Mary was born in 1917. She was a fragile child, being born almost killed her. At 8 she came close to dying again, even a bursting appendix did not kill her. She barely made it – but she made it.

She grew into a true beauty, petite and with wide eyes.

At twenty-something she met a wonderful man. They fell in love. They got married and bought the cutest little house. Soon, she was expecting their first child. A son. Giving birth almost killed her and she was very weak. She went to her husband’s cousin to recreate. He was doctor, who had a big house – with five rooms en suite – in the country side. Gardener, chauffeur, maid, chef – and the fresh air would do her good too.

They fell in love. She divorced her first husband and married the Doctor. He adopted her son. Soon, she was expecting again. She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She had dimples and curls.

And so, the years went on. They enjoyed life, privileged as they were. She was a princess. They enjoyed the company of good friends, particularly the Professor. He had a wonderful sense of humour and a sharp wit. He had been friends with the Doctor since they were both young. The Gentlemen sat in the Doctor’s library and conversed about matters of the world, while smoking Cuban cigars with the Doctor’s personified bands on them.

Yes, the years went on. The kids left home. Established their own families. The Professor’s wife died. The Doctor retired. They sold the big house in the country and bought a handsome apartment in the City.

After a long and loving life together, more than 30 years of marriage, the Doctor died. Mary almost died with him. She grieved. And had cancer. Had a double mastectomy and was very weak.

Then the Professor started visiting. Regularly. Soon, he came by every day. One day, he brought his slippers – and didn’t take them with him when he left again. And he would bring her a long stemmed, red rose. Every day. His wit was a delight. She slowly perked up a bit. Then a bit more. And soon, he proposed. He was 77. She was in her sixties. They got married at City Hall.

Silly, really – she so weak, them both so old.

Still, they moved into a comfortable apartment. She got better. They took a trip to the Mediterranean. Talked about the old days, his wife, her husbands. They saw her children and the grandchildren. Went to the library. Ate lox on french bread. Shared a beer for lunch, which she served – always with a fresh tablecloth, candles and napkins.

The Professor was hard of hearing, his spine had colapsed in several places but his wits were still immaculate. Then a shin sore went gangrene. They had to amputate and he never recovered from the anesthesia. With Mary, his friend of 60-odd years and wife of 18 years by his side, he died on his 95th birthday.

Two years later, she followed suit, her herself held in the hand by her still curly-haired daughter. Two days earlier, she had just met her newborn 6rd great-grandchild – my son.

Mary is buried between the Doctor and the Professor. Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren visit their grave often and talk about the amazing story of the life and loves of Mary.

The lesson? While there is life, there is hope.


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