The Enigmatic Brazilian Woman, Part II

This is my sister-in-law.  She is bright, and funny, and generous.  She’s the one who made a special 4th of July weekend for me as my college graduation present last year.  She’s laid-back, and hard-working, and beautiful.  She’s loyal, and thoughtful, and spunky.  And she’s got aggressive bone marrow cancer. 

She married my ex-husband’s brother years ago, so I’ve probably known her for at least twenty years.  She had a less than perfect childhood, scarred by a cheating father, and she felt robbed of a happy family life.  When she married into my in-laws’s family, she thought perhaps she would have that big happy family at last.  During a 4th of July family dinner in 2010 at my father-in-law’s house, he began to criticize me, and he told me that the biggest regret that I had in my life was dropping out of school in 1978.  I told him that I hadn’t dropped out, but simply run out of money after 4 years and no degree, and I reminded him that, at that very moment, I was back in college.  Then he began to criticize my son, his own namesake.  Did I mention that my FIL was drinking?  He probably doesn’t think that he’s an alcoholic, but he certainly does drink every day.  I left the dinner and went home.   My FIL has never called nor written to apologize for his behavior.  For Thanksgiving later that year, my daughter called me to invite me to his house.  I declined, because the invitation didn’t come from him. 

My SIL and her family went to the Thanksgiving dinner, and she took a day out of her trip to come see me.  We met up, and went shopping, and out to lunch. 

At Ruan Thai Restaurant for my birthday in 2010. She said that this was an awful photo, but I think she's adorable.

We were having such a good time, and didn't want it to end, and we continued to eat. Fried ice cream! Add the letter "n", and you have "friend ice cream."


I’ve never had a girlfriend in my adult life like the ones you hear about.  No one to invite me over for dinner, or out for shopping or a movie, or even to a Tupperware party.  But my SIL, who had traveled with her family for 8 hours to be in the area for a so-called “family” get-together, made time to be with me.  Then this past year was the epic “I am a college graduate” blog post about our trip to Savannah.  She planned that and paid for it all, and I am deeply indebted to her generousity. 

She was diagnosed the week before Christmas, and has had two rounds of chemo.  Her hair is gone, her strength is failing, but her spirit is good.

Y’all think good thoughts.


7 Responses to “The Enigmatic Brazilian Woman, Part II”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Ruth, I will send comforting thoughts her way and yours. And you are right, it is a wonderful photo. As my mother would have said, “She has a pleasant face”, her highest compliment.


  2. leo Says:

    Ruth, You gather such wonderful folks around you. I don’t know how you do it, but I suspect it is because you are such a special person yourself. Cancer is such an uncaring malady, with no care as to the worth of the individual it attacks, but it seems that if anyone can beat it surely you sister-in-law with the bodacious smile will be one of the ones who do. Thank you for telling a small part of her story, and yours.


  3. Linda T Says:

    Wish we didn’t live so far apart. I would love to have a friend to go shopping and stuff with. Prayed for her a long time and still praying for her family (the ones that matter).


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