Human character and personality has always been shaped by manifold factors in the society. These mainly include all activities which take place within a person’s environment resulting into diverse experiences and memories. Parents have always been known to influence the personality of their children in various ways. Since they spent most of their time with children, their character is embraced and emulated by children throughout their learning process. As a result, parents have been seen as role models in the society, playing a mega role in defining the life of an individual. Apart from parents, other family members and close friends determine what we become. This range expands beyond parents in law who are usually considered as “second” parents. As I look back into the past, I see one person who has significantly molded me into who I am today. My mother-in-law, Catherine influenced my life by showing me selflessness, how food connects family and how to never take life for granted.
I have always mentioned to my friends that I have never seen a selfless person like my mother in-law. She believed in living her total life for others. Though a rare character among many people, my second mum believed that the happiness of her friends and her family members significantly defined who she was. She used to sacrifice her time to spend with less fortunate like the needy and orphans. She gave hope to the hopeless and was driven by the principle of sympathy and empathy. A part from sharing her time with the needy, Catherine sacrificed her resources through donations and partnerships. She helped her friends and neighbors to settle medical bills in hospitals, pay their rent and even meet their family needs. Besides these donations, Catherine would invite people at home to celebrate together every moment of her life. Although she was not very rich, she strongly understood the purpose of helping those in need regardless of material possessions. She also gave out herself in helping the church through offerings and donations. Many churches met at her house almost weekly to reflect on the goodness of God.
My mother also had passion for family connections. This was achieved by organizing several feasts and sharing forums. She embraced family gatherings whose culmination would be sharing of a well prepared meal. We used to meet every month for a grant family dinner which attracted every family member. It was during such meetings that we shared our progress and family experiences. She derived a lot of satisfaction from family gathering as she continually shared out her secret recipes. There used to be every form of fun and laughter as we gathered together frequently to share meals in Catherine’s house. She also taught me how to prepare almost every meal including traditional ones.
Moreover, my second mom never took life for granted. She always thought of others even when she was the one a needy position. She appreciated every simple moment in life including but not limited to hugs from grandchildren, natural weather and relaxing at the beach. The simplicity of my mother in-law challenges me to date. She lived the simplest life I’ve ever experienced. Her concern for others was quite amazing as she derived every manner of pleasure and fun from time shared with the less fortunate. She never took life for granted and even as she enjoyed her last breaths on her bed, she never thought of her ovarian cancer which led to her death in February 1999. She still had passion to serve and live for others.