The day a spouse or a parent dies creates a life marker. When that marker is accompanied by another life marker, they become permanently associated, even when unspoken. There’s just no way around it. We don’t make a thing of it whenever John’s birthday rolls around, though I don’t imagine he gets through the day without remembering his 11th birthday, 20 years ago today. His mom, Margaret-Rose Williams Macy, would have only one more day on earth, but she managed to sing the family birthday song to her young son.
There’s no way around the sadness factor either. Her parents, children, friends, and Mauri all suffered immeasurable loss. Though short—only 41 years—her life was full. Of course I’m not the one to tell the stories; they would nearly all be second hand. I met M-R one time long ago when she and Mauri came to Wheaton, IL, in the mid ’60s. But since we didn’t take a picture of that short connection, my memory of it has faded away, except for the happiness I felt that my friend Mauri had found himself a gem. M-R and I managed to have a friendship of sorts because we exchanged Christmas letters and pictures over the years. So with pictures I remember her here.
Here she is with her brother, Daryl.
Mauri remembers the George Fox College choir tour when this picture was taken. He was totally smitten.
Love and marriage go together…
This is one of those pictures that tells a whole story.
She and Mauri made beautiful music together.
And they took parenting seriously.
On our anniversary, Mauri and I sometimes review the promises we made to each other on our wedding day. One of those promises acknowledges: “We have each learned that life is uncertain, yet knowingly we enter the future with the hope of growing old together….” I recently wrote here about our blendedness and how joyfully we have accepted each other as one family. In conversation we are all at ease with telling and hearing stories from both sides of the family.
Paul and Margaret-Rose are included on the family tree on our mantle…
…and it’s acceptable to post this picture I took of both of my husbands back in 1990!
Pete and Linsey used beautiful long-stemmed roses to decorate the sanctuary at their wedding as a way to include Pete’s mom in the day. I brought some home, dried them, and hung them in our dining room as a subtle remembrance. We all feel their significance as we eat family dinners in that room.
Arthur O. Roberts wrote this poem as a memorial to Mauri’s friend Cyril Carr when he died in 1982:
A tree fell in the forest one spring
toppled by a sudden guest of wind.
A watered, deep-rooted tree it was,
magnificent in symmetry and leaf.
And we wondered why it fell,
instead of others more weathered.
Lord, how could, or should, this be?
And we grieved at the brokenness
in the forest after its fall . . .
The rains came, then, winter and spring,
winter and spring, early and late.
We returned one day to remember
the place where the tree had fallen;
And behold, young trees flourished,
all green of leaf and growing
in the sun-blessed forest soil.