I want to grieve. I want to cry. I want to feel something.
My mother-in-law smoked from the time she was a teenager until shortly after she was diagnosed with stage one lung cancer. She had a lobectomy, but the disease progressed quite quickly to stage four, where it has remained for about three years.
When my husband called me that day in June four years ago and told me that his mother had lung cancer, I wanted to want to sob, but I couldn't. All I could do was tell him the truth: "I'm so sorry for you."
My mother-in-law despises me, and I don't know why.
We've had disagreements that might logically lead to hurt feelings, but not hatred.
When I began dating Danny, I wanted to love her and I longed for her to love me in return. I was even excited at the thought of a "second mother". Instead, I got forced conversations and obligatory Christmas gifts, which gradually led to no contact at all.
I want to be imagining all this. I want it to be all in my head. But, sadly, I cannot. She has told my husband, "I hate your wife and I can't be around her."
I have tried to apologize to my mother-in-law for whatever it is that I have done to her to cause such intense feelings about me, but my apologies have fallen on deaf ears. She wants no relationship between us, and I've finally accepted that there's nothing I can do about it.
So, when the inevitable comes, when she finally succumbs to her dreadful disease, I will not grieve. I will not cry. I will not feel anything.
I will simply tell my husband the truth: "I'm so sorry for you."
This was written for the "Red Dress Club.".