Mary was my friend first and foremost. She married my brother not once, but twice ~ and divorced him twice. No hard feelings there ~ she was still my friend and family. We lost Mary to cancer last year. She would have been 52 today. She left behind a beautiful daughter and an adorable granddaughter and lots of people who love her. Mary fought cancer for many many years. She defied the doctors time after time. Not long before she left us her daughter Trish blessed her with a granddaughter. Mary said that Maddie was a miracle and rather than feeling sad that she wouldn't be around to see Maddie grow up, Mary was grateful that she was here to be with her at all. It was, I think, the reason she hung on as long as she did.
My Julianne fell in love with her Aunt Mary way before she ever met her. She and Mary exchanged written notes many times ~ something that is rare and beautiful these days. Julianne keeps these notes and the pictures Mary sent her in a special album. She also has a stuffed bunny that Mary's daughter Trish sent her after Mary's passing. She named the bunny Aunt Mary and it is never far from her.
Mary knew she was dying months before happened. She was very matter of fact about it ~ she had suffered a very long time and she had accepted the fact that it was her time. I had the rare opportunity to talk very candidly with her about death. There was no time for pretending it wouldn't happen. It was hard but in a way very serene albeit surreal. I gave her a message to give my mom when she saw her. I still have a hard time dealing with this and I'm typing with tears streaming down my face. I did learn to always tell the people I love that I love them any chance I got. Mary and I always ended each conversation that way because we never knew if it was the last. I did get to see Mary one last time (she lived in Texas and I in Florida) when she came down to say good bye to her sister and her parents. Walking away from her that last time was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I tried to be strong. I really did but started to collapse on the way to the car and fortunately my wonderful husband was there to catch me and get me in the car. I think I cried the whole way home ~ as did Julianne.
Julianne was happy to get to meet her Aunt Mary and as shy as Julianne can be with people she has never met, she was great with Mary. They loved each other immediately. She now has a picture of herself on Aunt Mary's lap. It sits in a frame in her room. When I received the news that Mary had left us I asked that Julianne be brought to me and as I told her the news we both held onto each other for dear life and sobbed. We still cry ~ not for Mary. I know Mary is no longer in pain and that she's looking in on us. We cry because we miss her and the world was a better place with her in it. Today we will write Mary a note and tell her how much we miss her. We will put the note in a balloon and release it. The balloon will take the note up to Aunt Mary in heaven. It will help us feel a little better to know that Mary will know we are thinking about her today.
This is Mary with newborn daughter Trish
Mary and Trish at my mom's house.
And Aunt Mary and Julianne
She was an amazing and wonderful person and I am thankful that I was able to be a part of her life. We love you Mary!