She never taught me tennis...
As Mother's Day approaches my thoughts turn to an amazing woman who touched my life for too brief a time. I don't think she ever thought of herself as amazing as she quietly battled Multiple Scleroses for twenty years. She was just a wife, mother, sister, friend, tennis player, an Associate professor in the continuing Education department at the University of Dayton and she was my mother-in-law, Janice Webster. By the time I met my future mother-in-law her body was already ravaged by MS, an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. She could only spend brief times in a wheelchair and within two years after our first meeting she was fully bedridden and in a nursing home.
Although Janice was never able to teach me tennis she did teach me an incredible lesson, how to suffer with dignity. She was always happy to see any visitor, was never angry and often had a smile or funny quip she would zing out unexpectedly. I never heard her bemoan "why me" or curse God.
In the twelve years I knew Janice, I saw her suffer with a quiet strength and grace. While any suffering is difficult to watch, when done with the dignity Janice displayed, it becomes a powerful testament to the beauty of life.
Peace and Joy,