I hesitated at first sharing about this here because I knew it was going to bring up a lot of emotions, but then I realized that was the whole point, and I really needed to do so to see how far I had come, and we had come as a family.

We had moved in with my mother-in-law two months previously. She was a widow, and there had been some health concerns so we took a very big risk leaving Michigan to come back to South Carolina. We were glad to do it though, and the delight she took in seeing her grandsons every day was well worth it. (We were and still are homeschooling.)

Back to that particular day. My husband had taken her to the ER the night before, and they had prescribed some medication that he went to the drugstore to get. He told us all goodbye and left. It was a Sunday. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting at my desk working on lesson plans for the upcoming week. The boys were 12 and 9 at the time, and they were playing in the back bedroom. When my husband came back, he went to see his mother, and she had stopped breathing. He yelled for me to get the phone and called for an ambulance while motioning for me to get the kids out of the house. I walked them to the neighbor’s house across the street, and we all waited. When I saw the ambulance come, I went back to the house and listened as the technicians told my husband they could revive her, but that she would never be the same since she had been without oxygen for so long. He told them not to try, and we started doing notifications. I remember standing in the yard waiting for the coroner and then the funeral home to come. It seemed to take forever. While we were waiting, I was making phone calls to family and friends, and I had tears pouring down my face.

Betty was not the typical mother-in-law you read about in the news. She was my biggest cheerleader. She never made me feel inadequate and said I could do anything I set my mind to. When we decided to homeschool the boys seven years ago, she was the first one to tell me it was a great idea and knew I would do a great job. I know she would have said the same thing about my writing. We had a graveside funeral a few days later and then began the process of grieving.

With that, our odyssey to Birmingham began. So much has happened in the last four years–moves, illnesses, surgery, unemployment, miscarriage, and finally, a new home with a new family. I never dreamed four years ago that we would be living in Birmingham, Alabama now or that I would be a fledgling writer. I am so grateful for all the support we’ve received from our friends and family here, especially our Crossbridge family, and from all of my online friends. I especially give glory to God and for coming full circle in my relationship with Him.

In memoriam: Betty Russell–February 1, 1931 – April 5, 2009

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