Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Story of Mary, or Why I Believe Things Happen For a Reason

Mary was perhaps the most cheerful person on earth in spite of being elderly and housebound. I met her back in the late 1990s when I became a Meals on Wheels volunteer.

"Hi Honeyyyyyyyyyyy!" I wish everyone I know could hear Mary saying "Hi Honey!" when she opened the door to receive her lunch. The incredible energy of Mary's personae and her "Hi Honey" on this cyberpage doesn't quite express it. She beamed. She glowed. She loved. The feeling which she broadcast through her presence was practically tangible.

Once Mary miscalculated my age, about 20 years to the younger. I grew to love her even more.

For weeks, my routine continued. I knocked on Mary's door, and after a long wait, a ray of sunshine greeted me with a big "Hi Honey!" once again.

Missing! One day Mary's name was not on the list of Meals on Wheels patrons. I asked another elderly couple who were still on the route if they knew if Mary was okay. "She's in the hospital," they explained with tears in their eyes. I had tears, too. During the months that followed, I continued to deliver meals to the building where Mary lived, but each time her name was missing from the list.

One chilly Sunday, my best friend Michele and I went to Calvary Baptist Church. I'd never attended a black church and was curious. As I was perusing the printed program, there was Mary's name on the prayer list. "That's Mary! I know her! She's my Meals on Wheels lady!" I said to Michele. I was so relieved that Mary was still alive. I was surprised what a small world it was, even though Mary lived at Calvary Towers, only a few steps from the church.

Closing out the safe deposit box. Winter soon became spring. I was working at my desk in the original Zions bank branch in downtown Salt Lake City. The bank was bustling with activity. A woman walked into the branch and asked me for assistance with her safe deposit box. Since my co-workers were busy, I walked her down the marble stairs of the historic old building to the boxes.

The woman, whose name I don't recall, completed the necessary form to access her safe deposit box. I located the signature card. The other name on the signature card was Mary's name. I had no idea Mary was a bank customer. "I know Mary!" I exclaimed.

The woman explained that she was Mary's best friend and sadly explained that Mary had died. My eyes flooded as I absorbed the news.

The finality of it all. Mary's best friend was coming to the bank to close out the safe deposit box which they had shared for years. Though closing out a safe deposit box was by no means comparable to funeral grief, it was one more task to be done to accept and finalize the death of a loved one. And Mary's best friend had come alone.

We chatted for a while about what a great person Mary was. "I will surely miss her," she noted. "She was wonderful!" I said.

Things happen for a reason. I've never forgotten Mary, nor that day. I was happy to be there, to comfort Mary's best friend in some small way by letting her know I knew and adored her friend and mine, Mary.

Since then, my best friend, Michele, has passed on, too. When I used to call Michele, she'd always say "Hi Honey!" to me, too. It warms my heart to think that Mary and Michele may now be greeting each other with the biggest, happiest "Hi Honeyyyyyyyyy!" heaven has ever heard.

No comments:

Post a Comment