Partly because we have been cleaning out Tom's folks' house.
My MIL lost her daughter before I met her, before I met Tom.
So far as I can tell, the family never really recovered.
Sair's birth helped a little.
She was the only grandchild, and, to the extent anything could, she brightened things up a lot.
We would take her over to visit, and everyone would play family.
Some of the problem was that, as much as my MIL loved Janet, they fought bitterly.
I think it was because grandmama wanted to raise her family as if she were still living an upper-class life in pre-WWII Nicaragua, and while the boys could work around some of the odder bits a girl had a harder time of it.
And Janet wouldn't be pushed around, or accept insane things.
So my MIL ended up shipping Janet off to relatives in El Salvadore when she was fourteen, and from there to boarding school in Ireland.
Janet had only been home again for a few weeks, when she was walking on Ocean Beach and saw someone in trouble in the water.
Janet had taken lifesaving, and tried to rescue him, and was herself pulled from the water not breathing.
Ocean Beach has a vicious undertow, and people die there regularly.
They managed to resuscitate her, but she had lost all brain function, and her parents had to take her off life-support.
Janet had just turned eighteen.
And while she was out of the house, dealing with details of the funeral, her sisters-in-law came to the house and were "helpful."
They had decided she would have an unhealthy obsession with Janet's things, so they bagged up everything and donated it to charity.
Which I tend to think was criminally stupid and cruel.
People grieve in their own ways, and I think my MIL needed the physical objects to focus on.
And that side of Tom's family have seriously weird was of dealing with things.
His father called Tom at grad school to tell him about it, but said he needn't bother to come home and disturb his studies… the strange thing about it all is how sane Tom has managed to turn out.
It's been hard trying to empty out Tom's folks' house.
And dealing with his nuttier relatives.
I really wish I had a sister-in-law to help out with things.
Or some cousins for Sair on her father's side.
I never met Janet.
I only got to see how her loss continued to effect the family over the years