These are pictures of Marty with his grandkids at his 90th birthday party and Marty's garden.
Marty was the best father-in-law I could have ever hoped for. I have listened to people complain about their in-laws for years, but I never could take part in such discussions because Marty was such a sweet, unassuming man. He had his PhD and was addressed in his career days as "Dr" but in his later life, no one knew he was a doctor, and he never felt the need to tell anyone. When hubby and I went to his house to tell him of our plans to get married, he could not have been more welcoming. He broke out a bottle of wine and the three of us celebrated together. He lost his wife to cancer when she was in her fifties and he just seemed content to live alone from then on, with a cat as a companion.
Toward the end of his life, when he was in the hospital, I went to visit him with my daughter. He was a little bit confused at the moment we chose to visit him. We brought him a milkshake. He was so grateful. He looked at me, not quite sure of who I was, and he asked "do you know my son?" I smiled and said "yes, I'm married to him." He got a kick out of that. He laughed and said "oh, you're my daughter-in-law!"
Marty passed away two years ago. I thought a fitting tribute would be to build a garden in his memory. The idea was in my head for a long time. One day I happened to be off work, and I pulled into my driveway in the middle of the day. Our next-door neighbor had a guy working in her garden and he was in my drive, blocking me. He apologized, and my neighbor introduced me to her "arborist." I said hey, we've got a tree stump in the back of our yard - can you give me a quote to turn it into a garden? And he did, and that was the start of the garden. I had some plants that we had received when Marty died, and those were the first to be planted in the garden. I had absolutely no gardening skills when I started, but I am learning, and this summer, the second summer of the garden, it started to turn into something. My son even made a plaque in his ceramics class for it, and for my 50th birthday, I got two benches as gifts (from two separate people, who had no idea the other one was buying the same gift!).
I have found such peace in that garden. I will go out there with Pepper the dog and Bing the cat, and I have my little child's chair to sit on (those bad knees won't allow me to kneel), and I plant and pull weeds and just enjoy my surroundings. I think Marty would have been proud.