Monday, June 22, 2015


This was the fabulous Aunt Mary. We traveled to Kansas to honor her last weekend after she died recently. These photos tell more about her than words ever can.

Mary at age 26 with Toto

Love everything about this photo!!! Mary (in the basket) with her siblings, Bill, Rowena and Bob (I think the boy in dungarees was a neighbour friend)

Mary's children Janelle and Brent and one of her four grandchildren, Grady, at the Celebration of Life.

Friends and family and work colleagues stood up and said what Mary had meant to them. Kindness, acceptance, and tolerance: a reluctance to criticise or judge, an ability to make others feel good about themselves.  Another word came up in describing Mary: Character.

Our bookclub just read The Road to Character by David Brooks, the premise being that we should work harder to rebalance the scales between our “résumé virtues”—achieving wealth, fame, and status—and our “eulogy virtues,” kindness, bravery, honesty, faithfulness, focusing on what kind of relationships we have formed.

(By the way, our bookclub was undecided on who embodies Character in our times. Who would you nominate?)

When Kevin tried to call his father after Mary died, his father could not stay on the line as he was crying so much. He was heartbroken. Though Mary was 71, she never stopped being his little sister and he never stopped wanting to protect her from harm. In the end he couldn't do that.

What will be your "eulogy virtues" ...what will people will say about you? What do you hope to be remembered for?


  1. So happy to hear that your family traveled to honor your Aunt Mary. I find that type of ceremony so necessary that needn't happen directly after death.
    I had to impose a memorial dinner to for my paternal grandparents as my father and uncles were perhaps a little guilt ridden having been so absent during the last painful years but there were no recriminations but lots of laughter and remembrances of the good times (as they each would have preferred) and the better angels of everybody's nature shined through and made for a lovely final tribute.

    My maternal grandparents who I posted on during Mother's Day week were the embodiment of those eulogy virtues.

    My best friend, The Good Doctor, gets very high marks as well.

  2. I love this post. I hopeful that character is making a comeback. It sometimes feels as though it's sadly overlooked. Aunt Mary sounds like a wonderful woman.

  3. What a great post!!! I think mine will say: she had faults, but she loved with abandon....

  4. I'm sure mine will say (in a nice way) She had a big mouth but she tried to put it to good use! LOL

  5. Oh I am heartbroken for Kevin's dad. I find this so touching. I know my sister still wants to protect me. Going to go cry a bit now. Much love.

  6. I'm reading that book right now Jody and loving it. Feeling sad though that developing character seems to take a backseat these days to those resume virtues. People these days are so quick to form judgements and have disdain for those not clawing for status.
    At the end of the day kindness and loyalty are everything. It sounds like Mary embodied those virtues perfectly. She was a treasure and the event held in her honour sounds wonderful.
    I hope to be remembered for being a good mother and wife, and a loyal friend. Also for giving fun dinner parties. XO

  7. Oakland, the Bay Area, San Francisco ... all very much in the news here in Ireland right now following the awful, dreadful tragic death of six young students in Berkeley. But you know, what is being talked about here, is the immense compassion and sympathy of the local American people, the outpouring of help, of kindness, of love. So I think that 'character' is still very much in evidence in our tiime, or at least it comes to the fore at times of need.

  8. SO SORRY..............why is it the GOOD ONES go first!
    ME.............remembered for?THAT is a tuff one...............
    It depends on who is saying what about me but I do adore animals more then people!!If I were saying it I would say I wish I laughed for thought here.I of course would LOVE To hear what anyone has to say about me!

  9. I love this post and Mary's hair looks 11/10 in that 1st snap.

    I am going to think about this virtue thing. I'd think I' like to be remembered as a good and loyal friend and a devoted mother. Who was enthusiastic and made people laugh.

    Such a wonderful post xxxxx

  10. Oh Jody, I'm so sorry for your loss. 71 feels so young these days, doesn't it? It sounds like Mary lived a wonderful life-and deeply touched others with her virtues- as she lived it. Thanks for sharing her story-inspiring!
    xx, Heather

  11. Character in France seems to be confused with having a big mouth. The gobbier you are, the more the media loves you.

  12. Mary seem to be much loved. Who could ask for more? Too young to die.
    Having grown up - so to speak - with HM she has shewn character enough for 20 and rarely put a foot wrong IMO.
    Can't think of any eulogy virtues for me but as long as there is loads of laughter I'll be happy.

  13. She must have been a lovely person she touched so many. She was young still. She sounds like my mother who always left everyone feeling special. Certain people have that gift. Character is those who give others the credit, attention, etc and aren't worried about themselves. I'd like to read that book. xo

  14. Goodness me what a lovely post - I have no idea how I found your blog but ya that I did ! Character ? I was hoping we might see a resurgence in the sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird.. Atticus Finch has plenty in my view.

    Aunt Mary looks quite fabulous...

  15. I have decided instead of leaving my book' 'An Imperfect Life' mouldering in the attic to post it on my blog - a chapter at a time. Chapter 1 is there and I wold much appreciate your having a read.


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