April 21, 2011 is a day that will forever be a day of heartache and surprise. We received an unexpected call that my mother-in-law, Ruth Springer, had stopped breathing.
It was the call we all hope to miss but on this day it was coming for us. In a mad dash we flew out of the office and headed to the retirement home she had recently moved into. I was driving and my sister-in-law Lynn was my passenger. We made calls to the other brother's and sister's while en-route and were all gathered within 30 minutes or so to have that final moment with the earthly body we have loved so deeply through the years.
For those of you who do not know there were eight children in my husband's family. Let me remember for a bit...
When Mick and I were dating, the first time he took me to meet his family, they were all there. I was amazed when I walked into the family room to find a whole "congregation" of people sitting there looking at me! :) While I believe at some point I had known there were a whole bunch of Springers it had most certainly slipped my mind. Mick made me a list by age of his siblings and I practiced to make sure I could call them by name next time we met.
I have many stories of the first few months being around Mick's siblings but I will share those on another occasion.
One of the first things I remember was how sweet and gracious Ruth Springer, the matriarch of the family was to me. I could not imagine that many people living in the same house and there was never anything out of place, ever. She kept a spotless house that could have stood the white glove test at any time.
She made everything seem easy and effortless. In a house of ten there was laundry, cleaning, cooking and gardening to be completed daily but these were the activities that made her happy and she radiated joy and contentment.
No matter how much I brag you will never come close to imagining the delicious food she could whip up in her kitchen. Country cooking at its finest with a touch of love in every spoonful. Holiday's were grand and special but the week-night meals were just as scrumptous.
Nothing was too much trouble for Ruth. I remember her getting up at midnight and making us hamburgers because we were all at her house and hungry. More times than I could count.
I remember when I didn't feel good she would make me biscuits because I thought I might be able to keep them down. I remember the Christmas when Ashlee was born and we came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve...we couldn't go to her house that evening but she sent dishes of all the food home to me so I wouldn't miss out on the tradition. I remember when my sweet grandmother was so sick and Ruth would make her chicken and dumplins...Cora would eat them when she wouldn't eat a bite of anything else. Ruth would make them for her often because she knew it made a difference for someone else. I remember the times she cooked breakfast for Papa just to cheer him up. I remember the meals she made for my family in times of heartache.
I remember how her grandchildren loved to go to her house. All night movies, dress up parties, karaoke and all of the candy and junk food a child could wish for be it homemade or store bought. She would stay up as long as the kids wanted too and then make the best pallets in the floor with all of her homemade quilts. The next morning they would wake to the smell of "Mimi's" homemade biscuits and the finest breakfast this side of the Mason Dixon Line. She was just like a grandmother should be letting them do everything their parents would not allow (eating junk, staying up all night, being loud, watching Pretty Woman LOL etc). It was all fun fun fun at Mimi's.
I miss her roast, lemon-ade and biscuits the most. I miss going into her house in Pelham, starving, only to open the oven door and find a feast. I miss Sunday afternoons playing in the backyard and shopping. I miss everyone being happy and enjoying each other's company. I miss hiding Easter eggs and trying my best to leave her an egg in her flower garden, she would surely complain a few months later when she was working her beds. I miss hiding odd things in the Christmas tree to see how long it would take her to find them. I miss Halloween and her caramel apples and the special bags of candy she would make for everyone. I miss her doting on Mick and needing the reassurance that just because he married me didn't mean he forgot about her. I miss my mother-in-law, the one I had before the life of hard-knocks set in.
She was a very special lady and I feel honored to have had her for my mother-in-law for 30 years. I am even more appreciative that not only did she give life to my sweet husband but she influenced his disposition greatly. I am thankful for her and all the blessings she has given to me.
As I sit here and watch the leaves blowing in the wind, the sun shining brightly and reminiscing of days gone by, I am reminded to share your heart with loved ones every single day.
On April 21, 2011 Ruth Springer passed away and as much as it hurts...Life Goes On.