Marilyn was one of those really interesting individuals who wasn't always easy to read, who was married to my hubby's older and only brother, and who already had two daughters when we married. Both she and my brother-in-law were graduates of the University of Iowa, she was a life-long educator and loved to teach first grade--truly a labor of love. She was one of those women who always seemed to have the proper table decorations, the right kind of table settings for the occasion, the proper anything for any time. She was quiet spoken, but when she did speak she had a very strong opinion to express. Those of us who knew her could always tell when she thinned out her lips because we knew she had chosen to keep her thoughts to herself, even though those thoughts were pretty strong.
Her last years were very difficult. My brother-in-law has been gone for 17 years and during that time Marilyn began suffering from several heart attacks and strokes. About 10 years ago it seemed that she was going to be totally disabled by all she was suffering. But true to her form, she kept fighting back and eventually was able to walk and talk almost normally. Our last visit with her was such fun. She remembered some wonderfully funny times, before I ever met my hubby, when she recalled times when he was bratty and acting like the "little" brother (he was in college at the time) that he truly was. While he denied most of it, Marilyn certainly didn't let him off the hook.
She loved her kids, her grandkids and great grandkids--pictures of them were pasted all over her room. She still loved carrot cake and lavender and purple flowers, and classical music. She was a keyboard musician and had a very pleasant voice that she used more often than I realized. Her last three weeks were dreadful, but her son told me that after her final stroke three weeks ago, she made up her mind that she had enough and refused to eat from that day on. She literally clamped her lips shut and wouldn't budge. How like her.
We grieve because she is the last of our family on that side in our generation. We have lost a sister and friend and are so thankful that the hard and painful days are over. Rest in peace.