"The Doughnut Queen!"

Mary’s Story: (as told by a very close friend)

I met Mary just 6 months before one of the most tragic times of her life.

There had been difficult times before then. Moving to a new province at a young age and having to make new friends was one. The move ended up being a good thing for her family and settling in to the little village surrounded by lakes.

In her teens she met the man who quickly became the love of her life and it wasn’t long before they began to build a life together. Neither had any idea that the first child they would bring into this world would be what the world at that time branded “retarded”.  After their son was diagnosed as a down-syndrome child life didn’t seem as charmed for this young couple and it was 10 years before they bravely had their next child. It seemed like a miracle when their next 3 sons were born healthy with no signs of any disabilities.

While these blessings called for celebration and overall life was good her husband, like many during that era became best friends with alcohol for more than 20 years. When he drank the loving, caring husband and father’s character changed to the point that on one occasion even his own mother was ready to help her institutionalize him before he hurt Mary or one of the children. It seemed clear she had no choice but to leave him and her home.

Her mother-in-law’s support gave her the strength to make the hard choices she had to make and miraculously her husband got his drinking in check and it seemed safe to come home. Or did it?  As with many families who have lived with an alcoholic trust is hard to come by. Everyone, including the recovering one, feels they are “walking on eggshells” in case it triggers another episode.

Then one morning, just like most every morning, her husband got up to do the farm chores. When he bent over her to kiss her good morning he seemed in a happier state than usual. When he told her he loved her she felt happier too. She dozed off again until it was time for her to get up.

A few hours later their first born who was now a young man, came back from the barn alone. When asked where his father was he said, “Dad is laying down with his gun.” It soon became evident that he had taken his own life.

Everything that happened the rest of that day was surreal and like watching a movie of someone else's life. 

Her mind was filled with questions…disbelief…shame... embarrassment...then anger…relief… acceptance.

She wisely sold the farm and moved into a home in the little village and was empowered by her new found ability  to “take care of herself” and 3 sons still living at home.

 (Continued at right...)


 Mary & I "Laughing" together August 2013

It wasn’t long before all but her down-syndrome son were married and starting families of their own so with time on her hands she began to work outside of the home. She loved to cook and everyone at the University where she worked in the kitchen loved it too.

While in her 60's and with the coaxing from one of her nieces she even rediscovered her joy of dancing socially again. In her mid seventies she took a painting class and became so skilled at it that she was got requests from family and friends.

Her first born has since died and her second son is still recovering from having a stroke that almost took his life. All her siblings are deceased and she is the only one left out of her immediate family.

In her eighties she was diagnosed and the beat cancer that left her with one kidney and bravely endured having more than 20 eye injections for Wet Macular Degeneration. A few years ago she had to give up her driver’s license and is rarely unable to find a lift into Kingston when she needs one because of the special lady she is.

She has always reminded me of the "Ever Ready Battery Bunny" and one of her sons often joked that they could barely keep up with her when walking anywhere.

When I asked her how she got through such an awful experience she told me,  I was very bitter for the first while, embarrassed for myself and my children. Once I moved I began to accept it and to think that it was just the way it was supposed to be."

This month (Nov 2013) Mary turns 93. She was my mother-in-law for over a decade and has been my good friend for 20 plus more. I could not think of a better birthday gift of love than to honour her as a WOW Gal. While I (& everyone who have ever tasted her gifts of homemade doughnuts will miss them when she is no longer of this earth...We will miss her beautiful smile and spirit even more! With her permission, of course :-) 



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