Mary Pendleton passed away on March 27, 2008. When Mary’s son Key called to tell me that his mother had passed, there was much sadness in our home that night. We all love her very much. We will miss her terribly. There were a great many tears shed throughout the night. But a rush of memories came back that brought smiles, too.
We have known and lived next door to Mary for nearly 22 years. Our youngest daughter, Jessica, adopted Mary and Bill (her husband) as her grandparents, and they adopted her too. Sadly, Bill passed away about a year after we moved into our home. But Jessica still had Mary, and spent many, many hours in Mary’s yard and house. Mary has been a good friend and good neighbor.
She was truly one of the kindest and gentlest people I have ever known. I do not recall her ever saying a harsh word against anyone. If you had something happy to share, she was happy with you. If it was something sad you needed to share, she sympathized with you. If you just needed company and someone to talk to, she offered coffee and kindness and companionship. She asked for very little but gave us all so very much. She had a great down to earth sense of humor, and a subtle dry wit that often made you smile. Through the years there were many smiles.
She loved working in her yard. I associate many smiles with seeing her there. As a child, my daughter would often be in Mary’s yard. I would look over there to see the two of them sitting side by side, and Jessica would be jabbering away non-stop, in the way that 4 or 5 years olds do. There was Mary, sitting and listening intently and nodding. Her full attention on whatever Jessica was saying and I would smile at Mary’s patience and kindness. Countless times I would see Mary in her yard picking up twigs, planting flowers or pulling weeds. She loved to do that and always looked so content doing it.
I marveled at the joy she got from that. I would watch her for awhile and I would smile. Far back in my yard there are 2 very tall very old pine trees. Mary loved those trees. I would see her back there just standing still, deep in thought and looking up at those tired old pines. I asked her once why she went back there. She said it was her own little peaceful space where she could think and remember.
After Bill died, she was back there quite often, and said it was where she felt close to Bill. I think I am going to plant a new pine tree back there this spring, and when I want to feel close to Mary I will go back there and stand quietly by that new pine. I will think of her and remember…and smile. Perhaps on the walk back to the house I will glance across the fence to Mary’s yard and catch a quick glimpse of her…picking up a twig…pulling a weed…planting a flower.
For a second our eyes might meet…and we will both smile.
Farewell my good friend. I am sure heaven has a wonderful yard just for you…with twigs to pick up…flowers to plant and yes…even in heaven…some weeds for you to pull.
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