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Remembering Deana Part VI

Posted Jan 18 2013 2:16pm
Today's post was written by my sister-in-law, Natalie, who is married to my twin brother, Joe. Enjoy!

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When Cassandra (my sister in law) talks about her mom and how she used to be I’m sad I never got to be part of those moments. Deana’s behavior started changing right about the time I met her son Joe. Despite this, she was still able to do a lot of things that she isn’t able to do now.
One of my fondest memories of my mother-in-law is when I joined my [then] boyfriend on a vacation to the east coast in 2007. It is where I first got to know her and Bud, my father-in-law. I remember being incredibly apprehensive about meeting them. Hoping to make a good impression, I conversed with Deana at length about myself and how much I cared for her son. She was so kind and open. I fell in love with her immediately. Her kind blue eyes didn’t judge me. I was investigating the Church (I wasn’t yet a member) and I didn’t quite know how she would feel about it. Early one morning I remember making Joe stop at a Starbucks in Connecticut. I NEEDED my mocha latte to start my day. She didn’t say a word about it to me! Now it makes me giggle because I’m sure she was giving Bud an earful about it in the car. During our time there we went to Connecticut to visit Bud’s side of the family. We enjoyed visiting the sea port, going on a drive up to Salem, Massachusetts, some battlegrounds in Lexington and Concord and finally a stop in New York City. Deana was engaged, excited, and happy going. It was a pleasure to travel with her. I loved seeing how lovey dovey she was with Bud. Growing up in a single parent home, I never got to see that type of interaction between a “Mom and Dad” It was refreshing. These two clearly were the cutest love birds.

After this we emailed back and forth on many occasions. She was really great at giving advice. Just before we moved to Arizona I came across several emails that she had written me. Now I don’t even recognize the person who wrote those insightful emails. It saddened me to actually see this great change in writing.

Joe and I got married during thanksgiving in 2009. I got a taste of Deana’s famous Thanksgiving dinner. To say the least it was the most incredible Thanksgiving dinner I had ever eaten. While Joe and Bud visited the everglades in the morning of Thanksgiving Day she single handedly cooked a feast. Turkey and gravy, lyonnaised carrots, mashed potatoes, rolls, a couple of other things I can’t recall at the moment. It was amazing. She was an amazing cook. I remember emailing her about recipes all the time when Joe and I first got married.

During the same week, our wedding day is when I also started to note a few behaviors that were a little off. This was before her heart surgery, which we all first attributed the changes we were seeing. I wondered why she hugged her purse all night during Thanksgiving at my family’s house or why she kept making strange comments about our wedding cake and how she could have done it better... it wasn’t like her.
Shortly after, she went in for her heart surgery and this really the last time I got to see any of the Deana I had first met in Connecticut. She progressed at a rapid rate. When our daughter was born, she and Bud came to visit. I was a bit hurt with the disconnect there was between her and Adri. She was excited to be there but was emotionally withdrawn. They came to visit again right before Adri turned one. She helped me bake Adri’s first cake. She was incredibly picky about food. Only wanted to eat certain things. We didn’t yet know what was really going on. It was so confusing.

Today I can’t have a conversation with my mother-in-law. I can’t ask her for any parenting advice or what’s the best type of icing to use for birthday cakes. I can’t expect her to even remember who I am if I don’t visit every month. It’s sad and I hate that she has to have this disease. It’s comforting to know that this time here on earth is but a minute in all of eternity and that I will have an opportunity to meet her again-in a place that she is whole once more.
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