|Biking at Eagle Creek Park|
The words "kind and thoughtful" don't quite do justice to Mary...
On her first day of chemo in early December she was texting me to find out how my surgery went.
In her first week of chemo she baked her niece's favorite cookies and sent them to her at college.
During her first weeks of having cancer she sent my mom a lovely card from Our Lady of the Snows Shrine offering up Catholic Masses in my mom's name. Although she never met my mom, she was thinking about mom's treatment for lung cancer.
She often helped out people at work who were struggling. She was a supervisor at the USDA, and she was known to help people who got behind in their work.
Once she told me and Mike about her daily drive to work through East St. Louis. Each day she passed an older man sitting on his porch, and she would offer a wave and a smile. Eventually he waved back to her each day.
She was very active in her church and helped countless people join the Catholic faith. One of the people wrote a lovely letter to Mary's husband Stan about the difference Mary made in her life and faith. Mary's friends from church kept constant vigil over her during her final days of hospice at home.
I met Mary's boss at the visitation. I had often heard Mary talk about him, and with tears in his eyes he told me how much of a void there was without her at work.
|With Mike at park in St. Louis|
And how the memories come flooding back...of a wonderful hiking vacation Mike and I took with Mary and Stan to Bryce and Zion...and all the Blues Hockey games...and a wonderful trip to Kansas City...and their involvement in our Halloween parties...and the New Year's Eve party where they helped us cook a wonderful Greek meal...and trekking to the Dairy Queen in their town for a late night ice cream fix...and a Caribbean cruise...and the list goes on and on.
|Stan and Mary at park in St. Louis|
|Hiking bluffs near St. Louis|
|Hiking out West|
|Shaking it in Aruba|
|Walking in the woods with Mike, Kevin, Stan, Mary and Kathy|
|Crazy Halloween Party|
|And another Halloween party|
|Sunset in Aruba|
We are just beginning to come to understand her death and the void in our lives. But as I see the beautiful Cardinals at the bird feeder I'm reminded of Mary and her involvement in the National Audubon Society. And in the sunset I see her beautiful smile. And these sights clear away some of the tears as we learn to live in a life without her. At least for now until we see her again one day and laugh and share memories of our time together on Earth.