Sunday, June 29, 2008

God Bless The Brazilians

When I had my surgery in Sweden, we lived a five minute drive from the hospital. What should have been a 20 minute out-patient procedure turned into a three hour long major overhaul of my abdomen.

I was swollen. I was in a lot of pain.

Hubbie went to work, and I recovered at home. I had three different incisions in my stomach. From the outside it wasn't too gruesome. Internally, I had been scraped and cauterized. It was hard for me to move.

My MIL, who was already retired by this time, lived a five minute drive down the same street we lived on. She never came to see me. She never called to check on me.

I don't know what she had going on. All I knew was that I was laid up in bed or stretched out on the couch. And I was starving. It hurt too much to stand in the kitchen and cook. I would try and fix a sandwich or two, but I was hobbling around like a 90-year old woman.

Enter my next door neighbor. She was Brazilian. Married to a Swedish guy. She was about 10 years older than I was. A lovely woman with lots of issues. We would talk in our version of Swedish. Hers heavily accented with Portuguese, mine with English. She was a lovely person with a very sad life.

When she realized what was going on, she brought me food. Lots of it.

She asked me to leave our upper door unlocked. And from beneath my blankets and a haze of pain I could hear her at different times on different days come into my kitchen and leave large pots of various Brazilian soups and dishes on my counters.

Hubbie and I would not have eaten if not for her.

God only knows what were in some of the dishes. I believe one was ox-tail-black-bean-something-or-other. But it was delicious. It was nutritious. And I was so, so thankful.

I know that my MIL is not the benchmark for hospitality in Sweden. I try not to let memories like this get to me, but I still hate her for it. She could stand to learn a lesson or two from my old neighbor.

I hope my neighbor is still living in her flat when we visit this autumn. I would like to give her a big hug and tell her how much I miss her.


Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Wouldn't it be great if everyone were like that? Your MIL is a total piece of work. Karma is a bitch and I certainly hope she has your MIL's name on her list.

MommyWizdom said...

It makes you wonder how such a woman produced the man you love doesn't it? Hmn... Thank God for your neighbor, indeed!

buddha_girl said...

I despise the woman who birthed your husband. I think just punishment would be if she had to live with MY MIL for three days. For real. That's all it would take. Maybe neither one would walk out. We could have a double funeral - at Potter's Field.

When I had my surgery last month, I had people cleaning my house, cooking food, and taking care of both my son and husband. All of this happened without my request.

Hence, I love your neighbor and can only hope that she's still there as well!

Momma said...

Thank God for neighbors like that one!

I have a similar MIL story, except I didn't have a Brazilian neighbor to help me. I was living with my relatives, recovering from having our first child and dealing with 13 stitches you-know-where. There was nothing to eat in the house, and they would go out to eat and bring nothing home. And I was NURSING their first grandchild!!!

I had to call up hubby at the Marine Corps base 4 hours away and ask if he could intervene. He took leave and came up to take care of me. He also read his parents the riot act.

Now my MIL acts like she has always loved me. I think she's just older and trying to get into Heaven now.

Peace - D

Krysta said...

Oh god! What a horrible person. Thank goodness that there are other people in the world that are nice and caring.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@CMGD: It makes me strive to remember to help care for others when they might need it. Remind me to tell you my whole take on my MIL's karma. The fact that she got ME for a DIL just might be part of that.

@MommyWizdom: I do wonder. And often. Hubbie is all his dad. Right down to the ironing and folding of laundry. God bless him.

@Buddha_Girl: What I wouldn't pay to be a fly on THAT wall. I am so glad you had so many people helping you our during your recovery. I am sure it made such a hard time that much easier.

@Momma: Oh, Momma. That is just terrible. I had a few experiences like that with the ILs when they came to visit. I always hope to remember these things so that I do not repeat them to anyone else.

@Krysta: Yes, it is the other people I run into that give me hope. LOL

Chris in Happy Valley said...

Yeah, I think your mother-in-law is exceptional in Sweden. I've always found it difficult to get rid of the bloody Swedes when you visit there. They're forever trying to force pickled fish, cake and coffee down your throat.

Mermaid said...

What happens to these women? They could not have been born this way. Do they just up and get crazy one day? Why can't they see themselves in the mirror?

I have a whole running list of MIL incidents in my head that can get my blood good and boiling. Thank God for the kind souls out there.

I am so sorry to hear that she was so awful to you. There must be a special, little, very hot room in hell for all of these MILs.

.:| Melissa |:. said...

Awww, what an awesome neighbor! I had a neighbor like that, for a couple years. She always knew when we were sick! (because she didn't see any of us going in and out of the house, and whatnot) and I'd hear my door bell ring, and there Elenore would be, with a big ole pot of home made vegetable and steak soup! YUM! GAWD was that stuff good!!

Then we moved away! I still miss her! She's probably passed on by now, that or she's like 100 years old! ;0) We didn't have any family there where we were living, so she kinda became our family! She always took care of us! :0)

Shame on your MIL! That's just appalling! I mean, even if she doesn't like you, she could at least have some common courtesy! Yanno! It's not like you're the Devil's Spawn or anything! Sheeeeesh! And what about her own son? Doesn't she care about him? That's just wrong!

Gypsy said...

Now that's a good neighbor.

CPA Mom said...

You know, I had surgery in March and told a lot of people. Neighbors, friends, co-workers. Not one person came by with food. Not one person offered to take my kids to a play date. Not one person took my kids egg hunting (it was Easter).

I'm still bitter.

I needed YOUR neighbor.