I have some heartbreaking news to share as last October I lost the person closest to my heart and mind, my sweet younger sister, Mary Lorraine. She had honestly been suffering in physical pain for well over the past decade, and it took a devastating turn for the worse a couple years ago.
Here is the reading that I wrote in tribute to Mary for a memorial service that we held for her at her home sweet beautiful home in Floyd, Virginia in April, followed by a memorial slideshow that we made for her. Such a beautiful life, soul and spirit- gone far too soon, but of course she will always live on very close in our hearts and minds..
A Eulogy for Mary Lorraine Predny
Thank you all so much for joining us in celebrating the beautiful life, soul, and spirit of Mary Lorraine Predny.
It is so incredibly special that you all are here with us today as many of you know that even though Mary was a highly introverted wallflower of sorts, she was one of the most exquisite blooms that ever existed.
Of course, I am a little biased since she was my sweet younger sister born a mere year and a half after me, so our hearts, souls and minds were always very much intertwined, but if you are here today, then you got to witness, appreciate, and enjoy Mary’s beauty, brilliance, creativity and many talents at some point in time.
Mary was extremely private and reserved to a majority of those she encountered but to those she trusted and liked enough to let into her guarded life, she was a hidden but cherished treasure with a heart of gold and an incredibly rich mind. Perhaps you knew Mary through one of her many talents- music, dancing, farming, crafting- and you got a glimpse of her brilliant, bright sparkling light that will never fade but will live on in heaven and the stars now for eternity.
I came across the following simple poem in the past month that really resonated with me since it has felt very heartbreaking and so unfair to lose Mary so young.
God saw you getting tired,
when a cure was not meant to be.
So She wrapped her arms around you,
and whispered, “Come to me.”&
You didn’t deserve what you went through,
So She gave you rest.
God’s garden must be beautiful,
She only takes the best.
And when I saw you sleeping,
So peaceful and free from pain,
I could not wish you back
To suffer that again.
Even though it is so tragic to lose the person I felt closest to & one of my favorite human beings of all-time, I have been comforted knowing that she is no longer in pain and that she is not suffering any more as she had honestly been for nearly the past decade.
I would like to read to you from some cards that Mary sent me for my birthday last year as she was worried about me due to my turbulent astrological forecast during that time. They are poems from one of Mary’s favorite poets, Mary Oliver, and I feel they are a perfect reflection of Mary’s true heart and mind.
The first poem is called,
“Hello, Sun in my face”
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories
and the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety-
Best preacher that ever was,
Dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light-
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch now how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
“When I am Among the Trees”
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows, and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out “Stay awhile.”
the light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this,
to go easy, to be
and to shine.”
“The Poet Compares Human Nature to the Ocean From Which We Came”
The sea can do craziness,
it can do smooth,
it can lie down like silk breathing
or toss havoc shoreward;
it can give gifts or withhold all;
it can rise, ebb, froth
like an incoming frenzy of fountains,
or it can sweet-talk entirely.
As I can too,
and so, no doubt, can you,
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clear blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
Next, I would like to read one more Mary Oliver poem from her book Dog Songs.
“How it is with us, and
How it is with them”
We become religious,
then we turn from it,
then we are in need, and maybe we turn back.
We turn to making money,
then we turn to the moral life,
Then we think about money again.
We meet beautiful people, but lose them
in our busyness.
We’re, as the saying goes, all over the place.
Steadfastness, it seems,
is more about dogs than about us.
One of the reasons we love them so much.
I really love and appreciate the line “We meet Wonderful people, but lose them in our Busyness.”
In this day and age of overwhelming technology and information, I believe this really rings true, and it was sadly especially true during the pandemic the past couple years while Mary was really struggling through her back surgeries. I think we all wish we could have given Mary more of our time, attention and love as it is only natural to feel this way. Of course no one is to blame, and I think even if I came here to kidnap her and bring her down near me, which I felt inclined to do, Mary did not want to be reliant on anyone else. She wanted her body to be as free and wild as her soul and spirit.
She is at peace now, and I hope that can comfort all of you as well.
A few days before Mary left us, ironically I sent her a message that said, “They tried to bury me, but they didn’t realize that I was a seed.”, and I wholeheartedly believe that Mary is now not just one seed, but many seeds- in each of us and all the lives that she touched. Let the memory of Mary Lorraine Predny be a seed that blooms in you by living life to your fullest- by playing music, by dancing like no one is watching, by growing your own organic food, by crafting your own creations, by going for a walk in nature and really taking the time to appreciate the flowers, trees and wildlife, by living a simple but beautiful life, by taking the time to send a message or call a loved one, by saying I am sorry, by learning to reflect instead of react, by taking a pause in the busyness of your life to help out and be there for your friends, family and neighbors. Plant seeds in Mary’s memory, not only to grow food and flowers but also to grow love, kindness and compassion in her honor.
Lastly, I’d like to read some thoughts from a note Mary left me just previous to her departure.
“… I believe that we have a soul that continues on after our body is gone, and I will always be looking out for you and sending you love and light. Anytime you need to talk to me, go for a walk in nature and talk to me- and I will wish I could be there with you.”
Even though Mary is not here physically with us today, she is here in spirit and soul, smiling down on all of us, on her chosen ones who truly loved and appreciated all her beauty. We will now watch a slideshow video that we put together of Mary Lorraine’s most beautiful life…
To view the slideshow with audio, see below: