Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mary

In several months, we will have our annual losing of an hour sleep and DST will return. The following, from December 12, 2009, is about something that happened once with the clock change.

Mary died on Monday. The good folks in our apartment complex office called Wednesday to let me know and to pass on the funeral arrangements. I wasn't able to go because of school and I would have known very few of the mourners but I wish I could have made it. I knew her daughter and I met her son once. Mainly, I knew about their lives from her stories. I know they are grieving the loss of their mother. It's a feeling I understand.


I met Mary five years ago by accident or providence, depending on your theology. She had dropped a gift card to the Piccadilly Cafeteria by the common mail boxes and I found it. After reading a note I left on the bulletin board, Mary put a message on my door explaining what had happened and that's how we met. I took to visiting on Saturdays while I was doing my laundry. We were on the same floor, although on different wings, and we talked while my clothes were in the dryer. As I sat with her over the years, she told me about her life. She had been been married to a good, hard-working man and had been a widow for several decades. Her son was in his seventies with a wife suffering from Alzheimer's. She had buried a daughter who died in her fifties. Mary's pride was her youngest child, Joy, who was born blind and without feet. During our time, Mary chronicled the struggles of raising a physically challenged youngster and her belief that the Lord led her to the only doctor and facility who could help. Mary was a cancer survivor and fiercely independent. Even at ninety-five years, she lived by herself almost to the end. The latest return of the cancer and the resulting treatment was simply more than her body could take. The last time I saw her, right before Thanksgiving, she was almost blind and had to ask who I was when she opened the door. Her mind was still sharp and she remembered that we shared the same birthday. She told me she had decided to refuse the chemotherapy that the doctors had prescribed and she was ready to go. On a number of occasions in recent months, she asked why I thought the Lord had let her live this long. We agreed He must have something for her to do. When I left each Saturday for the past six months or so, she always asked if we could pray together and I was honored to do so. Today, when I did my laundry, I thought about Mary's now empty apartment. I do have a souvenir. Folks from her church would always bring her food and as she deteriorated, she ate less and less so she sent a big helping of casserole on one of her plates four weeks ago. I never returned it, so tonight, I ate my supper on Mary's plate. Several weeks ago, when Daylight Savings Time returned, she asked if I could change the clocks in her apartment as she could no longer manage the task. This evening, I wish I could turn them back one more time.


Applicable quote of the day:
"In youth the days are short and the years are long; in old age the years are short and the days long.''
Nikita Ivanovich Panin

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

1 comment:

Matt, Heather, Sydney and little Aubrey said...

It was great looking over your site. I saw that you headed to China recently. I hope you had a good time. My wife and I (with our two kids) live in China and I teach English. It's very rewarding work to get to bless these kids. Check out our blog if you get a moment, http://petersonchina.blogspot.com.