Sam and I want to dedicate this posting to my sister Mary Anne, who died this week of complications from surgery. She was only 57 years old, the youngest of my four sisters. She will be missed.
What is that saying about hope springing eternal in the human breast?
Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
In spite of a nasty divorce years ago that broke her heart and in spite of a recent rash of falling accidents that almost broke her spirit, my sister Mary Anne still seemed to harbor some hope that her circumstances would improve. She called me a couple of weeks ago and told me she was going to have a complicated back surgery on Monday, June 4, because if she didn’t she might possibly wind up paralyzed for the rest of her life. I remember thinking at the time, “I hope this isn’t a goodbye call.”
Mary Anne died this past Thursday, after her surgery failed to meet its goal of enabling her to walk again. The doctors said she would be paralyzed and bedridden for the rest of her days, kept alive only by artificial means. She felt there was no hope for her anymore. She chose to let her life end.
My sister was not famous or well known and she had not written a best-selling book or cut a gold record or starred in a famous movie. I don’t think she ever even had her picture appear in the newspaper for anything. She was a kitchen helper at Peninsula School District and the mother of a son and daughter. Those were her only remarkable claims to fame. I don’t think she ever achieved accolades for anything else she did. Fortunately, she never went to jail for committing a heinous crime either.
But I loved Mary Anne. She had this great ability to laugh at life and at herself. She possessed a wry and sometimes rapier-pointed wit. If you found yourself on the receiving end of her wit you might gasp righteously and ask forlornly, “What have I done to offend you?”
One thing Mary Anne never let me forget was the day my mother brought her (the new baby) home from the hospital and said to me, “Isn’t she beautiful?”
Since she was my fourth sister and I did not get the brother I had been hoping for I said, “No, she’s not beautiful, take her back.”
But it wasn’t easy to offend Mary Anne. She would stick pins in your personal hot-air balloon when she was having fun with you, but not because she disliked you or was trying to put you down. She didn’t tolerate B.S. very well and had a totally witty way of saying so.
Sam and I lift prayers up for Mary Anne’s children, Davin and Brenna. They are too great young adults.
True to Mary Anne’s unpretentious nature, she chose to be cremated with no burial or memorial service. God be with you Mary Anne. Thanks for calling to say goodbye when you did. I wish we could have talked many years longer.