Mary was a loving and loyal wife to my cousin, Thomas, for 33-years. This past Saturday my cousin phoned me with the sad news of her death.
Some of my happiest childhood memories include our 'vacations' - travelling on the Reading RR to visit Mom's family. Two of Mom's sisters lived in tranquil Washington, GA, while two sisters lived in a more fast-paced Augusta, GA. In musical speak, these trips were 'a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n roll' to me.
Thomas was the only child of Mom's oldest sister, MaryRuth and husband, Pete. While almost twenty years separates us, my cousin and I formed a bond early on that has lasted through the years. I attribute our connection to a mutual sense of humor and a love of all that is 'rock 'n roll'.
I've long admired my cousin for waiting until later in life to marry. Thomas carefully chose his soul mate. And Mary's entrance into our family was seamless, natural and most welcome.
Mom taught me 'every pot had its lid'. This was most true of Thomas and Mary.
Thomas helped Mary laugh, smile and to see the lighter side of life. Mary shared a rock of goodness, decency and spirituality with Thomas.
Mary and Chef Geoff exchanged many a recipe through the years. Thomas and I were willing guinea pigs as we sampled these (usually) delicious dishes at the dinner table.
Mary always found an excuse to give or mail me her coffee cake as she knew how much I enjoyed it. I'm grateful now to have her recipe...
In this year's Christmas card, Thomas shared that Mary had been sick for a few months. Relatives, friends and members of the congregation surrounded Thomas and Mary, as she was transitioning to the next chapter of her life. My heart smiled as Thomas told me about the angel hospice nurses with compassion and caring in their approach.
I never had a chance to thank Mary for two beautiful monogrammed hand towels that arrived over the last week. Thomas told me that Mary was 'fit to be tied' that her packages - (to two cousins and me) - would be arriving so late after Christmas. She 'pestered' him until he took these parcels to the Post Office - insisting on addressing the packages herself - which is as personal as it gets!
I wish I could have thanked Mary one last time for loving my precious cousin so beautifully and faithfully for these years. I know she has already joined a circle of powerful and loving women in heaven - including my Mom, Sammie; my Aunts, MaryRuth, Kitty, Jeanne and Shirleyand my Nanny, Estelle.
I believe that Mom sent me this song to honor this beautiful couple - as I listened to the radio after my conversation with Thomas.
Thomas, I'm now sending you some good old fashioned southern rock 'n roll from a mutually favorite band. I know today was hard on you - I'm so proud of you in every way. You were the best partner Mary could have had.
Sending you forever love, peace and a sip (or two) of Jack Daniels.
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