Friday, November 1, 2013

In Memorium: Mary Ann Johnson

My mother, Mary Ann Johnson, as a child
My mother really wanted her obituary to be funny. I don't know if I will be able to be as irreverent as she would have liked, but I will do my best to keep it light.

She came from long lived stock, her grandfather was born in 1822, and did not sire her father until 1895 - and he had younger siblings, as well. So, upon her arrival in 1955, she represented just the third generation in 150 years, and I guess somewhere there are odds that suggest that somewhere along the line, someone would end up dying would be just like her to take that fall for herself in order to improve the chances for long, healthy lives for her children and grandchildren.

She leaves behind two devastated but very proud daughters, Kate and Kelly, and three granddaughters, Cadence, Hazel, and Calliope. She also finally beat her older siblings, Peggy and Bill, in a race...though it wasn't one they knew they were running.

She married Scott Stroot in the early 80's, and their journey left her with amazing friends all across the country and throughout the world. Her work as a nurse allowed her to do what brought her the most joy in this life-caring for others.  She delighted in working through her first occurrence of cancer, saying that her own physical torment just made it easier to connect with her patients.

She spent the last year of her life unable to work, but finally able to live for herself.  In her final year, she traveled to Hawaii, swam with wild dolphins, took up yoga, jumped into a great lake, traveled to new places and made amazing new friends. She saw shows and flew in a hot air balloon, she laughed and cried and became a published author.  

She was one of the strongest, most genuinely kind people that have ever walked among us. To paraphrase Don McLean; this world was never meant for one as beautiful as her.

We love you eternally, mom.

My mother in the sun on her final vacation, about a month before her passing.  Thank you to Sandy for this glorious image.