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Dear Mary Ann,


in Those I LOVE

If I could say only two words to you, they’d be thank you. Since I can no longer say anything directly to you, why stop at two? I always had more to say than you did so this refusal to yield will come as no surprise to you. A refusal to yield is, in fact, something we had in common. I can only hope to match your unyielding faith, loyalty & defense of those you loved thus were loyal to. Your quiet yet fierce determination to do your part showed in your amazing self-sufficiency as well as your selfless care for others. The latter was extended to whomever was in need, known & unknown alike, but especially to your son. RhodesTer, who you raised & eventually let me borrow in turn, embodies your best qualities.

Mary Ann in 1955

You didn’t readily entrust me with your only child which just made the trust won in the end that much more meaningful. While I can’t help but mourn not getting to know each other until the end of your life, I wouldn’t trade in that opportunity or even its timing. If not for the crazy circumstances that brought Dave & I to live with you in 1993, you & I would never have come to appreciate each other. Worse yet, you would have died alone. It’s not a worthy excuse for losing you a month shy of your sixtieth birthday but there’s no other conceivable time we would’ve — or could’ve — been there. The day you were meant to turn 60, I celebrated my own milestone.. 25. I started the next quarter century of my life while sorting yours & with a husband in deep mourning.

Being born on the same date implies similar personalities; we were likely more alike than we ever realized. Despite our glaring differences, I think we’re remarkably similar at the core. I was an avid list-maker & pack-rat til I spent a year making sense of your many lists & boxes upon boxes upon chests full. 😕 While you inadvertently taught me to let go of the mundane, you ensured the sublime was held tighter. From the stunningly perfect-for-me sheets found in one of those chests, presumably awaiting our shared birthday, to the unwitting regifting of dear Rufus, the pup we’d given you our first Christmas together; you continued to care for us in your absence. In the wake of losing you, our commitment to each other & determination to take no moment for granted were crystallized.


You were one who gave til it hurt & we also learned from that. Experiencing how those for whom you’d sacrificed treated your memory was by far the hardest part of tending to your affairs. The so-called relationships lost without you as the glue helped us to sever future ties that weren’t healthy as well. Your life was a testament to actions being louder than words & inspires us still. Of all the lessons & affirmations received from you though, nothing can match how seriously you took the meaning of your son’s name — “beloved” is exactly what he is & should be. Your David, my Dave, the blogosphere’s RhodesTer inspired our most precious commonality for he was chosen by both of us; each knowing that no-one else would or could make us as happy. That phenomenal heart of yours failed you suddenly on this day nearly 20 years ago & far too soon but, OH, it was well used.. broken heart

“There is in all this world
no fount of deep, strong,
deathless love,
save that within
a mother’s heart.”
~ Felicia Hemans ~

PS: Thank you!

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