Sunday, August 5, 2012

Remembering Mae

From 2002 - 2008 I went to a little church and met a lovely lady in her 80s named Mae.  She couldn't hear very well nor see very well but she LOVED my babies!  Vienna and Lance were born while we attended that church and Mae would always come over to say hello and wiggle their legs as I held them.  She was so very friendly and not at all awkward to be around even though communication was limited.
In 2010, two years after leaving that church, I saw Mae at a baby shower.  My Colin was with me and Mae held him.  She enjoyed it so much that I received this lovely letter from her son:

Oct.17, 2010.
Dear Mary,

My name is Bill, and I'm Mae's son/secretary. This note is primarily from me to you about yours/ and her, day. You cannot know how you made her day so wonderful by letting her hold your little boy! She has not stopped talking about it since they left there to come home. It is now 10:15 PM, and she is talking of him on her way off to bed.

She doesn't feel well enough as a rule to get up early to attend church with Dad, but she said to Kathi, that if you still attended Wells Spring, she would get up and go anyway, just to see him, and enjoy what an obviously great mom you are, with each of your kids.

So that is my story, and I'm sticking to it. Thanks again from all of us here, for your friendship to be sure, and also for your encouragement today with your welcome, and fellowship, in spite of how difficult it can be to communicate with her. She loved being there and seeing you all.

Good night, many blessings from our home to yours,

Bill Carlson

I can not tell you how much that letter meant to me!  It was so nice to know that Colin brought that much happiness to her day!  
Now fast forward one year later, last year, November 2011.  It was a week before Thanksgiving and we learned that Jay's family, who lives 1 hour away would be unavailable for dinner.  (His brother and wife went to Canada.  His Mom had to work.)  I got a random phone call from Kathi, Mae's daughter-in-law who invited us to join them for Thanksgiving.  She said she asked Mae who she'd like to invite and she thought of us!?  How random!  I hadn't seen nor spoken to Mae in over a year!  I hadn't met Kathi or her husband before but we had no other plans so off we went!  

We had a lovely dinner.  In fact THE BEST Thanksgiving I ever had.  The food was amazing, so much so, that I now have Kathi's recipe for turkey marinade and have used it twice - AH-MAAAZ-ZING!  And the fellowship was comfortable although we just met.; it was like we knew them for years.  We knew Mae's husband Charlie from church of course, but just met Bill & Kathi and another family friend there.  All five of them were personable and warm and pure joy to be around.  Mae's hearing had deteriorated more since we saw her last so we communicated by writing large letters on a dry erase board.  Even so, it was comfortable, because she made it comfortable.  She displayed much patience and a sense of humor.  They really blessed us that evening.

Here is Jay waiting in line for the food.  Mae is in the white sweatshirt.  This is my only photo of the evening aside from pictures of the kids!

At Christmas time, Kathi called me to say that Mae had something for me.  The girls came over with a poinsettia plant.  Mae made me feel so.loved.  She remembered little ole me two holidays in a row!  

Mae passed away on July 28th.  I went to her memorial service on Aug.2nd so I could hear more about her life.  So many people got up and shared stories of how she served God and loved people.  Many stories were decades old but I this post because I wanted the family to know that she kept on giving in her own way, even with her world so seemingly small.  I was blessed on what would have been an otherwise lonely holiday.

Her memorial service was AMAZING!  People were smiling and laughing and sharing stories.  There was an air of celebration, not of death and mourning.  All three of her kids spoke, a grandson and friends.  Her life and legacy inspires me to live better.  To serve God with a joyful heart like her.  To parent with more patience. To live life full of laughter.  (And be better about hosting people in my home!)

Rick Clifford led the service and he said we were there to celebrate a life well lived.  The secret to her life was that she lived it for Jesus.  I heard story after story to testify to this fact and was happy I had the chance to meet such a lady.

A life well lived indeed!

Here's her obituary that was in the local paper... check out what to do in lieu of flowers... I love the Carlson family!

Mary Anna "Mae" Carlson

Waterford - Mary "Mae" Anna Carlson passed peacefully into the arms of the Lord on July 28, 2012, three days after her 90th birthday. 

Mae was born in Jersey City, N.J., on July 25, 1922, a daughter of the late Harry P. and Mary A. (Dickson) Brothwell.

On April 25, 1943, in Waterford, she married Charles E. Carlson, who survives her.

She was a resident of the area since that time. Mae was employed by the former Hartford National Bank, leaving that position to become a full time mom. Her children will always remember her as a kind mom, full of mercy and unconditional love. She was active in the Groton Bible Chapel with her husband and family for many years.

Also surviving Mae are her son, Bill Carlson of Preston and his wife, Kathi; daughters, Dawn Linton of Williamsburg, Va., and her husband, Steve, Linda Wray of Gales Ferry and her husband, Jim; two sisters, Mabel Campbell of Ledyard and Carole Polony of New Hampshire. Mae also leaves her adored grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom she loved and prayed for every day; and numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews. 

A memorial service will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 2, at Grace Fellowship, 102 Route 184, North Stonington.

Mae was a beautiful woman inside and out and was loved by so many. Although she will be greatly missed, we know she is in a better place.

In lieu of donations, please take the opportunity to spend some time with your own mother if you can.


Jessica @ This Blessed Life said...

Oh my goodness! Last line brought tears to my eyes!

Ina said...

thank you for this very nice story about Mae Carlson. I am trying to get in touch with Bill and Kathi Carlson. Bill's grandmother Ethel (Miller) Carlson was a friend of my grandmother's, I am partly named after her and trying to find out more about her. Could you let them know I am trying to reach them? Ina Ethel Amirault, 19 Stratford Drive, Dartmouth, NS. Canada, B2V 2M8