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Tragedy forged warm relationship for two East Lancashire women
THE nightmare mother-in-law may be one of the oldest cliches when talking about families.
But Jayne Hunter and her mother-in-law Vera have overcome tragedy to form the closest of bonds.
Just over six years ago, Jayne’s husband Christy died from complications with his diabetes.
The couple had separated a few months before, and had a baby daughter, Mollie, now seven.
“Vera and I have a very good relationship now,” said Jayne, 33, from Nelson. “But it hasn’t always been so.
“When Christy and I split up it was difficult between us, and when he died I think Vera and his dad Les did blame me a bit.
“But I made a point of seeing them and taking Mollie round regularly, and over the six years we have become very close.
“They’ve helped me enormously with Mollie.
“Their eyes light up when they see her and we really are close now, having got through the bad patch.”
Watching her son’s relationship break down was not easy for Vera, 59, who lives near Gisburn, but her relationship with Jayne now is all the stronger for it.
“I love Jayne to bits, but don’t tell her that,” she laughed, “and Mollie really keeps me going.
“We get on great; we have a shared love. Jayne and my son absolutely loved each other, but they couldn’t get on.
“I like to think she could phone me if she needed help, I’m not scary, although I think Jayne used to think I was.
“I always tried to step back and let her and Christy get on with it, not be an interfering mother-in-law.”
Just as many women’s body confidence comes from their mothers, Jayne has learned how to be comfortable in her skin from Vera.
“She is so very confident and has taught me to be who you are rather than being miserable,” beauty therapist Jayne said.
“I do look up to Vera too. She’s got a lot about her. She had an operation not so long back and has bounced back.”
While Jayne is becoming more sure of herself, she is conscious not to pass on her own issues to daughter Mollie.
“She does hear me saying clothes don’t fit and that I need to lose weight, but I’m trying to get healthier and she’s helping me, which in turn is helping her. I tell Mollie how beautiful she is.”
Vera’s healthy acceptance of her body is reflective of a recent survey, which found that women in their 50s are at their happiest.
Vera said: “I have enjoyed getting my wrinkles; I have earned them and am not ashamed of that.
“I would like to weigh a bit less sometimes, but if other people have a problem with that it’s their problem not mine.
“I was a size 16 getting married 35 years ago, and I am a size 16 now so it’s never really bothered me.”
Mollie and Jayne will be treating Vera with flowers on Mother’s Day on Sunday, after a night out last weekend with Jayne’s sister and mum to celebrate.
“I always take Vera some flowers,” Jayne said. “She’s like my second mum but I don’t like to interfere.”
With these strong women to inspired her, Mollie is a confident little girl who loves her relatives dearly.
“My mummy is pretty, and she’s special to me because she’s always at home for me and I always know she is there for me,” the Laneshawbridge Primary School pupil said.
“And my granny is always playing with me whenever I go over there, and I always enjoy my holidays with them every year.”
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