In Memory of Mother Mary

The time was 12:13 p.m. when Mary Finlay Martin quit breathing. I was holding her hand when it happened.

The silence that follows death is overpowering. It was the loudest silence I ever heard. Like a hurricane of quiet, swallowing the world.

At first we said nothing. We simply looked at her body. Then the crying started. My wife’s mouth fell open but no sound came out. And I was still holding that slackened hand.

I stared at that hand for a long time.

Mother Mary was my mother-in-law. She was my friend. She was my comrade in troublemaking. She was my drinking buddy. Most guys aren’t all that crazy about their mothers-in-law, but I was.

She was every elderly woman you’ve met before. You’ve known hundreds of Marys in your lifetime. Maybe thousands.

She had the Merle Norman face, the Estée Lauder scent, and the Talbots clearance-rack wardrobe. She was everything marvelous about the unique brand of female who inhabits the Southeastern United States.

Her hair was snow white with hues of violet. Her voice was Vivien Leigh, her eyes were Natalie Wood, her personality was Shirley Temple.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you she was a saint, because that would be untrue. And anyway, saints aren’t fun loving people like she was. Saints sit far away like statues. Saints belong in flower gardens and in ornate basilicas. No, this woman was real. And she was something else.

She was equally at home in a Civic League meeting as she was sitting on a deer stand. She could dance in a juke joint; she could host a Methodist banquet that would’ve made Emily Post look like a hack. She was fun. She was quirky. And above all, she was ours.

But right now as I look around her house, I see nothing but orphaned objects.

I see a supper table without an owner. I see a kitchen drainboard with her dishes in it. A half-completed crossword puzzle book. A TV remote. Bird feeders outside. Rain gauges. Potted plants galore. A windsock hanging from the porch.

When I wander through her den I still expect to see her. I still expect to see the wiry woman seated before her television, wearing her cute little house slippers. I expect her to ask how I’m doing today. I expect to smell bath powder mingled with Bengay. I expect her to look at me and give me that conspiritorial grin.

She was funny. Traditional. Quiet. Observant. Finicky. Wistful. Easygoing. A picky eater. A TV-holic. Introverted. Long suffering. Hard to please. Easy to love. And the woman had her blackbelt in passive aggression.

She preferred her tomatoes peeled before she ate them. She would not touch spaghetti with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole. She loved Pay Days, pulled pork, long car trips, Cape San Blas, frozen malts, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, gardenias, Harlequin romance novels, Coca-Cola, ice cream, strawberry shortcake, dogs, bourbon, and her God.

She watched HGTV at volumes loud enough to crack plate glass. She always traveled with club crackers in her purse. And I never ate a meal at her house in which we did not use her Blue Danube china and wedding-day silver.

And God help the poor idiot who loaded her dishwasher wrong.

For Christmas, she would spend nine months wrapping her house in garland. For Easter, she still gave me candy although I was middle-aged. For Halloween, she kept big bowls of goodies by the door because she was obsessed with children. Oh, how she loved children.

In a way, I was one such child.

When I met her I wasn’t even drinking age. We became fast friends, then she adopted me.

She was present for my life’s biggest benchmarks. When I earned my high-school equivalency, she cheered for me. When I graduated community college as a 30-year-old hopeful, she took me out for supper. When my first novel came out, she was first to read it.

And even when this elderly woman became a shut-in, with knees that no longer worked, and lungs riddled with fibrosis, she remained one of my pals.

To be a member of Mother Mary’s family was a great privilege. It was a privilege each time I saw her wrist-deep in her potting soil, planting, pruning, deadheading, and fertilizing. It was a privilege seeing her in that floppy sunhat, sweaty forehead streaked with black dirt.

It was a privilege carrying her to each out-of-town doctor’s appointment. It was a privilege cutting her steak into small pieces. It was a privilege hearing her laugh. It was a privilege brushing her hair.

But it was the greatest honor of my life to hold her hand as she died.


  1. Sandra - August 16, 2021 7:05 am

    My deepest condolences in your loss. I have enjoyed getting to know her through your excellent post|blog. Prayers for your family

  2. TONJA WILDER - August 16, 2021 7:07 am

    I could mot sleep all night waiting for your blog. I knew the time was near and I know your heart is breaking. I know because I have been there.
    Mary is at peace, she can rest now. So can I. God be with you and your family.

  3. Joan Golston - August 16, 2021 7:08 am

    Over time may your family’s memories be a comfort. Thank you for letting us walk alongside you on this stretch of the path.

  4. Mary Ann Ludwig - August 16, 2021 7:11 am

    Although we do not know one another, please accept my condolences for your loss. Your loving tribute to this wonderful lady is an inspiration. Your gentle columns bring light to the world and sunshine to the day. Thank you and may you and your family find comfort in the face of your loss and in the love for Mother Mary.

    • Ray - August 16, 2021 10:48 pm


  5. Joan E Benson - August 16, 2021 7:17 am

    I’m crying as I read this. Of course the only way I know your Mother Mary is through your words, but I too have experienced the last heart beat of my mother and my mother-in-law (who was also named Mary). Thank you for expressing your deep love for your mother-in-law and the many ways she impacted your life. I know your words have impacted my life.

  6. Allison Hoge - August 16, 2021 7:22 am

    My very deepest sympathies and condolences to you and Jamie!

    • vickie hayes - August 16, 2021 12:39 pm

      Yes, holding a dying loved one’s hand is the greatest privilege we can have. I’m glad Mother Mary had you and that you had her in your life. Your description was so eloquent and beautiful. I can smell the Estee Lauder. Condolences and prayers for you and your family from a reader who looks forward to every entry. Blessings…

  7. cajuntiger74 - August 16, 2021 7:23 am

    May God rest Mother Mary’s soul and provide comfort to you, Jamie and family. I have enjoyed reading each and every one of these tribute postings you have written about her. Clearly, she was a special lady. I would also venture to say she had a pretty good son in law too.

  8. Carol ROTHWELL - August 16, 2021 7:25 am

    So sorry Sean and Jamie , my heart is broken for your loss 😢
    But we know she is in the hands and arms of God.
    Praying for comfort and healing for you and your family 🙏❤️🙌

  9. Eva Lantrip - August 16, 2021 7:40 am

    My mother is 91 and I know the time will come too soon. You made me laugh and you made me cry with this one.My sympathy for your loss. Give Jamie a hug from me.

  10. twistedliss - August 16, 2021 7:43 am

    Oh Sean, I’m so sorry for the great sucking silence that comes after they pack their bags and leave and for the uncharted territory that you and your wife will have to traverse without your beloved Mother Mary. It sure has been great getting to know her. Thank you for that and hugs for the journey ahead.

  11. Susan Johnston - August 16, 2021 7:51 am

    Thank you for introducing Mother Mary and allowing others to accompany you on this journey. I have held vigils for my parents and my in-laws so I understand your pain and sadness. Prayers to you and Jaime for courage, comfort and peace. May the angels rise to meet Mother Mary and light perpetual shine upon her.

  12. Evelyn Mann-Wilder - August 16, 2021 7:52 am

    I spent eight years as a Hospice Social Worker and I firmly believe people in your Mother-in-laws position choose who they die with. You must have been very special to her. My heartfelt condolences. Hospice does great grief groups too.

  13. David Brown - August 16, 2021 7:55 am

    The Peace that passeth all understanding rest and abide in you and your loved ones now and forever.

  14. Hazel Barber - August 16, 2021 8:03 am

    Sean you have a heart of gold and express your feelings so very well. I had the honor of holding my mother Maggie’s hand as she “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.” Several years ago my family gathered around her bed, held hands and sang Amazing Grace. I will never forget her or the last time I saw her nor do I want to. She was my best friend.
    A few of these words were stolen from President Reagan comments he spoke after the Challenger Space Shuttle was lost in ‘86.
    Prayers for your family,
    Huntsville AL

    • Te - August 16, 2021 10:53 am

      How odd to see a comment from Huntsville where I grew up. Been gone over 50 years. And your comments resonated as that poem is one apropos to Both Huntsville and Mother Mary.

  15. DEBRA CHAMBERS - August 16, 2021 8:14 am

    I’m so very sorry, Sean. So many people were following every post as if it was our family, too. You are so blessed to have had such a unique relationship with this lady and I know you’ll miss her terribly. I’m praying for you to find that peace that passes understanding that can only come from God. Having lost my Mom and my mother in law in the last 18 months, I can tell you that you haven’t heard the last from her! I’m not talking about some ghostly visitation, but her comments, opinions, and other idiosyncrasies are forever looped in your heart and she’ll still make you laugh, cry, and remember at any given time. And what a gift that is! 🙏❤️

  16. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - August 16, 2021 8:18 am

    And I bet she loved you back just as much.
    She was smart so why wouldn’t she?
    Man, you got the big bonus spin. Jamie, Mary, your late pop-in-law. Most guy’s are lucky to get 1/3.
    I love you man & I’m sorry that you’re hurting.
    Just be there for Jamie. I know you will.

