Years ago, when my good friend (now my husband) had told me that he was experiencing severe tachycardia (racing heart), I told him to go to the hospital, which he did, thank goodness. He was scared to accrue more medical bills, etc., but after the racing heart didn't stop, he surrendered and went to get checked out.
He actually died ("coded") for 8 minutes before the healthcare workers were able to bring him back. It turned out that he was suffering from congestive heart failure, which is not an automatic death sentence, but it's also not a trivial thing.
I called his cell phone over and over with no answer. Finally, a woman answered the call and filled me in on what was going on. That woman turned out to be his mother.
I drove the 4 hours up to the hospital to visit, but my friend was still out of it. Several family members were there for support, and it was nice to meet them. But his mom (my eventual mother-in-law) was the sweetest, most helpful person there.
I stayed as long as I could but had to go home for a few days. I came back, and sat and talked a lot with his mom. She even let me stay overnight so she could go get some much-needed rest. There were a couple of times that I had to approve procedures, etc., but she trusted me with that. We bonded pretty quickly, as did her husband and me. They were such welcoming and loving people.
Fast forward past his recovery, which was quicker than I ever imagined. He was staying with his parents, and they invited me to stay, too, which I did for a few days. Once again, I felt like I had known them forever and they treated me as part of the family.
As I mentioned, my friend and I eventually got married.
We had been together for about 5 years (married for 3), when this awful pandemic came to wreak havoc and take lives. My in-laws both died from complications of COVID-19 on December 23, 2020, in the same room, hand in hand. It was bittersweet.
As I reflect back, I can only feel love and loss. They were good to me from day one. And now I can't just call up "Mom" and complain about her son or ask for advice or just check in. I know they are in a better place, and grief is for the living. So, I grieve and I smile and I thank God that He gave me the privilege of knowing them.