The garden has grown silent due to the passing of my beloved friend and neighbor into the loving embrace of God’s gentle kindness and an eternity of peaceful rest for MaryAnn.
My children played and learned from MaryAnn in her garden. She would find small animals and take care of them. She would put out books that told about the animals so my children could learn more about them. Jake, my littlest said “She always let us feed the fish.” They would run down her brick path and hide in her tulips from one another. Each time we entered we would find a new treasure. I said to her so many times “MaryAnn, how do you do this? This is the most beautiful oasis.” Her reply was the same each time “Oh, I just do a little here and a little there. I don’t do it all at once.” She always stopped what she was doing to visit with us. If my children hit anything too hard and I disciplined them she would always say to me, “Lori, there is nothing they can hurt. It is fine.” She was so kind and gentle with my children. All the children wanted to visit the garden. I brought the first graders over from our school 2 different years to tour her garden and show them all the beauty there.
MaryAnn was a role model to me. We would just stand and chat about life, yoga, faith, family and times gone by. We were kindred souls. She understood me and encouraged me when I started writing. In fact one of my first blogs ever was about her garden. I printed it and gave it to her and I know that she treasured it. She inspired my writing and my retreats. A picture from her garden is on the front of each program from my Faith Filled Mom Retreat. She let me use the chairs from her garden on my retreats. She said anything you want you can have. She was precious to me filled with wisdom and the energy of the Holy Spirit. She cared for her family and talked often of her grandchildren. More than anything she was just accepting and loving. She loved my children and they loved her. This summer when I found out about her cancer I compiled about 30 of the reflections I wrote about her garden along with a heartfelt letter to her. I had them bound as a book and brought it to her. She was thinner and weaker when I visited but she was still MaryAnn. She appreciated the gesture and gave me a hug. I told her I would be praying for her and left. That was the last time I saw MaryAnn.
I will miss her each and every time I pass that garden which is several times daily. I will remember her voice as she would say, “Going to get the kids Lori? Stop by on your way back.” Now the garden is silent and my heart is breaking but I know that the way she welcomed us and loved us is the way God loves her now in his garden. May God grant her the peace, love and tranquility that her garden brought to so many others. May she rest in eternal peace and the loving embrace of God. MaryAnn you were so loved and you will be missed by so many. Thank you for being a part of my life and the lives of each of my children. The gifts you gave us will grow for generations. I love you.