Mary Carol Pierce, about 1960
When Mom or Grandma would get out old pictures and tell stories I used to be impatient, but here I am doing the same thing. Yesterday my youngest sister Mary would have been fifty. She died unexpectedly two weeks after her 40th birthday, so it has been nearly ten years. She was a tender soul whose physical and emotional frailties prevented her from doing many ordinary things. She had jobs, but never a career. She loved children but never married. She loved the ocean but never saw it in person. Some time around her birthday she called me on the telephone. I wasn't home, so her message was left on tape. It still is, somewhere in a drawer. She wanted us to get together, do something as sisters. I was busy - really busy - with teaching, coaching, heavens knows what. I meant to call her, should have called her. But I didn't call her back in time. It is one of the great regrets of my life, and I hope she forgave me.
Regret of course, is a useless thing. All I can do now is honor her memory and hope I learned the great lesson she taught me about impermanence, and about how important it is to get one's priorities in order. All I can do is live life as well as I can, work on what's important to me, and remember to put the people I love first.