Homage to Nessie

Nessie child 001

I wanted to say something at Nessie, my mother in law’s funeral. Above is a beautiful sepia picture of her when she was about 4, I think. I had been visiting frequently for the last decade, from Texas to Scotland, watching her illness deteriorate and lurch from one crisis to another. Not only did I love her but I wanted everyone to know our relationship. To some it may have seemed as though we abandoned my husband’s parents to live in the USA. The Minister was concerned that I may not be able to finish my homage and had a printed copy ready to take over. I was nervous but only at the last paragraph did my voice begin to shake with emotion and anxiety. This is it.

Nessie was my mother in law for almost 34 years and I loved her. I first met her when I was 21 and she knew in that second I was going to marry her son Drew. I think she was looking for somebody sensible and assertive… She fully embraced my mum and me into their family and they became good friends going on racy vacations together. Her smile could light up a room and still did in her last days. We bonded over our love for her precious boy, Drew or Andy as I know him. She always told him that he was particularly special because as an adopted child, she and Dad chose him. I tried so hard to be a good daughter in law and always felt I failed a little until Nessie’s battle with Alzheimer’s began. Then the roles started to change I became the loving care giver that I had always wanted to be, albeit through regular long distance visits. Every taxi driver in East Kilbride knows me and as soon as get off the plane, a driver that I don’t recognize will say “how’s your mum?”

She was the backbone in the Duncan family, supporting her husband, son and new daughter. She was unfailingly generous to the myriad family members, especially those with problems. She was non-judgmental and open in her views of the world and people. She could be stubborn and assertive, too. It would have been so boring if she was perfect. Her primary school students adored her as did all her friends. I loved when she dished some gossip about the Rotarian club – she was so naughty at times. Bob was Rotarian President for a session and she made an excellent President’s wife throwing herself into social activities. She loved her mum and dad, her younger brother Andy and his family.

Not everyone knows that she was a gifted artist and had always wanted to go to art school. She used those skills in many ways from teaching to dressmaking and making fantastic Halloween costumes for Drew when he was young. When I was younger she loved to braid my long hair and made me clothes which I didn’t always appreciate. In her last few years I loved her the most – the staff at Abbey Lodge adored her and looked after her so well. Her death has left a huge hole in our hearts. May she rest in peace.

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32 thoughts on “Homage to Nessie

  1. It’s very beautiful. You know, others are horribly judging of those of us whose lives take us away from ageing parents. But the fact is that we fly because they want us to be happy. Your MIL loved you. She loved you because you love her son. She loved you because you are you and she felt no anxiety that you were far away just delight when you came to take care of her. From braiding your hair to being on your shoulder every single day of the rest of your life – she’s a keeper and so are you bonded by love. It’s pretty special.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Osyth. One family member made a comment about us moving overseas 14 years ago and it has never left my mind. This particular relative lives in Scotland and did not visit in the past 14 years – I am trying not to be bitter. Nessie would have been so sad that most of the family abandoned her and I hope she would be proud of me.

      Liked by 3 people

      • She is. Be sure that she is. I suffer the slings and arrows and I try not to let it affect me. Of course it does, as it has you. Just know that you did your best. And that you were there when she needed you and was probably less attractive to the nay-sayers than before the beast dementia wormed its way in.

        Liked by 2 people

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