Marriage is not only a loving union between two people, it also means that two families come together and form a bond.
Sometimes this inevitability goes smoothly – other times, not so much.
It may take time for everyone to get to know each other. But sometimes, it isn’t until it’s too late that we learn to appreciate the people around us.
When Scott Mann met his mother-in-law for the first time, he felt immediately that they would hardly become best friends.
But seven years into his marriage, life took a dramatic turn. Scott’s wife was diagnosed with leukemia. She was only 30-years-old.
It was out of this tragedy that Scott learned something very important, which he now wants help to share further.
Here’s Scott’s heartbreaking letter:
This is Sharon.
She taught me it’s important work to see someone for who they are and not what you expect.
When I first met my former mother-in-law I had a hard time understanding her thick south Virginia accent. And she seemed a little bossy in that southern passive aggressive polite way. But I knew she was important to the love of my life, so I accepted her grudgingly as some of us do when family is forced on us.
When my former wife got leukemia at 30, when they gave her a 10% chance to live a year, when our world was shattered and changed forever, Sharon very quietly and very firmly stepped into the role she was born for. She moved, with her dependent Vietnam vet husband, into our house and became my wife’s caretaker too.
Over a period of two years she bought most of the groceries, cooked almost every meal, did most of the laundry and cleaning, drove both dependents to almost every one of the 300+ doctor appointments, sorted tens of thousands of pills, and made sure they were all taken on time at every hour every day.
And she did this when she herself was diagnosed with cancer in the middle of caring for everyone else. When she was getting a mastectomy. When she is going through chemo.
She hums when she works. She talks to herself when there’s no one to listen, and she goes about every day with humility and grace.
I took this photo before I left for work one day. She didn’t know I was there.
This, friends, is what greatness looks like in a quiet moment. Waiting on oatmeal to cook for her daughter for the 300th time since she got sick. Her hair was gone from her own chemo. She refused to quit caring against all odds.
Not everyone gets to have a real-world superhero in their lives. And for this I was filled with gratitude every day.
I think we can all learn something from Scott’s moving story. There will always be people in life, some of them perhaps in our own families, that we find difficult to love. But keeping an open mind is imperative: after years of being annoyed at a family member he’d ‘inherited’, Scott finally realized what an incredible woman his mother-in-law truly was.