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Monday, February 17, 2014

Our Mary....One Of A Kind!

She was born in Wyoming and there would eventually be 12 children in her parent's house. She was very secretive about her family. She was unique, witty, smart, and sassy. She was John's Mom, and my Mom-in-love! When I first met her, I am not sure if she liked me or not, but as we got to know each other, we became friends, and then Mom and daughter. I have so many memories of her in the over 30 years she was with us. Some are sad, some funny, and some frustrating. Through all our times, she was a bright smile, and a fun person to be with. She had a lot of friends, and I can't think of anyone who met her, who didn't like her.

She held many jobs, but her early life remained a mystery. It seems she left home very young, and struck out on her own. No one knows why. She worked as a waitress, a homemaker, and a salesperson in a Drug Store. Her longest job was as a sales person in the shoe department at Brandeis in Omaha, which later became Younkers. She was there for over 25 years, and was really good at what she did. Through her years there she waited on a number of celebrities when they were in town to perform at Ak Sar Ben. The cool thing was, she treated all her customers with the same professionalism and expertise. Her customers were her customers from the first time to the last, because of how she treated them. 

She had many other interests. She loved bowling, and was on a league. I never watched her, but I was told she was very good. She loved to read, and to learn. She was self taught, and was very good at spelling, and words. It is not surprising that her other love was cross word puzzles. She did them a lot, and in ink. Her sense of humor was amazing. Many, many times she and I laughed so hard, we couldn't breathe. She always had a witty remark for anyone she talked to. There are many stories, but one that really amazed us was when she was retired, and in her 90s, and we went to get her a walker. She gave her birth date to the clerk for Medicare, and the lady said the only record they could find was a birthday in June. That was our Mom, who had claimed May as her birthday for years. Even more interesting was that when we looked on John's bother's birth certificate, she used the June date. when John was born, she used the May date. When asked why she would get the wrong date, she said," My sister told me I was born when flowers were blooming." She tried her best to get two Birthdays out of it from then on, but we didn't go for that.

The last two years as she aged, and had Alzheimer's we had her in and out of the hospital, then in rehab several times, and eventually in a nursing home. Even through all that, she was full of fun, and as sassy as ever. Her red hair may have faded, and her eyes had dimmed, but she still got people around her to laugh. She had  to have a pacemaker put in when she was 95, and recovery was complicated with her lungs filling with fluid. She was in rehab, and they had to take her by ambulance and there she was intubated and was in ICU for four days. When she was finally able to sit up in the chair,still in ICU, the nurses arrainged blankets around her in the big, leather chair with arms. With blankets on her lap, and pillows behind her head, she was all set. Two of her doctors were in the doorway talking while this went on, and when she saw them, she said, " My royal subjects may enter now!" Everyone cracked up. That was Mary.

After four months in a  nursing home, we knew at 97, she was fading. She could no longer eat, and could no longer walk, and eventually she did not talk. We visited every day, and talked to her, took her around the halls in her wheel chair, and watched her sleep. Yet there was still a slight sparkle in eyes
that could not see, and a slight sassy smile. We knew our dear Mom was not going to be with us long, but John talked to her, and before the last weeks, she talked enough that we knew she knew Jesus as her Savior, and she knew she was going to heaven when she left us. That made it easier, but we still miss her so much. That was two years ago on February 19. She went to Jesus quietly in her sleep. As had become a natural part of her days, she was always cold. The nurses bundled her up in every blanket she owned. That would be about five or six. She was so tiny, bundled in all those blankets. She was loved by so many, that several of her nurses came to her funeral. Our house will always have our Maryisms. Things she always said! We miss her, but we will see her again one day, and if Heaven is a place of joy, she is fitting right in!