  17. Liz Hoyt Eberle - August 16, 2021 8:25 am

    Mother Mary was a beautifully blessed woman.
    Dearest sympathy to all of you, her children. You rose up and called her blessed.
    My heart aches for your loss.
    My life is richer and sweeter from knowing Mary and Jamie and Sean. Thank you. 😔💖

  18. Andrea - August 16, 2021 8:31 am

    I’m so sorry…. ❤️

  19. Erica - August 16, 2021 8:44 am

    May her memory be a blessing.

  20. Sara C Nichols - August 16, 2021 8:56 am

    There are really no words for the loss you are experiencing so I will just say I am sorry. She was fortunate to have had a family who loved her so much just as you were fortunate to have been loved by her. My love to you and your wife. May God be with you’

  21. Rita - August 16, 2021 8:59 am

    What a wonderful life so poignantly shared through your words. Thank you for sharing such a special time with strangers. I’m sorry for your grief, but thankful you and your family are richly blessed.

  22. Jennifer - August 16, 2021 9:02 am

    When I saw the title of this, my heart sank a little. Because I knew Mother Mary was no longer here. Your words, as usual, brought who she was, to life. What a beautiful life she had and even more beautiful you sharing with us what she meant to you and her family over the years. I know it will still hurt and there will be that gap. But don’t stop remembering her and sharing her. She’s home now but will always be in your presence and in your hearts. Prayers for peace and comfort.

  23. Jimmie Slaton - August 16, 2021 9:15 am

    May God bless you and your wife in this time of loss. I’m proud of you being there for her in her passing. Beautiful story! Thanks for sharing her with all of us.

  24. Lori Klein - August 16, 2021 9:16 am

    May God hold you all in the palm of His hand. May your sweet memories bring you all some comfort. You’re being prayed for.

  25. Russell - August 16, 2021 9:22 am

    I am so sorry for your loss, and will keep you all in my prayers.

  26. Laura Wilson - August 16, 2021 9:24 am

    Wow, what a wonderfully loving tribute to Mother Mary. Prayers and hugs to you all as you navigate this world without her.

  27. Margaret E Odell - August 16, 2021 9:28 am

    Sean, I’ve been keeping watch with you and Jamie and the rest of the family. I know you all are in a lot of pain today, but also remembering the good times with Mother Mary. My own mom passed 6 years ago this August and I can still remember those final weeks. We were able to keep her at home and be with her. I’m glad you and Jaimie were able to do that for Mary. Both our Moms are with the Lord now!

  28. Judy Smith - August 16, 2021 9:31 am

    She knew how to love.
    She knew how to live life.
    She was blessed.
    Sean, you were blessed.
    The memories will help all of you get through this.
    Thank you for sharing Mother Mary with us.
    The very best thing about her was ❤️ LOVE 💕
    Praying for all her family and for all who loved her.

  29. Sandra Krym - August 16, 2021 9:36 am

    Deepest sympathy to you and all of those privileged to be part of Mother Mary’s family. She’ll be missed by all who knew and loved her, but keep the beautiful memories of her tucked safely away in your hearts and she’ll always be with you.

  30. cat718 - August 16, 2021 9:36 am

    Thank you for introducing the world to Mother Mary. I can only imagine the fun and joy she will bring to may never be the same
    Lifting prayers of peace for you and Jamie. ❤️❤️❤️

  31. Lisa Dempsey - August 16, 2021 9:42 am

    My deepest sympathy to you, Jamie and family on Mother Mary’s passing. Your sharing of this sad and sweet time has made us all part of your family, and we grieve with you. May God be with you in this time, bringing comfort and solace by the memories and faith that comes from the prayers and love that surround you. She was an extraordinary worman.

  32. Dee Jordan - August 16, 2021 9:46 am

    But right now as I look around her house, I see nothing but orphaned objects. (The best sentence I’ve ever read to describe death.) Thank you for a somber, lovely, yet rejoicing piece about her wonderful life! And we are all so sorry for your loss if this wonderful lady!

  33. Debbie Moser - August 16, 2021 9:46 am

    You loved your mil like I loved mine…what a blessing to have had a person like this to be your encourager🤗 Hugs to you n Jamie.

  34. Virginia Russell - August 16, 2021 9:47 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your journey took me back 11 years, when I rubbed my mother’s feet while she died. Thank you for sharing.

  35. Erv Riley - August 16, 2021 9:51 am

    May you find comfort in your own way. Love to you and yours.

    • Joan Moore - August 16, 2021 11:13 am

      Mother Mary will be missed by her”Internet People.” All our love to Jamie, yourself and the family. We pray for God’s comfort and peace. Meanwhile, rest and take care of your darling wife.

  36. Joy - August 16, 2021 9:55 am

    I’m so sorry for Jamie’s and your loss of Mother Mary. God’s comfort and peace to you both.

  37. Judy Mercer - August 16, 2021 9:58 am

    Condolences and prayers to you and all family members. Thank you for the gift of getting to know Mother Mary from your stories of her…, we will all miss her….

  38. Sandra Law - August 16, 2021 10:02 am

    You and your family were lucky to have such a person like Mary in your life… And she was lucky to have ya’ll as well… I don’t have the love of a parental relationship, so thank you for letting me read about yours… It must feel incredible…

  39. Raymond Baquero - August 16, 2021 10:04 am

    Condolences on your family loss. I have felt as if I’ve known her through your blogs and I know this part could not have been easy. Thank you.

  40. Linnea Miles - August 16, 2021 10:06 am

    Sean and Jamie- I’ve helped birth and I’ve helped death. . . for both, you wait and wait and you’re there for the precious one who’s struggling in body. The ending emotions are equally deep- outstanding joy at birth and peaceful agony at a passing. This is life. I’m so glad for the life that Mother Mary lived fully, creating Jamie for you, and that you’ve shared such fun, poignant, mundane pieces with us. What a privilege we’ve all had. Sweet journey home to Mary and all of us.

  41. Tammy S. - August 16, 2021 10:14 am

    I am so sorry for your loss of Mother Mary. Such an extraordinary woman. Thank you for sharing her with us all. Hugs to Jamie, you & all the family. And prayers for you all over the next coming months.

  42. Meredith Smith - August 16, 2021 10:20 am

    Oh Sean that was your greatest column yet! But I am so sorry for all the reasons why. May Mother Mary Rest In Peace. Kisses and Hugs out to you and Jamie. 😢

  43. Robert Boileau - August 16, 2021 10:24 am

    There are no words but you found them all. God has blessed you all.

  44. Janie Gentry - August 16, 2021 10:30 am

    Such a beautiful tribute to a special friend. My thoughts and prayers are with your family as you grieve.

  45. Nancy Lucenay - August 16, 2021 10:33 am

    Praying you and your family will experience God’s comforting presence during these difficult days, Sean.

  46. Linda Brug - August 16, 2021 10:36 am

    Beautiful 😢

  47. Teri M. - August 16, 2021 10:39 am

    So sorry to hear of your family’s loss. What a wonderful privilege for you to have known her and thank you for sharing her with us. Hugs to you and Jamie.

  48. Martha Owens - August 16, 2021 10:39 am

    So sorry for the loss of Mother Mary! Your beautiful tribute to this special woman that you have shared with all of us will be read and reread by so many. May your love for her help you and Jamie go though the days to come.

  49. Charles Vianey - August 16, 2021 10:40 am

    What a beautiful relationship you and Mother Mary had. You were a gift to each other. Thank you for sharing your story over the past years and especially recently.

  50. Donna K. Taylor - August 16, 2021 10:45 am

    Much love to you sweet man/boy and your dear Jamie-and Godspeed to Eden for your favorite MM

  51. Beth Wannamaker - August 16, 2021 10:49 am

    Jamie and Sean – I grieve with you in the loss of Mother Mary. May you find strength, comfort, and peace in all the memories you have over all the years. I love you.

  52. Kathy Croft - August 16, 2021 10:52 am

    Prayers for comfort & peace for all of you. Hoping those wonderful memories will bring a smile to your faces even during this sad time. My Mother passed away almost 4 years ago & I miss her everyday.

