Mary and Peace

Mary outdoors At 8:15 am on Sept 23 (2013), in Syracuse, NY, Mary died.
  • Throughout her life, Mary sought and brought peace. When any of her five children squabbled with each other, she helped sort it out and restore peace. When she and her husband disagreed, she worked it through and maintained peace in the home. At church and elsewhere in the community, she brought peace through the music she played on the organ or piano.
  • The last five of Mary’s 97 years incorporated an ever-tougher battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD. If you’ve seen COPD, you know it progressively takes away the ability to breathe. It’s not peaceful.
  • COPD and its consequences took Mary several times to the hospital. That was never peaceful.
  • For many weeks during Mary’s last months she fought to get stronger in a local nursing and rehab facility. That was exhausting and never peaceful.
  • It became clear to Mary and her family that the fight to get stronger was, in fact, making Mary weaker. It became clear to Mary and her family that going back home was not a reasonable choice. It became clear to Mary and her family that Mary was dying.
So Mary asked to go to the home in her city that is dedicated to care of those who are dying.
  • Mary arrived there with great joy and even great good humor.
  • The next 10 days were filled with visits from and talks with family and friends, reminiscing, sharing thoughts about life, saying goodbye.
  • And with care and comfort needs lovingly handled by the visiting hospice team and by the home’s staff and volunteers — those 10 days were filled with peace for Mary and her family.

Mary was my Mom.

  • And that end-of-life care home in Syracuse, NY, is called Francis House. Mary took me to Francis House a dozen years earlier when Mary and our family were providing end-of-life care at home for my Dad.
  • Francis House and its marvelous work and the peace it brings to its dying residents and their loved ones, are the primary model for Caring House.
  • What my Mom and our family experienced — in a home away from her home — this is what I want to be available to you, to your family, to your mom, to your dad, to those you love and who love you.

Caring House will bring to the South Bay its own place for compassion and care, for peace, at the end of life. When I work to help make that happen, I dedicate my work to Mary. And it brings me peace.

Shared by Ed Long, Caring House volunteer and president

Mary and family 1955

Mary (middle) and family in 1955