Death comes in threes, they say.
And the third? For me, the third was not a celebrity.
My old friend and high-school classmate, Mary Barnard, died this evening of breast cancer. She had been fighting the disease for years, but just lately, within the last few months, it became clear that her stay here on the physical was drawing to a close. She was admitted to hospice yesterday, and this evening she was admitted to eternity.
I'll always think of her as Beanie, her nickname in school.
Mary was one of the absolute funnest (yes, it so a word) people I ever knew. She sat behind me in Geometry class in high school, and she made that class an experience. We had small, freestanding desks with separate chairs. Over the course of one class, Mary hooked her feet around the legs of my chair and pulled it back ever so slightly. Rather than call attention to myself, I just pulled my desk back. Beanie pulled my chair; I pulled my desk. Beanie slid her chair and desk back a little. The girl in back of her slid back to keep the space even. This went over the course of the class until there was a huge gap between me and the girl in front of me.
Honest; it was hilarious.
But behind the fun and the pranks and the goofiness was a truly beautiful spirit. For most of her career, Mary was a hospice nurse. She helped people ease out of this life and into the next. She was deeply spiritual and kind. At one of our high-school pals dinners, I was describing this really fun game called Angry Birds. Mary's response? "The poor pigs!"
I'll miss her a lot. A whole lot. The world is emptier without her, but I am so much richer for having known her.