How sad it was to hear today of Mary's death. None of us knew when we saw her at the reception a few weeks ago that we would never see her again. It was clear that she was very weak, but when you have known a person for so long, when that person has always been there, it is not possible to imagine that the time will actually come when she will really be gone. Just Monday we received a letter from her at the gallery with her check for her dues for next year's membership. She said that she would truly be a "non-working" member. Now we know that at the time she sent the money she knew that she would not be around and that it was a last gift from her. She never told us that she was under hospice care.
I am unexpectedly hard hit by this. There have been very few people in my life who were anything like Mary. She was such an old-fashioned "lady" in the best possible way. She was soft-spoken and gentle, never uttering a negative word about anyone. She was always impeccably dressed and groomed. Really, she was like her paintings...perfectly tasteful, graceful, and peacefully beautiful. They ignored anything disturbing and showed an idyllic nature that one felt was the way she really saw things. Her skill was amazing, and she painted right up to the last, when cateracts prevented her from seeing well enough. She loved the gallery and even made it to the meeting last winter when we looked over the new space before we rented it. It was certainly a stroke of lucky forsight that we gave her the reception and show. Her relatives said that it meant a great deal to her and she talked about it many times over the past few weeks.
It is actually painful to think of her being gone. Good-bye, Mary. I'm so glad I knew you.