It's been just over a week since Mary died and to put it ever so simply. I'm sad. I've experienced many different types of loss, and each comes accompanied with a bit of regret and sorrow for the person who has died. Mary's death came with none of that. I have no regrets, and Mary died exactly as she would have wanted to. She went in her sleep during the 5:00 news.
I had shortened this for the funeral, but here is all that I would have wanted to say (a) if I wasn't worried about Stevie (her 94 year old husband) sitting through the service and (b) if I didn't need to edit it for the Catholic Church.
“What are you celebrating?” was one of Mary’s multi-purpose phrases. It could refer to an outfit, a haircut, or just her fancy way of asking you why you were taking so long. It was always rhetorical, but today I am going to answer what we are celebrating.
We’re celebrating the honesty, selflessness and sassy humor that made Mary one of a kind. Mary didn't mince words and I wish that she could have replaced Joan Rivers on the red carpet. I wouldn't want her to have dressed up at all, but instead wear one of her standard "uniforms" (like her infamous slippers) and comment on how people "got fat", or ask them, "What, did you stop combing your hair?"
Some of my favorite perspectives that Mary had on the world are as follows:
Mary, on psychology: “I got a lot of problems, but I’d never pay someone to listen to them.”
Mary, on love and dating as a 27 year old: "Well, I guess your going to end up alone." Time for me was indeed up. I had to inform her that not everyone's mother gave them notes to go into the Beer Garden at 18 (this was how Mary met her husband 64 years earlier)
Mary, on technology: When I was explaining to her that she could set her new coffee pot to turn on the coffee before she woke up, Mary asked me “How does it know when I get up?” When I explained to her that she had to program it, she asked me, “How do I know when I’m going to get up?”
Mary, on diversity: "You have black friends?! Well, that's okay."
I will always carry with me these gems, plus many, many more. I’ll also remember the most important thing that Mary taught me. That family is not always blood related and that you never know who will become an integral part of your life. The janitors at my mother’s school became my parent’s landlords, then their friends, then my babysitter and simultaneously our family.
Thank you Mary for giving us something to celebrate.