For the past twenty years, I’ve looked out my home office window at Mary’s house. She was this wonderful, senior lady with the gentile charm of a proper southern belle. For these many years, she had long since retired and pretty much stayed by herself. I’d see her occasionally take her 20 year-old car out for grocery shopping.
Over the past decade her health had clearly declined. I would watch her cautiously step into her front yard, using her broom as a cane, to fill her bird feeder and check the mail. Her children had long since move on into lives of their own. I believe she had a daughter in California and a son somewhere in the south. Her husband passed away many years before.
Two years ago, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was in and out of the hospital. It’s a particularly deadly cancer. Thankfully during the last six months of her life she was able to remain for the most part independent in her home with the help of friends and hospice care.
In those last days, her children and remaining friends were able to visit with her tying up those loose ends that every relationship has and saying their good byes. I had the chance to visit with Mary and hear familiar stories of her husband and their travels and how proud she was of her children.
Mary passed away last May. She was buried alongside her husband.
The home that she lived in for nearly 60 years – the place she spent her entire married life raising two kids – was sold to a developer Last week, BZ Evacuating Inc came in with an enormous crane leveling the house in a mere two days. The lot is being readied for another home with a new family and its story.
What’s the point of this post on a wedding site?
The point is the message that I am learning each day I work with the dying and their families. It’s the takeaway from every graveside with I stand with loved ones and pray. Our possessions don’t matter. All that matters — after all is said and done — are our relationships; who and how we have loved and been loved. While Mary’s house is gone, the love that she shared with her children, family, and friends – while changed – most certainly lives on.
As St. Paul tells us in the often-used wedding reading from the Letter to the Corinthians, “love never dies.” The promise that couples make to each other through their wedding vows is to enter through the portal of love into eternity.
Mary, this one’s for you!