  53. Lifetime Chicago - August 16, 2021 10:52 am

    So very sorry. What a beautiful tribute.

  54. Leslie in NC - August 16, 2021 10:54 am

    I was going to say so many things to express my deepest condolences, but the readers before me already said them all so eloquently. We all love you and grieve with you and Jamie and all of Mother Mary’s family. I too, held my mother’s hand as she slipped through the veil and even though painful for me, I consider it my highest honor.

  55. Alice - August 16, 2021 10:56 am

    Dear Sean I am so very sorry about your loss my prayers are with you and your wife🙏🙏

  56. flacbe - August 16, 2021 10:58 am

    We know Mother Mary, we all have one and thank you for sharing yours with us. My dad was the first persons hand I held as he passed, holding it and telling him we be ok he can let go all the time holding tight to his hand not wanting him too. Praying for you and Jamie and the rest of the family.

  57. Sandy Nicholson - August 16, 2021 10:58 am

    Sean, We have all followed your trial. Most of us have been through the same kind of thing. The only good part is that Mother Mary no longer hurts. She’s with her God and much better off than the rest of us. She left all the wonder of herself with you and her family…and all her love. A treasure.

  58. Barbie - August 16, 2021 10:59 am

    We are so very Sorry, God Bless dear Mary and her lovely Family.

  59. Te - August 16, 2021 10:59 am

    You both have been blessed. Words fail me. I envy you this. It will become another defining memory, and I feel privileged to have been allowed to share it with you. Thank you and God bless.

  60. Jean L Daniel - August 16, 2021 11:04 am

    I grieve for you and with you. I wish I could have known Mother Mary.

  61. JUDY E KIRKPATRICK - August 16, 2021 11:05 am

    Dear Sean, I am so very sorry. I feel as though I knew Mother Mary through your stories about her. What a lovely lady. I’m sure you know that Jamie is going to need you more than ever in the following days, weeks, months. Everyone grieves in their own way and time. Please know that you, your family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers. And just think of how much fun Mother Mary is having in her Lord’s house.

  62. Barbara S Smith - August 16, 2021 11:07 am

    Amen. Holding her hand as she died will remain the most precious moment of your life. What a gift!

  63. bob - August 16, 2021 11:08 am

    A beautiful tribute to “Mother Mary!” She would have said only “thank you” for your words, your love and for saying that it was an honor to hold her hand as she passed from here to There. In as much as I am heartbroken to hear that Mary has passed, I am glad that she is no longer a broken lady and equally glad that you and the family can finally move towards a resumed life, and heal. Not everyone leaves a legacy as broad as Mary. Your willingness to share her increased that legacy and blessed us all. It has been an honor to me and through your words to have gotten to know her. This is not Mary’s end, it is Mary’s begging! God Bless Mary and “all” of her family!

  64. Donna - August 16, 2021 11:08 am

    Your deep love of Mother Mary that you have shown us in these blogs these past week will be felt as a very deep loss. Take care of yourself and Jamie, Sean. Praying for your peace, comfort, courage and strength now and in the days to come. Rest in your memories.

  65. Camilla - August 16, 2021 11:10 am

    You are a blessed man, but I’m sorry for this huge loss. Thank you for writing about it, as parts ring true for all of us.

  66. BJ - August 16, 2021 11:10 am

    ❤️🙏 for the journey without Mother Mary. You have beautiful memories to help you along and a loving God who will always be there for you. ❤️🙏

  67. Sheri K - August 16, 2021 11:11 am

    My sincerest sympathy to you and Jamie. May God give you His healing comfort and peace. We all know Mother Mary is now cradled in His loving arms until you meet again. Thank you Sean for sharing her with us. 💔💖

  68. Jean - August 16, 2021 11:14 am

    A bright light has gone out in your world. You were lucky to have her and she was lucky to have you. Rest in peace Miss Mary….you will be missed. Sending sincere sympathy and blessings to you and your family.

  69. Joretta Parker - August 16, 2021 11:16 am

    Sean, I’m so sorry for your loss. Such a beautiful tribute to Mother Mary. God be with you and Jamie at this sad time in your life.

  70. Lydia - August 16, 2021 11:18 am

    Sending my prayers and deepest sympathy.Mother Mary was quite a lady.

  71. Dana Everhart - August 16, 2021 11:19 am

    I loved my mother in law too. She was an amazing woman. The two will enjoy eternity together talking about us sons in law. Thank for taking us on this journey with you. Your family is in my prayers.

    Your Methodist pastor fan

    Dana Everhart

  72. Susan - August 16, 2021 11:19 am

    What a beautiful tribute to Mother Mary. It inspires me to be a better MIL. I’m so sorry for your hurting hearts. Praying for all of you.

  73. elizabethroosje - August 16, 2021 11:20 am

    Awwwwww Sean. I am crying with you and Jamie. 😥 My church keeps praying for people after they die and your Mother Mary is still in our hearts and prayers. She died on the same day that Christian tradition has the other Mary, Jesus’ Mother, die and be taken to heaven in her Sons arms. We are praying for you all ❤

  74. Emily - August 16, 2021 11:26 am

    So sorry for your loss.

  75. Ellouise Pennington - August 16, 2021 11:30 am

    I miss Mother Mary already. She knew you loved and cared for her. You could not have given her a better gift.

  76. Jim and Rose Madre - August 16, 2021 11:34 am

    We’re so sorry for your loss. You have our deepest condolences. May the Lord take you and Jaime in His loving arms, and give you Peace. God bless both of you.

    • Becky - August 16, 2021 2:45 pm

      No one could have had a more beautiful eulogy. You gave Mother Mary a precious gift and I’m sure she is smiling down on you with pride. My deepest sympathies to you and Janie. Take comfort in your beautiful memories. She will always be with you.

  77. Elaine Stroff - August 16, 2021 11:34 am

    My condolences to you and your family. What a beautiful tribute to a life well lived. 🌺

  78. Susie Stanfield - August 16, 2021 11:40 am

    Because of the distance between us, I wasn’t with my mom during her last few weeks. But I was the one holding her hand when she breathed her last. It is a precious memory for me. She too had lingered for days. We were beginning to worry that most of the family would need to return to their homes before having the funeral. I encouraged me daddy to go with me and my daughter to see Mama “one last time”. We sat there, quoting Scripture, singing hymns, and telling her it was ok to go. After about 30 minutes, she exhaled one deep breath. There wasn’t another one. It will forever be one of the most precious memories of time with my mama!! May the peace of Christ comfort y’all at this time. May the joy of your sweet memories balance the tears of your sadness!

  79. Johnnie Blackburn - August 16, 2021 11:40 am

    Some never know that privilege, I’m glad you were there.

  80. Vicky - August 16, 2021 11:42 am

    I am so sorry for the loss of Mother Mary. I’m glad that she was able to leave this earth on her time and that you were holding her had as she did. I too had the best mother-in-law and will forever be grateful for that. My heart is with you and Jamie as you learn to navigate this new life without her. I feel like I lost her, too-she was a one of a kind lady. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  81. Susan Kennedy - August 16, 2021 11:43 am

    All of us will miss Mother Mary. We love you and Jamie.

  82. Nancy McKenzie - August 16, 2021 11:44 am

    Sean my heart goes out to you in this time of loss. Thank yo so much for writing daily about your wonderful MIL and friend. We all have a special place in our hearts for Mother Mary. Please give Jamie and big hug me.

  83. Judy - August 16, 2021 11:44 am

    Death is always an uncontrolable sea of emotion. From finding you in your birthday suit at home to holding your hand as Mother Mary left her fragile frame , we all learned to love her through your words.

  84. cindyjenkins - August 16, 2021 11:46 am

    Your blog posts about Mother Mary have been so beautiful. Without having met her, I feel I knew her and sense the hole that will be left in your lives without her. Rejoicing with you that she is with her Heavenly Father in a beautiful place. Praying for God to comfort Jamie and you and all the family as only He can in the coming days.

  85. Ruby ROBERTS - August 16, 2021 11:46 am

    So sorry for your loss. Praying for you and your wife. May God comfort you as you grieve.

  86. Larry Mize - August 16, 2021 11:48 am

    So sorry Sean. Praying for you and your family. You have helped us know her from your stories even though we were never able to meet her.

  87. beth meet Moore - August 16, 2021 11:48 am

    Thank you for the privilege of knowing her through your writing. God bless your family during this time!

  88. Heather Miller - August 16, 2021 11:48 am

    Thank you for sharing Mother Mary with all of us. I have read your blog first thing each morning, remotely holding her hand, yours and Jamie’s, since you shared her decline with us. You have been so blessed with Mother Mary’s loving friendship. Jamie has been blessed since birth with Mother Mary. Please accept my deepest sympathy in the loss of this bright guiding star in your lives.

