My dear mother-in-law passed away last night after a long battle with cancer.
Born into a large Norwegian farm family in a small town in North Dakota, she was was one of the strongest women I've ever known. Smart and independent, she had a wicked dry sense of humor that I see (and enjoy) in her son and her grandson.
At these times you want to look at the good side of things, and right now they're pretty easy to find. She was a lovely woman, gracious and considerate, raising my husband to be silly and tender and loving.
Cancer can be horribly nasty, but blessedly she was spared from some of its nastiest parts. It certainly wasn't an easy time, but she was able to stay in her home (by herself) until just a few weeks ago. Once she moved out, we planned to share her between Bob's sister's home and ours. She never got that far. She started declining pretty much right away until she finally slipped away last night. It was exactly what she wanted -- quick and without pain and barely a burden on anyone around her.