My sister-in-law, Susan, lost her mother this week. Mildred Valis was a woman that you remembered immediately having met her just once. She was warm, friendly, welcoming, caring, everything that a person should be, without being overbearing about any of it. She genuinely wanted everyone around her to be happy and comfortable and safe.
Every time I was in Mildred's home, I felt like a special guest. She would welcome you and make you feel like you belonged. The last time I saw her, in December, I was admiring a small little statue that was part of a set; she insisted I take the whole set home! Here they are, siting on my desk:
There was another part of Mildred that was very special. Susan's sister Terri is disabled and has lived her whole life with her parents. Mildred (and, of course, her husband Jim) sacrificed a great part of their world to take care of Terri's every needs. I've never seen such selfless behavior in my life - extraordinary.
Mildred was suffering at the end, so it is a blessing that she is now at peace. I will miss her, but I will always have my statue set to bring back fond memories.