  89. Nana - August 16, 2021 11:49 am

    So very sorry for your loss. I know you will miss her terribly. Sweet, heavenly rest, Mary. ❤️

  90. Jo Ann - August 16, 2021 11:49 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Mother Mary with all of us. May her memory be a blessing.

  91. Chris Nischan - August 16, 2021 11:50 am

    Mother Mary lived a wonderful life. You are so lucky to be a part of her family. Prayers for you and Jamie during this awful time. God has his turn with her now…

  92. Rhonda - August 16, 2021 11:52 am

    Dear Jamie,
    Take your time. You are a doer of stuff. And this stuff you have to do is your time to “transition”. what a terrible word for life will never be the same again. Right now memories are as fresh as last nights rain. As time passes the tears that flow with each memory will ease and be replaced by sweet comfort. All the smells and sights become invisible hugs. I still cry 20 years later when I hear a voice in a sweet southern drawl. I followed a lady around the grocery store one day just to hear her voice. But its different now. Its like a blessing that pours over you like sunshine through an open window. Spend some time with Sean and your dogs doing nothing. Go fishing or do something real Mary like
    and know in your heart you did good girl! You loved her back as strong as she loved you first. She left you in the arms of a man who loves you as much as she did. Its obvious to everyone in the universe! You did hit the lottery on that one. Its gonna take time. And you deserve all the time you need. Some of us just wish we had a Jamie. Fold in them wings and rest.

  93. Leslie - August 16, 2021 11:54 am

    My deepest condolences to you and your wife in the passing of your precious Mother Mary. Your words humble me because they are from your heart. Thank you for sharing and may God hold you all in the palm of his hand…now and all your days.

  94. Edwin G Staples - August 16, 2021 11:54 am

    Sorry for your loss.

  95. Rhea Wynn - August 16, 2021 11:55 am

    Prayers for you and Jamie as you celebrate the life of this wonderful woman and mourn the loss you feel. May God provide the comfort you need.

  96. Theresa - August 16, 2021 11:56 am

    So very sorry for your loss ….

  97. Marcia De Graaf - August 16, 2021 11:56 am

    Your writings about Mary in her last days have been exceptional, Sean, making me feel I was with her. I knew Mary and appreciated your descriptions of her. Today’s post of her final moments was beautiful. You, Jamie, Mary’s family, and all who love her have my deepest condolences. She was one of a kind, and we will miss her presence in this world. God bless and comfort you all. 😪🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  98. Becki McCallum - August 16, 2021 11:57 am

    Mother Mary is dancing in Heaven with so many people she has loved and who loved her! I am rejoicing for her, but so sad for you, Jamie and all your family. What a blessing to have had her in your earthly lives. I believe one day you all will join her in that Heavenly home, and what a fun reunion that will be! Thank you for sharing such a personal journey. Hugs,

  99. Denise - August 16, 2021 12:00 pm

    Sean, may your many memories of your mother in law help you through this difficult time. Thank you for beautifully sharing them with us. May her memory be eternal.

  100. Philip E Mitchell - August 16, 2021 12:00 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Jamie. Thank you for sharing this end of life journey.

  101. Cheryl C Hill - August 16, 2021 12:01 pm

    Mother Mary will be missed by all of us who came to know her through your words. Sending hugs to you, Jamie, and all the extended family. Thank you for sharing your life with us, and for letting us love and cry for a woman we never had the privilege to meet.

  102. Sondra - August 16, 2021 12:03 pm

    Thank you again for sharing Mother Mary with all of us. My prayers are with you and all her family.

  103. Heidi - August 16, 2021 12:03 pm

    The loss of Mother Mary will leave a void in your lives that will never be filled. She was one of a kind. But she will give you signs that she’s with you still and it will comfort you. Her work and joy and spirit are not done. She has just moved on to a beautiful place with good health and beauty surrounding her. Love and comfort to you Jamie and your family. I will miss her too.

  104. William Gammill - August 16, 2021 12:03 pm

    So very sorry for your loss. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  105. Tammy Rouse - August 16, 2021 12:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing your MIL with us. Prayers and hugs to you and your family. The way you talk about her reminds me of my Grandmother, maybe they have met and are sharing a beer.😪❤️

  106. Suz Cahill - August 16, 2021 12:04 pm

    Oh Sean and Jamie…I’m so sorry. Sending you and your families all the love in the world. Fly high Miss Mary.

  107. Genea S Crockett - August 16, 2021 12:05 pm

    Sean, what a great tribute to Mother Mary. As you and your wife go through this, just remember that she knew you loved her and she loved you as one of her own and that is all that really matters! Most gracious condolences and keep her memory alive.

  108. Pamela Williams - August 16, 2021 12:05 pm


  109. Margo - August 16, 2021 12:07 pm

    To be loved as Mother Mary was is as worthy a goal as I can think of. Bless you and your wife and all who grieve Mary’s passing. She was a blessing to many.

  110. Donna - August 16, 2021 12:09 pm

    I am truly sorry for your loss. I am grateful for the glimpses of her life you have shared.

  111. Diane Cochran - August 16, 2021 12:11 pm

    How can we not have met face to face, but yet I cry with you like you are my brother and sister. Mother Mary will live forever in your hearts. My prayers and God’s love and strength be with you.

  112. Catherine - August 16, 2021 12:11 pm

    You just gave the most beautiful eulogy any woman could ever hope to have. Thank you for allowing us to share in the life and death of your beautiful Mother Mary. I’m reminded of a quote I heard years ago that is forever etched in my heart: “Nothing loved ever dies.” Remembering and caring…💓

  113. Wanda H Ledbetter - August 16, 2021 12:13 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss of Miss Mary. There is no way to prepare even when you know it’s coming. I was holding my mama’s hand reading the 23 psalm when she left this world. It was a beautiful moment full of peace. I also know when she entered the pearly gates…she let everyone know she was there.

  114. Peggy Thompson - August 16, 2021 12:13 pm

    May God give you & Jamie the peace you need & guide you thru the days ahead. So sorry for your loss. Mary sounds like a beautiful soul & had a wonderful life. God Bless you both.🙏🙏

  115. Karen Erwin-Brown - August 16, 2021 12:14 pm

    beautiful, you are fortunate to be so loved as was she. Grammar? Mine, not yours. peace for your day.

  116. Bill Harris - August 16, 2021 12:16 pm

    Thank you Sean for sharing your beautiful Mother Mary with us. I will miss her.

  117. Joyce Anders - August 16, 2021 12:18 pm

    God be with you all, Sean.

  118. Lynn - August 16, 2021 12:18 pm

    You have honored her well. Thank you for inviting us into Mother Mary world. I’m praying for the Lord’s peace that truly does surpass our understanding to fall upon you and the rest of MM’s family.

  119. mccutchen52 - August 16, 2021 12:20 pm

    Thank you for your words. I never met Mother Mary but I feel as though I have know her my whole life. I hope you continue to write about her time and again because, like you said, she enjoys reading about herself. The honor to hold her hand was a great one and I am so sorry for the loss to your family.

  120. Jan - August 16, 2021 12:21 pm

    What a lovely description of a woman worth remembering and holding in your heart. God bless you and Jamie and all those who had the privilege of knowing Mother Mary.

  121. Sandra - August 16, 2021 12:22 pm

    I am so so sorry. You and Your Family are in my prayers. ♥️🙏🏻

  122. Mary Adamy - August 16, 2021 12:22 pm

    My condolences to you and your family. May she rest in peace.

  123. sdkulwicki - August 16, 2021 12:22 pm

    God bless and comfort your family. Thank you for making her alive for us. I’m sure she’ll be on the greeting committee in heaven and have many familiar faces to welcome because you made her our friend too. Prayers for all of you.

  124. Ella Herlihy - August 16, 2021 12:22 pm

    May the comfort of the Holy Spirit wrap your family like a warm blanket. May we all be a little more like Mary. Your love and admiration for her are the perfect example of what we should each be thinking about as we live – how would I want to be remembered. You can spend every day living or dying. She chose living. Godspeed.

  125. Anne Arthur - August 16, 2021 12:22 pm

    A most wonderful tribute to your Mother Mary! Love shines through each of the words your wrote.
    Thank you for letting us be part of this long journey. You have an amazing family and the gift to let us see the values you share.
    To you and Jamie, to all who mourn, my heartfelt condolences.
    To Mother Mary, may she be received into Jesus’ loving arms and may her beautiful soul rest in peace.

