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Daily Photo: Loving Mary Forever

The sun shows up every morning, no matter how bad you’ve been the night before. It shines without judgment. It never withholds. It warms the sinners, the saints, the druggies, the cheerleaders – the saved and the heathens alike.”
― Glennon Doyle Melton, Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life

Source: Loving Mary Forever / David, Jeni, Mary

“I remember these days above when dad would come visit us in San Antonio and we would go to Motel 6 (aka: the Siesta) for the weekend…. those days were short but so so sweet. We treasured those moments we got with our dad. Oh how we missed him when he wasn’t there,” wrote Jeni in her adoring and tenderhearted blog Loving Mary Forever.

Jeni started the blog following the tragic death of her younger sister Mary. Born in 1972, Mary was a beautiful, vivacious young woman. In the 1990s, she cheered for Howard Payne University and earned a degree in education. Eventually, she became a teacher, a wife, and a mother. But, before she was any of those things she was a sister and not just any sister. In this Cain-and-Abel, Rachel-and-Leah world fraught with family strife, she was that rare, adoring sister who considered her big sister Jeni her best friend.

1980s izod shirts

Jeni and Mary in the best photo of girls wearing vintage 1980s Izod (Lacoste) shirts I’ve ever seen. Just beautiful, like them. Source: Loving Mary Forever

Sadly, in midlife, the dark, swirling clouds of drugs enveloped Mary. Like a lion, they prowled the sweetest prey and she became addicted. And then a Texas judge handed down a cruel and biased sentence. It was too much for Mary and it devoured her fragile, earthly body. On a spring day in 2008, she took her own life.

Beautiful, beautiful Mary, gone. We know now, drug court would probably have saved her.

Loving Mary Forever

Loving Mary

The following are excerpts from a letter sister Jeni wrote to the judge in the case.

I’m sure you know that my sister…took her life…She had some demons she was dealing with. You did not help her with your mandate to jail..Mary did not have any sort of record. She was a teacher, a mother, an inspiration to all who came in contact with her. I hope you learn about the disease of addiction. It is not pretty. It is not prejudice, it gets the best of us. Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers…Mary’s was a late progression. There was hope, she was going to get better

I just wanted you to know that I have forgiven you for not stepping down from my sisters case when you should have. Because of your close relationship with her in-laws, there was serious conflict of interest. You treated Mary as if she was a hardened repeat offender… She didn’t have a chance with you as her judge. No Mercy…I pray for you and hope you learn the difference between someone who is sick and someone who is bad.

I don’t blame you for Mary’s death, but I do acknowledge the wrongful sentence you chose for a sweet soul that needed help, not shackles. She made a couple bad choices but you broke her. She’s at peace now…”

Vintage Big Wheel

Mary on a vintage Big Wheel, the 1970s. Pictured here with her older sister Jeni who writes the blog Loving Mary Forever. Everyone should have such a sweet sister.

Throughout her blog, Jeni has recorded signs — feathers, cardinals, orbs, and more — pointing to Mary’s ongoing love and presence in her life. Above all, she has recorded their love. It was a faithful lamp that caressed the blinding fog of life. It streamed across the moonless ocean of this busted, broken world and shined even as Mary died.

When her pain is fresh and new, let her have it. Don’t try to take it away. Forgive yourself for not having that power. Grief and pain are like joy and peace; they are not things we should try to snatch from each other. They’re sacred. they are part of each person’s journey. All we can do is offer relief from this fear: I am all alone. That’s the one fear you can alleviate.”
― Glennon Doyle Melton, Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life
Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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1 Comment

  1. jeni

    What a blessing you are ~ thank you for sharing your beautiful words describing my love for my sister and the Journey she has me on since she has been gone (from this earth)….


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