Inscrutable Daisy

My mother-in-law died last week. She turned 94 last October, so her passing wasn’t unexpected. In addition to dementia (which prevented verbal communication), she suffered congestive heart failure. Bed-bound over the last six months, she slipped away quietly in her sleep. That was a blessing.


Previously in this space, I’ve shared tidbits about the complex relationship betwixt my mother-in-law and myself. Certainly, I have always admired my in-laws for crafting a long-term marriage. I’m sure they had their share of struggles … but they celebrated 65 years together before my father-in-law’s death.

Even before Charlotte died on March 1, my Beloved and I pondered how we would honor her life and memory. A number of years ago, she expressed her wish to have her remains cremated and to have the ashes mingled with those of her husband. Besides her four sons (and their families), most all her friends and relations had preceded her in death.

Yes, there’s a tribute to her memory on the funeral chapel website but (to me) that seems wholly inadequate as a commemoration of her life – Her Life! – that spanned nearly 95 years! Though my words will prove insufficient, I simply must honor my departed mother-in-law here and now!Robson_Charlotte copy

She was born in October 1922 in small-town Mayetta, Kansas, the firstborn child of Charles Frederick Robson and Alta Ilene (Johnson) Robson. Fred was a rural mail carrier and Alta (14 years younger than her husband) was a homemaker. They named their daughter Daisy Charlotte Robson, Daisy to honor her maternal grandmother, Charlotte to honor her paternal grandmother. Somewhere along the way, Charlotte decided she preferred being called by her middle name.

Charlotte’s only sibling, a younger brother, Burt Amos Robson, arrived four years later. Sadly, he was only 24 years of age when he was killed in action in Korea.

MaxChar youngShe met and married her husband Max when she was twenty years old. Together, they parented four sons, all of whom married and blessed them with grandchildren (10) who have, in turn, produced great-grandchildren (18 at last count).

Those are the facts. I wish I could write more. I wish I could explain why Charlotte chose one grandmother’s name over the other. I wish I’d been privileged to know her heart and understand something about her relationship with her parents and her brother. Because I married her second son, I wish-wish-wish she’d had the ability to welcome me into her family as a daughter rather than view me as a rival.

Still, I rejoice in (and honor) her life. I am grateful for her loving devotion to my Beloved (and his siblings). My Beloved is a tender, compassionate soul, thanks (in part) to her motherly efforts.

I titled this post Inscrutable Daisy because – despite being her daughter-in-law for more than 46 years – it saddens me to realize there is no longer the possibility to know her better! She was (and will remain) a mystery. James 4:14-17 tells us life is “a mist,” appearing for a little while before it vanishes. Indeed. Do good today and love deeply for as long as God affords you the opportunity.

5 thoughts on “Inscrutable Daisy

  1. I was sorry to hear of your mother-in-law’s passing, but know that you and Denny have nothing to regret in your care for her during the last several years. Such a kind memorial you’ve given her here.

  2. As someone who will be gaining a daughter-in-law, I am wondering in what ways your mother-in-law could have made you feel welcomed into the family, both in action and in words.

    1. Thanks Michele, for your question (and for reading my blog). I’m no expert so I can only speak from personal experience. I would say the most important recommendation I have is to be yourself. Cherish the relationship you already have with your son. Your DIL will take her cues from him.

      You and your DIL already share a common bond because you both love your son. Moderate any high expectations/demands, but keep the lines of communication open. Love unconditionally and pray continually (for both son and DIL). Relationships can be hard but as First Peter 4:8 assures us: “Love covers a multitude of sins.”

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