It was a year ago today that Mary died. I’ve been wanting to sit down for a few hours and just write about it, just process the whole idea of this being the anniversary of the tragedy, but it was not to be. I can say this, though: since Mary died, I don’t think a single day has gone by that I haven’t thought of her. Her death was tragic and a great loss, and it should never have happened, at least not then, and not the way it did. She should still be here with us, coming to work every day, living in Hayesville, married to Tony, making purses, and hiking on the weekends, with a good 50 or more years of life ahead of her.
We are still grieving her here at work. A plaque was made in her memory, one with several pictures of her on it, so we get to see and remember her smile every day.
The plaque, and her smile, are so quiet, though. So still. The Mary I remember was talking, laughing, walking across the street to the coffee shop for a chai latte, wearing her little backpack that she made, discussing books we’d read and wanted to read, going to the yarn store to see what she could find. That's the Mary I miss.
Today at work, we had an informal little service outside in Mary's memory. My friend Carla spoke, and she communicated some things that I really needed to hear: "Rather than make her death an event of sadness, loneliness, and loss, let's remember the joy Mary embraced life with."
Thank you, Carla, for saying that! Even though my life has seen blessing upon blessing showered on it lately, I've been so tired, so overwhelmed, that I've had trouble remembering the joy. By sharing with us those things about Mary that brought her--and us--joy, you made my memory of her today more meaningful, more soul-filling, not nearly so dark.
We miss you, Mary.