My sister-in-law, the keeper of the flame

SILOB (sister-in-law of blogger) and I don’t have much in common.  I don’t know that much about her, mostly because BOB (brother of blogger) has banned potentially touchy topics, such as sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, religion, politics and the first-coming-versus-second-coming discussion that can be VERY tricky among Jews and Christians.  So, there isn’t much of interest to talk about, except our kids (my nephews are FABULOUS in case anyone wants to know).  I may have failed to mention that I curse like a sailor which may or may not be offensive to her.  BOB insulates her so well from us that we assume that she really doesn’t like the New York family.

Except for my mother.  When my mother died, SILOB said simply and beautifully that she was the daughter-in-law that my mother never expected (not Jewish, GOP, Texan) and my mother nevertheless threw her arms around her and made her welcome.  POB (partner of blogger) could relate; my mother — having had two girls and one boy — never expected to have TWO daughters-in-law.

Families are complicated.  Love isn’t as complicated.  What is complicated is what you do about the things you don’t like — or don’t know — about the people you love.   My mother seemed to have bridged the divides with her daughters-in-law well before her death.  So much so, that SILOB walked 60 miles in San Diego for the Susan G. Komen organization in my mother’s memory.

So, EIGHT years after my — OUR — mother’s death, SILOB keeps the dream of a cure for breast cancer alive.  She literally walked the walk.  She keeps my mother’s memory alive in a positive way (SOB (sister of blogger) and I try to, but sometimes, we just wallow in self-pity.)

It is a testament to SILOB and my mother and their relationship that eight years on, she fights breast cancer “for Elsie” [our mom].

I haven’t tried very hard to get to know SILOB these past 13 years.  I have allowed every inadvertent or intentional rebuff (mostly from BOB) be an excuse not to try harder.  But there is something very basic we share — the memories of Mom.   And that is one of the strongest ties I have to most people in my life.

To SILOB, the keeper of the flame and the fight for a breast cancer-free world.