Your Mindset

Posted by on January 8, 2009 in Day to Day | 11 comments

I was so prepared to start 2009 on top of my game, my “stop making resolutions” musings were waiting for me to hit the post button, I was happy, rested and into the full swing of a new year.

On January 3rd, I received a call letting me know that my beloved mom-in-law passed away. I was originally going to say that she lost her three-year battle to leukemia but I think it’s far more accurate to say that she won her wish to live her life the way she intended to for as long as possible.

This vibrant and courageous woman who also happened to be a breast cancer survivor, was every bit a “mom” to me — not an “in law”.  I’ll miss her incredibly even though I realize so much from our relationship will always remain. From the beginning, she always treated me, and made me feel as though I were her daughter by birth. We had a bond that grew deeply over a period of seventeen and a half years.

The first time we ever met, I was afraid she was going to see my hands shaking or hear my knees knocking but in five minutes, I felt as though we’d known each other a lifetime. She was always gracious yet said exactly what was on her mind –one of the few people I’ve met who was completely comfortable in their own skin. Whether you agreed or disagreed with something she said, you loved her for who she was and she always loved you back.

Our last visit was much like our first, filled with laughter and happiness. She was at home and feeling well enough to join my husband, sister in law, father in law and myself for lunch at her favorite restaurant. She was in rare form and when our visit ended we hugged goodbye as we always did. That memory or a great conversation by phone is how I know she’d want us to remember her. We received the call three days after that visit.

The essence of what I share with you on this blog boils down to your mindset — which effects how you approach life, how you react to change and how you “reframe” your views. These things all determine how you view your life and all of its infinite possibilities. Only you are in your head and only you control those thoughts and views.

You could look at the situation and see it as unfair and be consumed with anger and sorrow over what was taken away or lost rather than the greatness of what was experienced during a lifetime. It might even be easier to fall into that thinking if you had lost as many people as I have in my lifetime. A different mindset allows you to see the beauty in each encounter with another human being. Whether the relationship ends due to death or some other separation, I believe each and every one of those encounters leaves us with the gift of a lesson.  It’s up to you to find each lesson. Perhaps it’s unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness, or perhaps acceptance.  It doesn’t mean that you won’t mourn the loss, simply that you’ll also be able to see the gain.


Mom “What we have once enjoyed
we can never lose.

All that we love deeply becomes part of us”

Helen Keller

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather


  1. Beautiful tribute to your Mother-in-Love! I know she is smiling and watching!

  2. D – this is a beautiful post and tribute. Your mum-in-law sounds like a wonderful, warm human being. And your insight about lessons to be learned and Quote are on the mark.

    I remember praying, when I learned that my dad had cancer, that if it couldn’t be treated, he’d at least go quickly and with grace. As it turned out, after his initial anger etc. he got very interested in the process of his treatment and was involved in some experimental procedures. He told me all about it, and said that the procedures were not likely to help him, but down the road, maybe they would help others. He also told me that he appreciated having me to talk about it to, as everyone else in our small family couldn’t. My mum was a nurse and knew the chances were very slim for him. My sister cried everytime the subject came up. My brother is naturally taciturn. Dad and I sat up many nights talking about what he was going through. He never once complained.

    I don’t remember now how long after he was diagnosed, til he died, but I do remember that he lived his life to the fullest until just two months before he died. He was hospitalized from just after Christmas 1988 and died at the end of February 1989. He never lost his mental faculties – just slipped away one night. I think my prayer was answered – he died with infinite grace – and my lesson was that it’s possible to embrace even really bad things and make a legacy of them.

    Barb/ostaras last blog post..A Whole New Year!!

  3. Joan – Thank you. I know I can always count on her smiling wherever she is. Rather than a traditional service, she requested a party which is a testament to her zest for life. This weekend, we’ll honor her wishes .

    Barb, Thank you so much for sharing that beautiful story. The prayer you had for your dad and that you were able to listen to him and speak with him openly and from the heart, is the greatest gift you could have given him. How wonderful that you had that relationship and were able to be there for each other during such a difficult time.

    It sounds as though your dad lived and died with infinite grace and passed that quality on to you along the way. Namaste.

  4. Well spoken and I’m guessing that you will be as gracious and kind to hopefully, your own son’s girlfriend, in twenty years of so.

    James Mangosteen Dean

    James Mangosteen Deans last blog post..Mangosteen Juice Helping With Constipation, Testimonials # 1 – 4

  5. James, Thank you. Mom left big shoes to fill fill in that area and I’ll try by best to fill them.

    If I can be even half as gracious, funny and kind to my sons’s wives and girlfriends, I think we’ll end up with something great. 😉

  6. I hope that when it’s my time to go, I’ll have a son or daughter-in-law who thinks and speaks as fondly of me.

  7. Larry, I have a feeling that you’ll have a son or daughter-in-law who thinks and speaks fondly of you while you’re here on this earth AND beyond. You’re a good man my friend!

  8. Heya Denise…it’s Jawed from 16 steps (class of spring 2008), remember me (max on myspace and facebook..?)

    Wow…I was surprised to see your link while I was doing a blog search on politics . It seems you’ve done a good job of SEO’ing your blog. It’s been a while since we last talked. I also found out abour your mum-in law through one of your posts…..I am truly sorry to learn that she’s not with you folks anymore. May her memories brighten the rest of your lives.

    I’m kinda embarassed to admit that I have lost communication with my fellow 16 steppers…how is everybody? are you guys still active on Linda’s ning group??

    All the best to you!

    Jawed (aka Max)

    • Hey Jawed,

      So good to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind thoughts regarding my mom-in-law. Thoughts of her will always bring a smile.

      Regarding the 16 Steps folks, I keep in touch with some, Linda is MIA, keeping too busy I’m sure. I’ll send you update through FaceBook. Sam, Linda and Jack definitely helped with their SEO schools as well as Chris Pearson who just Rocks! I’m using his Thesis
      “>theme which is amazing. I still have some personalization to do, just need a few more hours in the day.

      Take Care, see you on Facebook -check your mail later on

  9. You are absolutely right we honor those gone not by giving up on life but by living it to the fullest

    • Hi Robin,

      Thanks for stopping by. Very true, one of my favorite quotes is by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
      “It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.” A great mindset to honor those we’ve lost as well as ourselves.


  1. Focus, Balance and Death - [...] now. One of the posts was about staying focused which related to my training for the marathon in memory…
  2. The Little Blue Box - [...] my half-marathon approaches I think of my Mom in Law  who was my inspiration for running. I wrote this while…
  3. Half Marathon Happiness - [...] in Training. We raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in exchange for the training. Losing my mom-in…