Posted on December 17 2015
When I met my Mother-In-Law, I was under the impression that she knew that I'd married her son. Of course right? How could she not? So the day we were to meet face to face, my husband and I began our trek to Savannah La Mar Jamaica from our hotel in Negril. As we crept along the dusty, unpaved back roads of the tenement yard, I took in a scenery unlike one I'd ever experienced. Rows of small rickety two room board houses, with tin/sheet metal roofs, and children playing merrily in the yards. We pulled up to one such house and he led me inside a narrow doorway, me already smiling from ear to ear getting ready for some form of familiar greeting. His mother smiled broadly back at her son (my husband) but had a far more inquisitive look when she looked at me. Suddenly I hear my husband say "Mama, this is Nicole, my wife, we got married this past Saturday." Her look went from inquisitive to flat out confused and she replied "MARRIED? Really?" I dug my fingernails into my husbands back. Through clenched teeth I hissed "Your Mother didn't know you were getting married?!" He wriggled from my grasp, ignoring my question and announced "Alright, well you two get to know each other!" and (poof) he was out of the door like a shot. I almost fainted. I turned back to her and smiled, wringing my hands out of sheer terror. But she just smiled back and said "Welcome, I guess we have a lot to talk about, yes?" From that point forward she has always been very welcoming and kind to me. Its just the type of woman she is. She is well known in the neighborhood for her kindness and generosity. She is a church going mother of 5 who raised her own children up under strict supervision. 4 girls and only one boy (my husband). When my husband finally returned he'd asked her to show me her scar from a recent surgery. Pulling her skirt aside, she showed me a long gash that appeared to go from her hip all the way down to her knee. All that I was told at the time was that she'd had a surgery and wasn't told for what. Shortly after my husband immigrated to the U.S from Jamaica, leaving his mother and young son behind, we found out that his mother had been diagnosed with a very rare and very aggressive form of CANCER called Leiomyosarcoma. I immediately began researching about the disease and found the commentary to be quite grim. "How?" my husband would ask me. "My mother doesn't drink, she doesn't smoke, she eats healthy, she goes to church every Sunday...so how is it that she is being stricken down with something like cancer?" I always tell him I don't know my love. I know its not fair, but we are going to fight this with her. You have to be strong and stay positive! Now, that is very hard to do, with modest salaries and no insurance to cover his mother's expanses for chemotherapy. Then one day a friend forwarded the Bravelets page. Suddenly I felt as if there was some sort of hope. True, you are relying on the kindness of friends and family, and often times strangers, and that is never guaranteed. But at least there is a CHANCE for help and hope. We've just begun this journey together as a family, and with prayers and assistance, we will get through it. All of this and more, for Mama-Jamaica.