for laura

I was thinking about my awesome sister in law Laura today so I decided to write a post about her.

Jim has three siblings: 2 sisters and a brother. He is the oldest in his family, just like me. When we got married and I moved to Plainview with him, his youngest sister, Laura, was a stranger to me. Jim and Laura’s relationship was strained at best.  She grew up thinking Jim was putting their parents through hell for no good reason, and sucking up all their attention and resources. She did not understand mental illness, and therefore she kind of hated Jim. But all of that changed when Laura had a breakdown of her own, an eye opening experience for her. She moved back home with her parents for a while, and I started to get to know her. I was actually kind of terrified of her at first, just because of Jim’s history with her. I remember one day Jim encouraged her to touch my belly, and to me she was still kind of a stranger, so I said Grace wasn’t moving at the time.

If there is one beautiful thing that came from Grace’s death, it is this: it brought Laura and I, as well as Laura and Jim, closer together.  She created the leaflet Gracie1 for her memorial, made us a beautiful scrapbook, and made a table display of Grace at the memorial. On the table she had set up blank paper and pens to encourage people to write a note to or about Grace. Not many did. Laura’s is one I’ve read over and over again, and I’d like to share it with you:

Hey girl,

How’s heaven treating you? Have you & Grandma Betty done any shenanigans yet? I feel selfish for thinking this, but I’m pretty jealous of Grandma. I was really looking forward to being there when you first got a good look at the world-and getting to hold you and rock you-it’s painful to know that I will never get the chance to watch grow & harass you , but be your best friend/Auntie that you could talk to about the things in your life. Holding your hand was the closest I got to being able to experience any of the things I hoped to do with you. You are a beautiful, beautiful little Angel, Grace. All I want to do is hold you & kiss your head & your adorable little hands & feet-but god gets to do that instead. Grace, even though you can’t be here with us-know that you are always with us. You are such a wonderful gift to me in my life. I don’t know if you know this or not, but because of you I was able to build a friendship, a connection & a love for your mother. You also gave me something that I never thought would ever happen-a relationship with your dad. Your dad and I have never been close, but since you and your mom came into his life…well, I finally feel that my big brother and I can be what siblings are supposed to be–friends. Thank you so much for being in our lives, Grace. The impact that you have had on not only me, but all of us, is beyond words. You have showed us love, healing, hope, and even a beautiful Christmas. You are my angel–I know you are little but I believe you will watch over us all & help us see the beauty in all of our dark days. You have some great parents & it breaks my heart knowing that you won’t be growing with them. But I ask of you, Grace, to show them that they are the best parents. Be with them in any way you can because they are something special and as were you my dear, as were you. I ❤ U

❤ Your Auntie Laura

p.s. Give Grandma a big kiss on the cheek for me 🙂 xoxo

I can honestly say ( and I tell her all the time) that Laura is one of my best friends and I love her to death. We are even close in size so we can share clothes!

At the end of August Laura and I are going to get memorial tattoos for Grace. I am so excited; I already have 5 and getting inked with someone is a bonding experience.

I love you so much Laura, and I am so very grateful I have you in my life. Jim and Grace are too.  XOXO

here is Laura with our niece Thea on Memorial Day
here is Laura with our niece Thea on Memorial Day
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