And the sadness continues…
I walked into my local butcher shop yesterday and learned that Mary, the woman who had taken care of our father in the last years of his life, had died.
I knew that Mary was being treated for diabetes and that she had just recently moved into a neighborhood nursing home, but her passing still comes as a shock.
Mary was a Brooklyn original, a tough Irish dame, who came into our home after our father’s mental condition had begun to deteriorate and made order out of one big heaping pile of chaos.
She was a great cook—I can personally attest to this—as well as being efficient and extremely well organized.
But Mary was far more than an employee—she was a friend.
I remember when she first came over to our house. She was a smoker, but she promised she would always step outside before lighting up.
“I’m sure you will,” I said, “but we want you around for as long as possible.”
And we still do. I always felt such relief when Mary would call me at work each morning and say the words “I’m here.”
That told me I had nothing to worry about, that our father would get his meals, his medication, his rest, and some companionship.
Mary had her work cut off for her because, to be brutally honest, my father was a tough customer.
I had a confrontation with the old man one time that was so bad I had to call Mary to come over to the house before I throttled him. And she showed up just a short time later.
Mary had a salty mouth, but I loved how she always prefaced her comments with the phrase “excuse my language” before launching into an f-bomb assault upon some person or organization that had pissed her off.
She became a grandmother while she was working for us, and my sister and I had the pleasure of visiting her home to meet her family.
Every now and then I would see her in the neighborhood and I’d call her occasionally, but we gradually lost contact.
All I can do now is say thanks, Mary, thanks for being there when we needed you so badly. You took such good care of our father, now let the Father of us all take good care of you.