  126. Mitzi Curtis - August 16, 2021 12:24 pm

    May God continue to bless your family. I too had the great honor of holding a loved ones hand as they departed. Such a privilege.

  127. Nancy M - August 16, 2021 12:25 pm

    Praying for God’s peace and comfort for Jamie and Sean and for all who knew Mother Mary. She was a treasure. Thank you for writing about her so eloquently.

  128. Karen Snyder - August 16, 2021 12:25 pm

    Thankful for Mother Mary’s peace and so very sorry for your broken hearts. May God’s promise and all of these beautiful memories comfort you and Jamie and everyone who loved her. 💕

  129. Linda - August 16, 2021 12:26 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your memories of her provide hope and inspiration to others – thank you for sharing.

  130. Nancy Wright - August 16, 2021 12:27 pm


  131. Becki Gilchrist - August 16, 2021 12:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing this personal journey with me. How blessed you have been and are for having shared life with this precious one.

  132. Bob Rennick - August 16, 2021 12:28 pm

    Your best.

  133. Teri Easterling - August 16, 2021 12:31 pm

    May God’s peace, comfort, and strength enfold your family in these days. Always hard to say “see you later” to those we love. Mother Mary’s life is a great example of taking on all life offers and making the most of it. Thank you for sharing this special time with us.

  134. Sam Varney - August 16, 2021 12:32 pm

    I watched you suffer, I saw you die,
    And all I could do was sit close by.
    You went away, we had to part;
    God eased your pain, but broke my heart.

    Prayers for comfort offered for all.

  135. Debbie Taylor - August 16, 2021 12:33 pm

    Sean, your wonderful MIL has been honored by your words, by the stories you’ve told. Thank you for sharing her life with us, she was a blessing to you … and also very lucky to be loved and respected by you.

  136. Joann Thompson - August 16, 2021 12:33 pm

    Thank you for letting us get to know Mary and allowing us to accompany your family on this journey. We won’t soon forget her. God bless you and Jaimie.

  137. Alva Barksdale - August 16, 2021 12:33 pm

    Such a beautiful tribute! Mother Mary would be honored! So sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you during this time of loss.

  138. Vanessa - August 16, 2021 12:33 pm

    Sean — I am so sad to hear of your loss. I hope you will continue to write just what is on your heart as you and your wife begin to heal. Mother Mary was so incredibly blessed to have you as her bonus son and was privileged be the topic of so many of your beautiful writings. Your words recently about “the children” becoming “the elders” resonated with my stage of life and was nothing short of genius.
    May God be with you in this difficult time.
    I love you.

  139. vjwinton - August 16, 2021 12:34 pm

    Beautifully written tribute. I loved her too through you

  140. Teresa Blankenship - August 16, 2021 12:34 pm

    And she is smiling down on you today ❤️

  141. Gayle Dodds - August 16, 2021 12:35 pm

    A beautiful testimony to a lovely woman we have come to know thru your eloquent remembrances Prayers for your family

  142. Lauren D Ulrich - August 16, 2021 12:35 pm

    Yes–that honor comes to only one person, and how fitting that it was you. My sincerest condolences and sympathy to you and Jamie~

  143. Ned Wheland - August 16, 2021 12:36 pm

    My condolences on the passing of Mother Mary. As others have posted, I came to know her through your words and it would have been a privilege to know her personally. She is in the arms of Our Lord and at peace.

  144. Jimmy Stewart - August 16, 2021 12:37 pm

    Mother Mary shall live on etched in our memory because her adopted son loved her deeply and shared her gleefully with everyone who would listen. What a blessing it has been to read about Mother Mary and without a doubt there will be many more stories to come. Prayers for you Sean and certainly for Jamie!

  145. Maggie Priestaf - August 16, 2021 12:37 pm

    Each morning I looked for and waited for this post. Today it came. Our hearts and prayers are with all of you that love Mary…

  146. Nancy Crews - August 16, 2021 12:37 pm

    ❤your writing. May Mother Mary rest in.peace.

  147. Jerry Hicklin - August 16, 2021 12:38 pm

    I delete emails after I read them usually, for some reason I can’t delete this one. Praying for you and your family.

  148. Karen - August 16, 2021 12:38 pm

    Thank you for sharing Mother Mary with us. I wish everyone could have a Mother Mary. I pray her family feels God’s love and peace during this difficult time.

  149. Alison Baird - August 16, 2021 12:38 pm

    I can only hope my children will love me half as well as you loved Mary. Prayers for your family to find peace during this sad time.

  150. maxnayagus - August 16, 2021 12:40 pm

    My very deepest sympathies, to you and your dear wife and all who love Mother Mary, including me. Thank you, Sean, for allowing us into your world – the good and the hard of it all. It makes us all feel a little bit more connected, more human. I am praying for peace to your dear hearts as you grieve this loss. God will provide it to you. You have both been such good, good children to Mary. I am sure beyond any doubt that she loves you still. Godspeed, Miss Mary. Enjoy every second of being in God’s presence – without the pain and suffering of living in this world. You will be missed for a long, long time. But we’ll see you again. I’m sure the kids will tend yo your gardens, don’t you fret! xo

  151. Norma Den - August 16, 2021 12:40 pm

    The Lord bless you and keep you, condolences to you and thanks for having the courage to share with all your readers. Remember “ Jesus wept” so weep whenever you need to.

  152. Kathy - August 16, 2021 12:41 pm

    I love this tribute to your mom-in-law. She must have been an amazing lady. As the quiet days without her begin, my prayer is that you will take time to remember even more and then write your memories for us.

  153. Lori - August 16, 2021 12:43 pm

    Our hearts hurt with you – it has been a privilege to get to your Mother Mary through your writing. Thank you for sharing her with us. May your memories bringing you much comfort in coming days. She will be missed.

  154. Devon Collins - August 16, 2021 12:44 pm

    I’m in tears. I feel I know this lovely lady thru your words. I would have loved to have been her friend. Praying for all of you.

  155. Janice Casey - August 16, 2021 12:44 pm

    What a beautiful tribute. I know she’s smiling down on you. God bless.

  156. Chasity Davis Ritter - August 16, 2021 12:46 pm

    Fly free Mother Mary. Hugs and love and prayers for all your family waiting to see your face again someday. Rest easy now. 🙏

  157. elizabeth Pickelsimer - August 16, 2021 12:50 pm

    So sorry.

  158. Gail Johnston Guinn. Age 82 - August 16, 2021 12:51 pm

    Thank you, Sean for sharing your love for your Mother-in-law. You are an honorable man. God’s comfort and peace to the family of this dear lady. Love and hugs.

  159. Cindy R - August 16, 2021 12:52 pm

    You are blessed! You have just experienced something very special that not many get to. I have so enjoyed your stories with her as she reminds me of my own treasured mother-in-law, a lot like Mother Mary. My heart goes out to you and the rest of the family. May God give you peace until you meet again.

  160. Emily - August 16, 2021 12:52 pm

    Prayers for comfort for her family.

  161. Sue Bell - August 16, 2021 12:53 pm

    Sending you and your family deep condolences. Thank you for sharing Mother Mary with us.

  162. Pinny Bugaeff - August 16, 2021 12:53 pm

    And now I too will miss Mother Mary. I thank you for sharing her gifts with me. I’m the daughter of a Southern Belle Force of Nature so I i know Mary’s welcome to Heaven party will be epic. Party on Mary! God bless and keep you. Sean.

  163. stephenpe - August 16, 2021 12:54 pm

    Mary is proof we learn from death as much as we learn from life. You were a lucky man to have her. Tell the wife we love her. She must be a jewel as her mom was a diamond in the rough.

  164. tom30124 - August 16, 2021 12:54 pm

    Sounds like she was the “true Southern Lady” my condolences to you and your wife and family !!

  165. SilkPurseProductions - August 16, 2021 12:55 pm

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing Mother Mary’s final journey with us. It was a privilege to be able to witness it through your eyes. The thing that strikes me most is how much love this woman shared. She loved and knew she was loved. That is life. I truly am sorry for your loss and for your family’s loss and I am also envious of all that love that will live on.

  166. Trish Ezell - August 16, 2021 12:55 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss, but I rejoice knowing Mother Mary is healed and walking the streets of gold with her Lord and Savior. Jamie’s heart is shattered, and you will support her as only someone who loved her Mother can. My prayers are with you all as you walk this painful path over the next hours and days.

  167. yellowroomupstairs - August 16, 2021 12:56 pm

    so sorry for your loss.

