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beautiful mary

Beautiful Mary

by Andrea | Nov 17, 2017

A human life is impossible to wrap your arms around—in its fullness, complexity, completeness, and history. It is too big, too vast and mysteriously endless. The more you ask, the more you find, and the more you find, the more you ask. The more you look, the more you see, and the more you see, the more you look. This goes on like an ever-expanding galaxy. I’m not always in touch with this expansive reality, but a window into this knowledge seems to reveal itself strongly when a loved-one passes away. When quiet and stillness descend, and there is no distraction or fighting with life, lesser known truths slip through the cracks and allow the language of the heart to whisper its secrets.

Some people seem to be close to those lesser known secrets. You can tell by their wisdom, by their kindness, and by the softness in their eyes. 

My sister Mary—I believe—was one of those people. Beautiful inside and out, from the warmth of her generous heart to her ageless complexion. From her unique, dry and always surprising sense of humor to the gentle ways she lived her life, as wife, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, friend, aunt, cousin and more. To know Mary was to be touched by the unique signature of her warmth and kindness.

I received the call from Mary’s son, Brett, at 6:30am. He knew I was on my way to see her. With his gentle strength, he told me that Mary had passed away at 6:00am. I was on my way to see her, to hold her hand and behold her beautiful face one last time, to kiss her forehead one last time—a forehead kissed hundreds if not thousand times this past week by beloved friends and family. After Brett hung up, a silence stilled my heart. Rain started falling, softly and persistently, as if Western Mass itself was beginning to grieve, releasing a heaving final cry.

I wasn’t sure how this happened—if it was the calmness in Brett’s voice, or the release of a force of love that surrounded and held Mary for this past week—but the fear, anxiety and agitation that has occupied my state of mind for the past week was gone. In an instant, gone. What remained was calm and centered, like Mary. It was as if the essence of her beautiful life came to hang out within me. Calm, soft and centered. Deeply and surprisingly joyful. It felt like she was released from an illness that robbed her of her later years, and all of us from the fullness of her beautiful life. Somehow she was coming alive, and I could feel her in my heart. And in the following days I could see her alive in others. I have never experienced a more joyful wake and funeral, though there was not a dry eye to be seen. I will share more about this in later posts.

But for now...well maybe I missed kissing Mary's forehead that one last time, but something so much more beautiful happened.

She kissed mine. 

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