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The Gift of a Name

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Generous. Mother. Impoverished. Loving. Widow. Grandma. Debilitated. Hard-working.

What's in a name? Why do labels exist? Do they have any true significance in a person's life?
We called her Mom and Grandma. What a privilege it was to do so!

She died just over a year ago. We've taken these past months to reflect on Mom's life journey and what she meant to our family.



Through the years, Mom shared tales of growing up during the Great Depression. She was the middle child with four siblings. They were known as one of the poorest families in their community. There was some shame attached to that reputation, of course.

Mom was often treated unfairly, especially when she was young. In fact, she was verbally and emotionally abused by the ones who should have protected her. "Dumb" was a common title for her while she was growing up, although she very intelligent indeed.

I admired my mother-in-law immensely, because she didn't allow her harsh beginnings, nor the …

Cheeky Mother-in-Law: A Tribute

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The elderly woman cautiously maneuvered her walker into the small lab area of the doctor's office. I took her arm and gently helped her sit down. A familiar, friendly nurse approached her and asked "What finger should I use to get your blood sample today?"

"Oh it doesn't matter.", the white-haired patient replied. The nurse took her middle finger and started to clean it with an alcohol pad. Suddenly, the lady jerked her hand away. "Not that finger!" she blurted. "That's the one I always use when I'm out in traffic!"

The nurse just stood there with a shocked expression as her patient waved her middle finger in the air. When she laid her hand back down on the table, she had a twinkle in her eye and a cheeky smirk. The nurse visibly relaxed, then chuckled. So did I.

The elderly jokester was my mother-in-law. I think she was 89 at the time.

"Cheeky" is not a common term here in the US, but one definition I found describes …