A year ago, my friend Mary died of cancer. I didn’t write more than a quick mention of her cancer since the day that I first heard the news. I didn’t know what to say.
I still don’t know what to say, but after today, I feel like I have to say something.
My heart is full.
I met Mary in 1999, shortly after Necco was born. I was a new mother of 2 kids with no car and I needed somewhere to go…..some way to connect with other people. Someone told me about a place called the Parent Resource Center (click for a post about what the PRC is), which at the time was located in an extra classroom at the elementary school across the street. Every day that the PRC was open, I would strap KitKat and Necco in the stroller, pack a lunch, and walk to the PRC. Mary was always there, with a smile and her guitar, equipped with plenty of songs, stories, and advice.
I continued to attend the Resource Center until this past year, when my youngest started kindergarten. For nearly 12 years, Mary taught, entertained, and loved my kids. She was my friend, my mentor, and a substitute mother to lean on sometimes when being a mother to little ones felt overwhelming. I went to the PRC for my kids, but I also went for myself. I was always uplifted when I spent time with Mary and Emma, her co-worker, and the other parents at the Center. I left feeling like a better mom.
When I heard that Mary had been diagnosed with cancer, I was shocked. She wouldn’t be coming back to the Center. I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen Mary, and I never imagined that I would never have a chance to see her again. She died too fast.
A few months ago, Mary’s co-worker, Emma emailed me and asked if I had a picture of Mary playing her guitar. Mary and Emma knew I almost always had a camera with me and had seen me take plenty of pictures over the years. I dug through my pictures, remembering a certain shot, but not quite sure where to find it. I did find something and sent it over to Emma.
Today I was overwhelmed to hear the effect that my simple picture had had on so many people.
Mary’s co-workers had my photo made into a plaque to place in the Center in remembrance of the many years of service and influence and love from Mary. They invited me to join them, Mary’s husband, and two of her long-time friends, in a ceremony to remember Mary and place the plaque in a place of honor at the Resource Center.
I was stunned. The picture was perfect. Everyone there commented that they knew it was the right image of Mary – it was exactly how we all remember her. Next to her picture was a rhyme that Mary said at the end of Circle Time every day. How perfect that we were able to read it today as we remembered her.
What do you say to remember a friend who is gone?
I say thank you. I don’t know what else to say, what else to do.
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli
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