In Memory Of Mary Trainor–And With Deep Appreciation


This evening as I walked out of our driveway, onto the sidewalk, I saw a woman standing and staring up at our home.  I greeted her, and at once she asked if I knew the previous owner, Henry Dudek. I told the story of how I had met the man while we both worked in state government.   James came out and the conversation widened to how Henry’s kindness in willing us the home had made for what we call ‘the gift of time’.   The woman had known Henry for years, having lived for a time in the immediate area.

As the conversation moved along the name of Mary Trainor, a woman who owned a home on our street, came up.  I mentioned what a powerful impact she had on my life following the passing of my mom.   It was then this woman told us that Trainor had died in 2016.  I was stunned.

There are people who find their way into our life for a reason.  In 2007 I most needed a therapist to talk to, and so a friend passed the name of Mary to me, recommending that I call.  From the first minutes in her comfortable office and sitting area we started a conversation.  I recall over the months I often asked Mary how the process worked in allowing me to find my way through the storm.  She knew I was a curious type guy about lots of things, and so would pull me back to the work at hand—my talking and her posing thoughts and views.   After many months of weekly sessions she told me one of the reasons things progressed as they had.

On my first visit, she said, I sat in the chair and told her how totally lost and hurt I was, and how I needed to find a way to the other side of the conflict.  Many people take weeks to fathom what they want to achieve from counseling, she said.  Within minutes I had told her of the things of which I needed to deal.  In addition to the loss of my Mom in August, there was also the death of Dudek that May.  With his passing came the need to find a way to say thanks for what he did in his will–to a man who was not able to hear expressions of gratitude.

One can say if I had not found Mary there would have been countless other people who could have helped me.  While that is true, the fact is it was Mary who made the difference in my life.  She was the one who took the time, helped me out at times when I could hardly even talk due to deep emotions, and pushed me towards resolving my grief.   She also started me on the path of paying it forward.   It is something James and I do in many ways, often without others being aware.

Mary would have loved how this evening played out–as she knew the value and power of just being yourself and letting life proceed.  With the simple act of greeting someone I did not know, who was on our sidewalk, a series of topics flowed and connections made.

Shortly after my book, Walking Up The Ramp, was published I took a signed copy and met her at the door. She was certainly a part of the story.  It was the last time I would talk with her.  Soft spoken, kind, and as usual wearing her smile that made all feel welcome at once.

We all have those in our life who make a most important mark, so that everything that follows plays out in a better way.   Mary was that type of person in my life.  I will forever be appreciative.

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