  168. Bob E - August 16, 2021 12:57 pm

    Exceptional eulogy.
    Love shines through.

  169. Ralph Turner - August 16, 2021 12:58 pm

    May the strength of Mary be with you and your family.

  170. Don Gardner, Jr - August 16, 2021 12:58 pm

    Sean, I’m praying for peace and comfort for you and Jamie. Thank you for sharing this very difficult journey during Mary’s final days. Both my parents are in their 80’s and I know that some day I will lose them. While I know that there is no way to prepare for that moment, I think your articles will be a great comfort because you have given me a glimpse into that experience.

  171. Sarah - August 16, 2021 1:00 pm

    We’re so sorry for your loss and are praying for you.

  172. Dottie Doherty - August 16, 2021 1:01 pm

    What a beautiful and loving tribute to a very special lady. We all know her through your words and are sad at her passing. God be with you Mother Mary

  173. Beth E. - August 16, 2021 1:01 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing her with us over these past few weeks.

  174. Anne Godwin - August 16, 2021 1:02 pm

    Sending virtual hugs and real prayers as you learn to live life on this earth without her. What a blessing Mother Mary has been to all of us. What a blessing you’ve been to her and Jamie.

  175. Glenda Busby-Fowler Hinkle - August 16, 2021 1:04 pm

    There is no such thing as “words of comfort”…….it’s a nice play on words but, in actuality, nothing can be said to comfort us when we lose someone we love. So, I will dispense with “words”…….just know there are a lot of people whom you have never met that are praying for comfort for you and Jamie as you go on this very sad journey.

  176. Betty Martinez Lowery - August 16, 2021 1:04 pm

    Sending so much love during this time of mourning and grief, praying that you continue to find comfort in all your many precious memories of this amazing woman. How wonderful to have loved and been loved by such a remarkable woman.

  177. Southern Girl - August 16, 2021 1:06 pm

    Beautiful words forming a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady. Thank you for sharing the love.

  178. Jane Hicks - August 16, 2021 1:10 pm

    Thank you & Jamie for sharing Mother Mary with your readers! I feel like I know her personally & tears fell as I read your fantastic tribute to your MIL! This is your best writing that I have had the honor of reading.
    Prayers for you & your family. May you find comfort in your faith & knowing that Mother Mary is smiling down from heaven!

  179. Annie D Sommers - August 16, 2021 1:10 pm

    RIP Mother Mary. Condolences to Sean and Jamie.

  180. Lisa - August 16, 2021 1:11 pm

    Please know that ya’ll are in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for allowing us to go through this with you, to pray for strength and peace as Mother Mary went from this life to eternal life. Now grieve but don’t stay there long. Honor her with your best life ever. Live.

    P.S.Mother Mary inspired me to be the best Mother in law I can possibly be!

    P.P.S. Best Mother Mary story ever was the Naked and Afraid episode, I laughed for days!

  181. Gina T - August 16, 2021 1:11 pm

    Thank you and Jamie for sharing Mother Mary with us. She was loved and held by so many during her days. We still hold he memory in our hearts right along with you. Give Jamie a hug and tell her a funny story about Mary to make her laugh in spite of her tears.

    Everyone should be so fortunate to have a such a life well lived.
    Much Love.

  182. B.e. Blue - August 16, 2021 1:11 pm

    My prayers for you all. God bless.

  183. Veronica Thomas - August 16, 2021 1:13 pm

    Sean, I am sad for yours and Jamie’s loss.Mother Mary sounds like a hoot and I’m happy that I got to know her through your writings. Y’all were so lucky to have each other and to love unconditionally. Keeping her memory alive through your writing will keep all of us connected. The words you have written are a lesson in love and comfort for those who have ill family members. The joys and insight you shared with us became ours…thank you and many blessings Mother Mary…

  184. Denise Clarke - August 16, 2021 1:15 pm

    Prayers for peace for you, Jamie and your family.

  185. Ruth Mitchell - August 16, 2021 1:16 pm

    Hold those precious memories in your heart. (Phil 4:6)

  186. Elaine Price - August 16, 2021 1:18 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss…and yet knowing her, loving her and being loved by her was only a gain. I’m sorry for the emptiness you both feel…I know how it feels. You are both strong and amazing and bring such light to us all…I know you learned much of that from Mother Mary. So thank you all.

  187. Marjean Brooks - August 16, 2021 1:18 pm

    This one made me cry. I’ve been there, Sean, and you let us all be there with you too. We got to know her through your words and that’s a great legacy. I prayed for you as soon as I awoke this morning, knowing the time was near. Hopefully you and your whole family can remember Mary with more love than pain in time. Blessings.

  188. Gordon - August 16, 2021 1:21 pm

    What a sweet, loving tribute to Mother Mary. Thinking of you, Jaime, and all family members during this time.

  189. Eileen Twiddy - August 16, 2021 1:21 pm

    May God hold her in his strong arms as she rejoices. Deepest sympathy to you, Sean and Jamie. Hers was a life well lived.

  190. Sandy Burnett - August 16, 2021 1:22 pm

    Through this last year I’ve enjoyed the many columns you’ve written about Mary and have come to have a great sense of her being. Through the last week or two since she’s been on hospice I’ve heard the ache coming from your heart. And this column, though not giving details of those left behind, is beautiful portrait of her life and being. I feel as though I’ve known her and share your loss, as much as a stranger can. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your wife and the rest of your family.

  191. Helene Mewborn - August 16, 2021 1:23 pm

    Beautiful sharing, Sean! As a regular reader of your articles, wanted you to know Your sad journey down the passing of “Mother Mary” , has been shared. You have not been alone!
    Deepest sympathy to you, Jamie and all of her family.

  192. Judy 🌻 - August 16, 2021 1:24 pm

    You surely were in the Seat of Honor – To be holding the hand of someone as they transition from this earthly life to Glory, I am thankful you chose to take that Seat of Honor. She is a magnificent person and I know you and Jamie will miss her, and for that I am sorry.

  193. Steve James - August 16, 2021 1:24 pm

    God bless Mother Mary and her loving family.

  194. Suzanne Moore - August 16, 2021 1:25 pm

    My heart is with you, Jamie, and everyone who loved Mother Mary. I know that she was ready to go, and that you all knew she was going, but this still is a very challenging time. My love and prayers are with you all.

  195. David Robinson - August 16, 2021 1:26 pm

    Thank for being so open with your experience. My own mother-in-law passed at the beginning of the pandemic when we couldn’t be with her. Your experience is a treasure.

  196. KEITH - August 16, 2021 1:27 pm

    so sorry for your loss follower in Louisiana

  197. Trilby - August 16, 2021 1:27 pm

    God bless and keep your family💜 Mother Mary is in Glory now.

  198. Ailene - August 16, 2021 1:27 pm

    Beautiful tribute to your mother-in-law. RIP Mother Mary❤️

  199. Linda B - August 16, 2021 1:29 pm

    Such a beautiful tribute. Much love to you and your family.❤

  200. Juanita Münzer - August 16, 2021 1:30 pm

    So grateful that you have shared this with all of us. We learn to give love and receive love, and you had the privilege to experience that with Mother Mary. I hope you can feel the hearts reaching out to your wife, to you and to your family. Thank you for a glimpse of goodness you have shared.

  201. Lucretia Jones - August 16, 2021 1:31 pm

    It is a privilege to have the experience of reading “Mother Mary”. . .thank you, Mother Mary and thank you, Sean.

  202. Helen - August 16, 2021 1:32 pm

    Mother Mary was a gem and she will be missed. You were so lucky to have her as your Mother-In-Law. You and Jamie are in my thoughts and prayers.

  203. JB - August 16, 2021 1:33 pm

    Although we’ve been expecting this, it still comes as a blow to hear of Mother Mary’s passing. Jamie and the rest of the family, including yourself, are in my prayers. She was a remarkable woman.

  204. Joel Knox - August 16, 2021 1:33 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. May God’s mercy and peace be with you and your family.

  205. Wendy - August 16, 2021 1:34 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to your dear mother in law, Sean. I’m so sorry for your great loss.

  206. Debbie Britt - August 16, 2021 1:34 pm

    Sitting here with tears running down my cheeks. Yes, you were blessed but so was she to have people who loved her so much, who cared for her when she couldn’t care for herself, and that stayed by her side as she was drawn from this life into her eternal home. God bless and comfort y’all!

  207. Nan Williams - August 16, 2021 1:35 pm

    What a beautiful legacy. What a beautiful tribute. What a beautiful woman.
    She was blessed to have you – as she was a blessing to you.
    Thank you for your thoughts this past week as she prepared for her ultimate journey – that has been a blessing to me.
    Nan W.

