Be love


This is Mary.

Mary Be Love











You might know her from various things I’ve written, including this post.  I keep on writing about her because I want everyone who didn’t know her in life to know her anyway.  She was that kind of person.

Mary died two years ago today.  There’s nothing good in that sentence; it’s awful that she died, and it’s awful that it has already been two years, because I don’t want time to dull my memories of her.  Maybe that’s another reason why I keep writing about her: it’s my own way of keeping her alive, or trying to.

Earlier this year, Mary’s sister sent me the picture above.  It was taken just a few months before Mary’s death, and I loved it instantly.  See that sweatshirt?  If it’s hard to read, here’s what it says:



If you had to sum up Mary in two sentences, you can’t do better than these.  Mary never tried to hide her gratitude for the people in her life.  It was right out there, in her huge hugs and her enthusiastic greetings and her love of spending time with friends in any setting.  She always let you know how much you meant to her.   I think her cancer made that even more of a priority.

And if you had to choose any symbol for Mary, it would be a big huge heart, probably one with an open door in it.  Mary’s strength was not just that she loved, but that she loved enough to share others’ pain.  In tough times, she was always the person who would “get it,” even if it was an “it” (like my ectopic pregnancy) that she’d never experienced herself.  I think it’s a gift, that kind of compassion.  It may be a double-edged sword for the person who has it, because it makes them vulnerable, too … but oh, I was blessed so much over the years by Mary’s presence in hard times.

So I guess if I had to say one thing about her today, two years after the day we all lost her, I would take that message on her sweatshirt and think about all the ways that Mary would want us to be love:

Be love to children.  Be love to the poor.  Be love to the elderly.  Be love to those going through hard times. Be love to the immigrants.   Be love to the marginalized.  Be love to those who are searching for belief.  Be love to those suffering from infertility, addiction, depression, loneliness, cancer.  Be love to everyone.  Be love.

Her sweatshirt said it well, but her life said it best.


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