Remembering Mary on Valentine’s Day

A poinsettia
White
On a square table
In the dining room.
A purple silk orchid
On a round ottoman
In the sitting room.
An arrangement
In the office.
An arrangement
In the bedroom.
An arrangement
On the round kitchen table.
A table of grace.
A world
Round, of grace.
This first morning
Of the New Year
An early morning
walk with my dog.
Coffee with Susan.
Listening
Mozart on the radio.
Carrot, celery, onion
Simmering in butter
For today’s bread
Stuffing and Cornish Hens.
Thank You God.
A plant
With no name
In the living room.
Cleaning house today
At Susan’s Mom’s
We find a sealed envelope.
You open it, Bruce.
Inside a card of congratulations
On our Wedding and a check.
Married we were on December Sixth
And Mary passed away
In Susan’s arms on the Eleventh.
All these plants gifts
Of condolences.

Living Room Plant

At the funeral I said:

I am Bruce Barone. Husband of Susan McCarthy. Daughter of Mary McCarthy. People say a picture is worth one thousand words. Or every picture tells a story. The memory boards on display here today are pictured with many beautiful and inspiring stories. From Mary holding a baby in her lap to her picking strawberries with a niece. From Mary enjoying a summer picnic with family to Mary playing with a dog. From Mary celebrating a niece’s graduation to her enjoying a ballgame with her daughter-in-law.

The last words Mary said to me on Thursday night after I said good bye and asked her to get a good night’s sleep were “Where’s Freddy?” How typical of Mary. Freddy is our dog and Susan brought him to visit with Mary almost every day. Where’s Freddy? Mary always expressing concern, interest, love. Where’s Freddy? Where’s Susan? Where’s Danny? Where’s Jimmy. Where’s Eleanor. And on and on.

Reading an excerpt from the obituary which Susan wrote. Important it is to read aloud the names.

Her grandchildren and great grandchildren were the light of her life: Karen McCarthy and her husband Scott Broderick and their daughter Nina; Kate McCarthy Roy and her husband Chris Roy and their children, Lauren and Owen; and Daniel McCarthy and his wife Andrea and their sons, Dovovan, Griffin and Cullen. Her step grandchildren David and Erica Shlosser and their sons, Colin and Gavin; Danielle and Mike Suprenant and their daughter, Emily. And Daryl Barone and his girlfriend Julia Mae.

And Mary would ask me. Is your son Daryl and Julia happy in Denver? How’s your daughter’s baby Emily? And on and on. Always asking.

She leaves her sister, Helen Singman of Exeter, RI; her brother Raymond Germano and his wife Irene of West Springfield; and her sister Anna Camossi and her husband Bart of West Springfield. Her brother Benny and her sister Lena are deceased. She leaves her sister in law Dorothy Lease of Peru, Indiana.

She leaves many nieces and nephews; friends and neighbors from the Tatham section of West Springfield and elsewhere. Special friends are Theresa Fanelli, Angi Parelli, Peggy Sullivan, and her friends from the Kneedlers group at Grace Luthern Church.

Like a character out of a Dicken’s novel, Mary survived what some might consider a harsh childhood, emerging a confident young woman—marrying and raising children. Although she was employed most of her life, her priority was her home, husband, and children. Not particularly religious, she had her own brand of charity and friendship that she spread generously. Not formally educated beyond secondary school, she had high emotional intelligence~she was a people person, overlooked their faults, and gave lovingly. That was her gift. As Jesus teaches us—The Greatest Gift.

She loved cooking and baking and taking care of her home. She enjoyed crocheting afghans for her family. She read the newspaper every day, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times at our home on Sundays where she enjoyed dinner every week for the past four years, ever since her husband, Joe passed. She watched the stock market and kept up on current affairs and had a keen sense of judgment about right and wrong. She absolutely hated Comcast Cable for their poor offerings and high prices. She enjoyed a glass of red wine or brandy with good company.

A few weeks ago, maybe weeks before Thanksgiving if not earlier, she asked Susan and I if we said grace at dinner. We do. And Mary asked if we could say grace at our Sunday supper. And we did. And grace begins saying, “Dear Lord, Thank You for these gifts.”

And today, we say Dear Lord Thank You for the gift of Mary. And thank you for the greatest gift which is love. And let Mary’s gift of love be an inspiration to each and every one of us. Let the pictures continue to preserve our memories, our stories. (I’ll let others share the funny stories and there are dozens.) Let our stories about Mary be told again and again which will give light and length to her legacy—The gift of Mary and her gift—her love for friends and family.

And now this, a photograph of Susan and her Mom from a month ago:

Susan and Mary