Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sweet Rose

On this Memorial Day, I am remembering my mother in law. She died 19 years ago this month. It seems like hardly any time has passed, and that a lifetime has passed.

Mary Margaret Cook Jensen was her name. She died way before her time of breast cancer, too soon to see her grandchildren grow up, too soon to see her oldest son married, or to live out her golden years with her husband.
Margaret Jensen as a young woman

Margaret, as I knew her, made family her top priority. With four children, she must have been crazy busy. She volunteered a lot in her community, her church, and at school. She had a fantastic sense of humor, often smirking quietly at the things she found humorous. (Those of us who have married into the Jensen clan might know why.)

The things I remember most about her are her love of books and of music, which is her legacy to her children and grandchildren. All of Margaret's grandchildren are musical and voracious readers. She would love that.

She was fond of Masterpiece Theater, travel, movies, and classical music. She was also a really good cook, and we still make many of David's favorite recipes from his childhood.

I remember her when I look at the man she raised, whom I married. He reflects all the best parts of her. He has a vast sense of humor, an integrity not often seen in people these days, a loyalty to his family, honor, intelligence, thoughtfulness, a generous and caring spirit. He works hard, doesn't complain about his lot in life, and pushes on no matter what.

I remember her when I look at her grandchildren, who are kind, smart, funny, and musical. They all love to read, and I know she would be proud of them. Peter never met her, Emily was still an infant when Margaret died, and Melissa was very young. She might not remember her Granny much, but she carries those genes around with her.

Margaret's memory has been carried on in many different ways: a memorial children's reading room in the Hot Springs Library, yellow roses at family gatherings, visits to her grave when we are there. But mostly her memory is carried around in the people still living who were part of her life. I am pretty sure she would laugh, smile, and be inwardly so proud if she could see them all now.

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