Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tribute to a great matriarch

Today was Sister Mary Harman's funeral. She's been battling lymphomic cancer for 8 years now. This is nothing short of a miracle considering.

When she was diagnosed eight years ago it was a shock to the family as well as those around her. At that time she was in her early 50's. She and her husband Lary, who was the Stake President, were just becoming empty nesters. To the best of my recollection, only one of their five children was married. So, the news was very grim and the chances of Mary being able to see all of her grandchildren was slim, much less meeting all of the spouses of her children.

With her strength and determination, along with her faith and many prayers, she held on much longer than most that are diagnosed with a similar illness. She was able to see all of her children marry, and see the majority of her grandchildren. I'm sure there may be a few more grandchildren born, but their grandmother Mary will surely give them warm smile, a hug, a kiss, and nice shout of support as they pass each other by through the veil.

I consider Mary as one of the great martriarchs of the ward. She really set a standard of excellence when it came to attitude, service, and faith. Mary had a wonderful sense of humor, and was so much fun to be around.

I myself had a special deal that I made with Mary a couple of years ago when I started my Liberty Tax business. I told Mary I wanted her to get better and come be a waver for me at the office. She had such a wonderful attitude, and a great smile, that I knew she'd easily be on of the best.

I asked her how much I'd have to give her to get out there to wave. She said I couldn't pay her enough to do it. Being the business person that I am, most anything has a price, so I started negotiating. I said:

"How bout a hundred dollars?"

Mary: "No way."

Me: "What about $500?"

Mary: "Nah, I still don't think so."

Me: "Ok, when I can afford it, I'll give you $1,000 to wave. Would you do it for a thousand?"

Mary: "Yea, I'd probably wave for a thousand dollars."

Me: "So, how much time would that thousand dollars get you to wave for?"

Mary: "I don't know, about 15 minutes."

Me: "Geez! That's FOUR THOUSAND dollars an HOUR! I'll have to be really rich! And you'll really have to be one heck of a waver"

She would have been worth every penny.

I wanted so badly to get Mary out to wave with me. Unfortunately, I'm too late and I didn't get rich quickly enough. I think now the next best thing I can do is set up a charity in her name for cancer and start with a $1,000 donation.

It's been an emotionally draining day. Mary was such an incredibly sweet woman. I truly am dissappointed I didn't get to wave with Mary. We would have had so much fun. I'm going to miss her so very much.

There weren't any newspapers, or t.v. crews reporting about the funeral today. But there were probably nearly a thousand people there today filling up the chapel as if it were stake conference. That's probably only a small percentage of the lives she touched. I revere a mother such as Mary in the highest regard. We make such a big deal out of the deaths of famous people such as movie stars or politicians, but the work that Mary did in this life was the most important of all labors as dedicated mother, wife, and friend.

Mary will be missed by so many here, and yet, she's surely being welcomed by so many there.

God Speed.


Alice Wills Gold said...

Thanks for helping me cry today! I don't even know this woman, but I am crying...she must have been a great lady.

crashomatic said...

Words certainly don't do justice to describe this great woman.

Imagine Grandma Gold in her late fifties and you get Mary Harman.

Mary and her husband were converts to the church soon after moving to Waynesboro. They've raised an incredible family and the seeds that her and her husband have planted will be deeply rooted in the gospel for many generations to come.

Alice Faye said...

I met Mary and it didn't take long to see what kind of a person she was. I am sad to hear of her passing. I know it has been a long hard road for her and her family. I'm just glad she got to have the extra years that she did to be with her family here.