This morning my mother-in-law died. She's been in my life since I was 18. I'm in my 50s now. Sheri has been my "mother" since my own died when I was 26.
Our relationship was strained a few years ago when her oldest son decided he no longer wanted to be married to me. He and his girlfriend became two of her caregivers when her health began to fail. Despite these complications, she and I could still share moments that were just the two of us, when she and I would look straight into each other's eyes and she would tell me, "You are my daughter. You always have been. I love you."
Mom, I love you, too. I always have. Always will.