  208. Lynn Carol Owen - August 16, 2021 1:35 pm

    I was completely immersed in the story of Mother Mary. I feel like I’ve known her my entire life. She was every woman I’ve ever known, yet unique. I’m grieving for your loss. My deepest condolences.

  209. Debbie - August 16, 2021 1:36 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss! I know you all will miss her desperately. Prayers of comfort are being sent up for you and your wife.

  210. Tracy McCallum - August 16, 2021 1:39 pm

    My deepest condolences to you, your wife, and the family!

  211. Marilyn - August 16, 2021 1:39 pm

    Peace and comfort to you, Sean and Jamie. Thank you for sharing Mother Mary with us – her life – and her passing to her heavenly reward.

  212. Lynn Pappas - August 16, 2021 1:44 pm

    So sorry for your loss. 🙏

  213. Kathleen M Monfort - August 16, 2021 1:46 pm

    Please accept my condolences for you and your family. To be well-loved is the outward sign of a life well-lived.

  214. Stephanie - August 16, 2021 1:49 pm

    As annoying as it may be when your crew leaves their rinsed dishes on top of the counter near the sink apt for loading, they all know it’s simply the best option to let the pro load!

    Mary reminded me of my great Aunts from Jones, OK. To know them was especially an honor!

    RIP Mary!

  215. H J Patterson - August 16, 2021 1:49 pm

    She’s whole again.

  216. Gloria - August 16, 2021 1:50 pm

    Oh my goodness!!! What a wonderful tribute to this special lady who I wish I had known!
    You are something else Sean Dietrich!!
    I Love you and your writing!
    Gloria G.
    Loris, South Carolina

  217. Elizabeth - August 16, 2021 1:50 pm

    Oh my. The Angels have gained a new member. God Bless all. Beautiful sentiment. Beautiful. My eyes are stinging and my cheeks are moist. Beautiful.

  218. Ann - August 16, 2021 1:52 pm

    Sean and Jamie, I am soooo sorry for your loss AND your gain of precious memories of a lovely lady’s special life ( of which you were a large part). I am waaaaaaay older than you and treasure my still vibrant times with my own Mother and Mother in law…they are as vivid now as yours are. You have been blessed with a loving family and you will be forever strong because of the joy you have been given. As sadness turns to acceptance and to peace….peace be with you both 🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️❤️

  219. oldandblessed - August 16, 2021 1:52 pm

    Brother, you write some good stuff. For some reason, I knew what you’d write after the passing of Mother Mary would be powerful and emotionally moving. Mother Mary sounds like the mother-in-law many would loved to have. I offer you my sincerest condolences. I’m sure you’ll keep this wonderful lady in your heart forever.

  220. Marie Ryals - August 16, 2021 1:53 pm

    I pray there’s someone who remembers me as dearly as you have remembered Miss Mary

  221. Linda Clayton - August 16, 2021 1:54 pm

    I have been comforted by the words of Judith Bullock Morse in the death of a loved one. “You will be remembered when the flowers bloom in spring, and in the summertime remembered in the fun that summer brings. You will be remembered when fall brings leaves of gold. In the wintertime remembered in the stories that are told. And you will be remembered each day right from the start, for the memories that we once shared forever live within my heart.” I hope this brings some comfort to you and Jamie and Mother Mary’s family.

  222. D. B. Robinson - August 16, 2021 1:55 pm

    Rest in peace, Mary Finlay Martin.

  223. B. Don Daniel - August 16, 2021 1:56 pm

    Here is a song for you as you mourn Mother Mary – entitled “To Cry for You”

  224. Stacey Wallace - August 16, 2021 1:58 pm

    Sean, you are a special person, and my heart hurts for you and Jamie. May God bless and comfort you both. Love y’all!

  225. Robert L Chiles - August 16, 2021 1:59 pm

    May she rest in Peace and rise in Glory

  226. Marge Clark - August 16, 2021 1:59 pm

    How blessed you were to have had her (and her wonderful daughter.) And how VERY blessed she was to have had you. Prayers for strength, comfort and gratitude for all who loved her.

    Thank you for sharing her final journey with us.

  227. Sonny Moncrief - August 16, 2021 2:01 pm

    I had a mother in law Alyce. Parallel story for me.
    The day she died I lost my best buddy.

  228. Patricia Schmaltz - August 16, 2021 2:01 pm

    Crying again.. you ALL were so lucky to have each other. Thank you for sharing. Hugs to you and Jamie.

  229. Gayle Wilson - August 16, 2021 2:03 pm

    A beautiful completely honest tribute. If we all could be held in the same esteem as Mother Mary, the world would be a better place. Prayers for each of you.

  230. Sue Adams - August 16, 2021 2:06 pm

    Your introduction to Mother Mary has been most inspiring. I have 3 sons in law and if just one of them could hold such special feelings I would be most blessed. My sympathy to all her family but oh the memories!!

  231. belcherd6bellsouthnet - August 16, 2021 2:09 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey with Mary. Prayers for you and your family.

  232. Leslie Laurendine - August 16, 2021 2:10 pm

    We are richer and better people for having traveled this journey with you in the way that we could. Thank you BOTH for sharing such a special story of life, and love, and family. God Bless you all, and of how the Heavens Sang when she arrived and was welcomed home with open arms.

  233. susanrennianderson - August 16, 2021 2:11 pm

    Sean, I am so sorry for your infinite loss. God gave us memories. Enjoy yours!

  234. Linda Chapman - August 16, 2021 2:12 pm

    God bless you and the family. What a beautiful tribute to this beautiful lady…..

  235. Beverly Horton - August 16, 2021 2:13 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Praying for you, Jamie, and all of the family ❤️🙏

  236. Leslie Laurendine - August 16, 2021 2:13 pm

    We are much better and richer people for being allowed to travel this road with you. Thank you for sharing so many things with us…. blessings and LOVE to BOTH of you as you begin this next phase of the new normal. Oh how the Heavens Sang when she arrived and met the face of God. From the greatest of love here on earth, to the greatest of love there ever will be. Prayers for you all!

  237. Hope Ewans - August 16, 2021 2:14 pm

    Sean, I feel your loss like it is my own. I believe you gave Mother Mary the greatest blessing of all by holding her hand and escorting her to Heaven’s Gate. Prayers of comfort for you and all of your family. You are loved.

  238. AlaRedClayGirl - August 16, 2021 2:14 pm

    I have always found these excerpts from Henry Scott Holland’s “Death the King of Terrors” to be comforting: “Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Laugh as we have always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me, let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well.”
    May God grant you strength, comfort and peace in the days and weeks ahead.

  239. magnoliaemy - August 16, 2021 2:18 pm

    It is so hard to lose the matriarch of the family.

  240. Michael L Bishop - August 16, 2021 2:21 pm

    Have followed your columns during Mother Mary’s weeks’ long journey into her everlasting tomorrow and thank you wholeheartedly for carrying us with you on that difficult but tender ultimate trip. Thanks for the verbal portrait you drew of her over these days, for Jamie’s and your daily tributes to her of attention and care, and for sharing augh-provoking instances of Mother Mary’s personality, individuality, and spirit. Some reminded us of an elderly woman here in Pine Mountain, a member of our church, who died a few years ago after a couple of nonfatal car accidents that nonetheless shook her up bodily and emotionally and certainly contributed to her demise. That gal, like Mother Mary, loved life. She was always up for a dance, a party, a wedding, a cruise, anything out of the ordinary to which she could respond with the exuberance and gaiety woven into her DNA at the long-ago moment of her conception. She wasn’t a relative of ours, just — “just” is the wrong word, of course — a lively, eccentric, Southern not-so-gentlewomanly dynamo moving on in age who didn’t let anything, not even the standard proprieties, hold her back for very long and who took a lot of the world’s energy with her when she departed and whom we recall with amazement and wistful nostalgia to this day. It seems to us, from your vivid written sketches, that Mother Mary was akin, if not a blood twin, to our late Sister Fran, and we grieve Mother Mary’s loss with you and for you. Blessings on all who knew, loved, and miss her, you and Jamie at the top of that high high.

  241. Suzi - August 16, 2021 2:22 pm

    I am grateful to known her thru your eyes, she was definitely one of a kind and a force to be reckoned with! I admire her moxie and humor. I miss her.

  242. Susan Smith - August 16, 2021 2:23 pm

    May God hold her in the palm of his hand and bring comfort to your family. My sympathies.

