A very nice thing about staying in my mother-in-law's home is its utter convenience. One need never wonder where a tissue might be. One simply must reach out one's arm and find a box of it to hand. No matter where one sits. They are just exactly where everyone would want them to be. Utterly convenient.
The house is also stocked with everything the SconeLady routinely runs out of before she even knows she is out of it. This would never happen at my mother-in-law's house. Closets and cupboards are stocked with lots of everything - paper towels, toilet roll, cleaning products, light bulbs, and soaps of all kinds (I won't even go into the FOODs that are here, at-the-ready). It takes a goodly amount of stress off of everyone's mind, not having to even think about it.
And in an interesting kind of way, she is also helping us as we sort through belongings. If anyone says, "I wonder what this is?" or "What would she want us to do with that?" we have learned by now to simply turn the item over and look at the back; or the side; or in a pocket, for as sure as you live there will be a sticky note attached that answers those very questions. It's almost uncanny. The date an old quilt was quilted; the person whose wedding the item was a gift for, and the date; a description of the item and how to handle its fragility. I can't even begin to describe how utterly convenient it all is.
When we opened the cedar chest (a thing of beauty in itself), we found a long and extensively written note-list stating the items within that she had made herself, and if someone else had made it, who that person was and the date they had knitted/crocheted/sewed/needlepointed it so that we need not wonder. Also she stated on many of them to whom the item should be given. What a lovely comfort this all was. The only problem I had was that I could no longer thank her for it. And so I thanked God instead.
It is true, my mother-in-law did not 'work' in the typical sense of working-outside-the-home with a job and a paycheck. But work, she did. A home was made, and everybody felt it; are still feeling it. The happiness of her three boys is a testament to it. The very fields surrounding the house are a testament to her farm work, shoulder to shoulder with the men in summer and autumn. Simply put, she invested everything into that family of hers, and was satisfied.
The title of this post, 'Kindness in the Time of Sorrow' says exactly what I feel her work was, and still is. A kindness.
Perhaps now is a good time for some very good advice (from Someone wonderful). "Go, and do thou likewise". (Luke 10:37).
See you along the way!