was always reminded of the underserving opportunity to have a re-do at life, over and over again. You shared with me your struggle after divorce, and stressed the importance of the power of self-acceptance, and making the best of what God has given us.
Thank you for giving me your son. Unquestionably, the most stupendous and dynamite thing that has ever happened to me was meeting your son. Without you, my husband would not exist, so I am eternally grateful to you for the chance to be able to share my life with him.
Thank you for always giving so much. You were notorious for giving my children too much: too many sweets, too many toys, too many hugs, too many kisses, too much fun, and even holding them for too long. But I think I have finally realized why you gave them so much — as an expression of your love to carry with them now that you are gone. Your love will be an integral part of who they ultimately become, so for all of the times you gave them too much, I will forever thank you.
But as I write this, I realize that maybe our moment of bliss was not a dream after all.
Being a grandmother gave you so much joy and purpose. You loved Mr. President #1, Mr. President #2, and their cousin, LKM, with a love deeper than they will ever understand. And you loved Madame President even before she was conceived. I was pregnant during your last few months with us, but when I would come to visit you, the very first thing you would say to me upon walking in the door was, "How is that little lady doing today? Does she have a message for me?" You loved unequivocally and undoubtedly, and for that, I vow to do these things for you: I vow to carry you with me always; I vow to teach your grandchildren what a loving person you were; I vow to continue some of your traditions; I vow to pass on some of your most treasured belongings to your one and only granddaughter; I vow to keep grandpa closer than ever while he is still with us; I vow to keep your memory alive; I vow to love your son forever; I vow to take care of him to the best of my ability; I vow to live honorably; I vow to be the best mother, wife, daughter, and friend I can possibly be.
But as I write this, I realize that maybe our moment of bliss was not a dream after all. Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing — a glimpse into the future. For I am certain you will be watching over us, in full gratification, every step of the way. I know that there is nothing I can do to bring you back, but I also know that your love will always remain.
If only you could read this letter. If only I could stop by and chat with you one last time. If only I could hear your voice. If only the Presidents could hug you just once more. Maybe I'll see you in my dreams. I'll do my best to make you proud. Now I don't want to say goodbye, so I will just say, "I will see you later." For I truly believe that one fine day, I will meet you on the other side.
-Your Favorite Daughter-In-Law