If you hadn’t already heard, Jieun’s mom passed away on Easter.

I know that issues with the in-laws is very common, but I didn’t have any real issues with my mother-in-law – she was always great to me. Never expressed dissatisfaction with what I was doing (quite the opposite – she was effusive in being proud). Rarely pressured me to do anything, and the pressure she gave was of the good kind. Like early in our marriage, she would subtly hint that I should be a pastor. The heart of that being that I should live fully unto the Lord. That’s the kind of pressure everyone could use. And I would also characterize her life like that – she lived her life fully unto the Lord. And to me, that’s the best kind of life one can hope for.

We did have some funny interactions though. Literally the first time I met her, she suggested we go to the mall and buy a back brace and visit an eyeglass shop. Because my posture was terrible and my glasses massive and nerdy-looking. Both of which were eminently true, and I wasn’t really offended. I found it funny. Also, when I caller her to ask her permission to propose to Jieun, her response was “Well, I can’t really stop you, so OK.” I said, “Uh, I was kind of hoping for a blessing…” and forced one out of her. I chalk that one up to a translation thing. Especially in light of how good she was to me afterwards.

Our family was fortunate in that we got to see her during her last week. Though she was not doing well, I had still assumed she would be alive for some time. In retrospect, it was providential timing. It’s also rare in life that you get to experience real closure. But her last words to me, whether she knew they would be that or not, were incredibly loving, and I feel lucky that I got to hear that from her as well as respond in kind.

Since her passing, a lot of people have commented on her legacy, the impact she made on their lives. Across several generations, including many of Jieun’s friends. It’s true – she really did. My family will miss her a lot, but I feel personally blessed to have had her as my mother-in-law, not just for how she treated me, but in how she molded Jieun in good ways, and in how I see Jieun molding our children in the same ways. When I look at my kids, I can see her legacy being passed on, and that’s a good thing.

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