  243. Rebecca Cooper - August 16, 2021 2:24 pm

    Beautifully written, as usual, and heatbreaking. You brought up every memory of every Southern Woman I have had the privilege to have known. Thank You.

  244. Kathy Sloan - August 16, 2021 2:26 pm

    You have done great honor to your mother in law with your heartfelt columns. Thankful she is at peace and breathing easy, but oh, so sorry for y’all’s huge loss.

  245. RSW - August 16, 2021 2:31 pm

    A beautiful tribute. So sorry for your loss.
    May her memory always be a blessing to all of you.

  246. Susan Wold - August 16, 2021 2:33 pm

    Sean and Jamie, I am so sorry for your loss. You have wonderful memories and great faith that will comfort you as you greave.

  247. Kathy - August 16, 2021 2:41 pm

    What a precious tribute! You were and are blessed.

  248. Judy Powell - August 16, 2021 2:41 pm

    Thank you for finding words. 💗 You and Jamie are in our thought and prayers

  249. Pat - August 16, 2021 2:41 pm

    God bless you, Sean, and your sweet wife. And God bless “Mother” Mary. May she Rest In Peace and rise in glory. ❤️

  250. Linda Tucker - August 16, 2021 2:42 pm

    Please know that I morn along with all of you. It was always great to read of the “adventures” that Mary and you shared. I know that you are acting as a rock for your wife but I am sure that you also want to cry for your loss.

  251. Karen P - August 16, 2021 2:45 pm

    Such wonderful tribute columns you have been writing! I am glad she is at peace now and am so sorry for you and Jamie and the rest of your family and friends. I know she will be missed but what amazing memories you have with her.

  252. GARY - August 16, 2021 2:46 pm


  253. Mary - August 16, 2021 2:47 pm

    So sorry for your loss. She seemed like a wonderful woman who will be dearly missed.

  254. Becky - August 16, 2021 2:48 pm

    You held her hand in this world as Jesus took her hand and guided her to eternity. May the strength and peace of God be near your family in the days ahead.

  255. Raymonda Schwartz - August 16, 2021 2:48 pm

    May her memory be for a blessing (and a comfort).

  256. Christina - August 16, 2021 2:49 pm

    Thank you for introducing Mother Mary to us. It was a great privilege to know her across the miles! I am already missing her liveliness in her fun loving ways. Big hugs and prayers to Jamie, you and those who love her dearly.

  257. Janet - August 16, 2021 2:52 pm


  258. Patsy Gordon - August 16, 2021 2:55 pm

    So very, very sorry😢🙏❤️🌹

  259. Susan - August 16, 2021 2:57 pm

    We should all be so fortunate in life to have one person who truly knew us (warts and all), accepted us, and loved us. It was a two-way street for you and Mother Mary. Deepest, sincere condolences for your loss.

  260. Suellen - August 16, 2021 3:00 pm

    Prayers for strength and comfort to sustain you through the next difficult days. Know that we mourn her passing with you.

  261. Barbara - August 16, 2021 3:02 pm

    Mother Mary, may you be rejoicing in the splendor of God’s Heavenly gardens. I imagine, as Sean described, you’re probably already knee deep in potting soil that doesn’t even exist as we know it, because it’s God’s HEAVENLY soil, and I imagine also sunscreen won’t be necessary because of God’s Heavenly angels are there to protect YOU. The journey you’ve left behind is one most would cling to, as Sean so delicately described, but in true Mother Mary form, you’ve BUSTED LOOSE, and your own Heavenly wings are part of the garb you’ve exchanged from the duds ‘down south’.

    Sean, your journey with Mother Mary, (she really is at Saint Mother Mary level), has been both joyous and hysterical. THANK YOU for letting us peek into your world and please share with Jamie that her BELOVED MOTHER is now etched into the hearts of your readers. A ‘new normal’ will now descend to adjust to, and accept. But as we who believe our loved ones are merely behind a veil awaiting our reunion, may your family be comforted that Mother Mary is STILL with YOU, and probably will maker her presence known a time or two. 🙏🏻😍👍🏻👏🏻😊❣

  262. Shelton A. - August 16, 2021 3:02 pm

    Deeply sorry for your loss. My sympathies and prayers are with you, Jamie, and the rest of the family. Please give Jamie a hug and tell her I loved the Mother Mary stories.

  263. Lauren Lopez - August 16, 2021 3:03 pm

    Sean, we will be praying the love, comfort and strength of our Lord Jesus over you, Jamie, and all the family.

  264. Shelton A. - August 16, 2021 3:07 pm

    So sorry for your loss. My sympathies, thoughts, and prayers are with you all. Be comforted knowing Mother Mary is free and no more fibrosis. Please give Jamie a hug. God’s peace and comfort be with you.

    • Debbie g - August 17, 2021 1:24 pm

      I love the song “the dance “. I could have missed the pain. But I would have had to miss the dance And what a beautiful dance you all had together. Love to all and prayers

  265. Joy Rogers - August 16, 2021 3:07 pm

    Words cannot even come close to tell you how I feel. Someone sent me the following when my husband died; I have changed the him to her, it helped me and I hope it will be comforting to you and Jamie; it is called “Her Smile”.

    Though her smile is gone forever,
    And her hand I cannot touch,
    I still have the memories
    of the one I love so much.
    Your memory is my keepsake
    with which I’ll never part,
    God has you in His keeping,
    I have you in my heart.

    Much love
    Joy Rogers

  266. Pat - August 16, 2021 3:08 pm

    So sorry for your and Jamie’s loss! I knew how much you really loved her by your last written line. Wow!

  267. Sandra Grooms - August 16, 2021 3:19 pm

    I have loved every word written about Mother Mary. I know the entire family will miss her earthly presence. I loved my mother-in-law as well and held her hand as she took her last breath. It is an honor.

  268. Ray Quinnelly - August 16, 2021 3:22 pm

    Dear Sean,
    Thank you for sharing Miz Mary with us. I pray for peaceful and happy memories for you and your family.

    We are all just walking each other home.- Ram Dass

  269. Ann Bodiford - August 16, 2021 3:25 pm

    I am so sorry to read about Mother Mary passing away. I have followed all of your stories but this one really touched my heart. I wish I could have been holding my mother’s hand when she went to be with our sweet Lord. Praying for everyone in her family to have comfort and peace that only God can give to them. You really had an awesome mother-in-law.

  270. Lavonne Blake - August 16, 2021 3:25 pm

    Much sympathy to you and your family. I am an “ orphan “ (no parents or in-laws) and I feel your pain.

  271. Patricia Gibson - August 16, 2021 3:28 pm

    Sean, prayers for all your family! Mary had a life to celebrate and I know she will be missed ❤️❤️

  272. Donna Simons - August 16, 2021 3:29 pm

    God bless Mother Mary…and God bless you and Jamie.

  273. Samantha & Matt Cutshall - August 16, 2021 3:29 pm

    We are sorry for the loss of “Mother Mary”. May God give you peace during this sad time. Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories with us.

  274. Barbara - August 16, 2021 3:31 pm

    Dear Sean and Jamie,

    My heart goes out to you. I know it’s a shock, even though you have know for weeks this was going to happen. It won’t seem real for a while.

    I have loved reading about Mother Mary. She was real hoot. A real Southern Lady who could “bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.” (Remember that ad?) I glad I got to “know” her, even though we never met.

    I know your memories are going to sustain you at this time. Hold on to that and hold on to the future when you will all meet again.

    God Bless you Both,
    Barbara R.

  275. Sue Peters-Ferree - August 16, 2021 3:32 pm

    Your last line says it all. Been there and done that with Mama right there in Walton County. My condolences to Jamie, you and the rest of the family and friends. Be kind to yourselves.

  276. Dawnie B - August 16, 2021 3:33 pm

    My heart is breaking for you and Jamie. Your expressive words put her life & her passing into such a loving tribute. May God comfort you with the comfort that only He can give.

  277. Barbara Q - August 16, 2021 3:37 pm

    Rest In Peace, Mother Mary.

  278. Cathy S Davis - August 16, 2021 3:43 pm

    You and your wife have my deepest condolences on the loss of her dear mother. You both will remain in my prayers

  279. Rebecca Dauphinee - August 16, 2021 3:44 pm

    God bless you, Sean. Hold your memories close. You are all in my prayers.

  280. Bettye - August 16, 2021 3:47 pm


  281. Sonya Tuttle - August 16, 2021 3:48 pm

    Tears…they help release those feelings that choke us. Yo have done a masterful job of eulogizing her!

  282. Diann - August 16, 2021 3:53 pm

    What a beautiful tribute Sean. After all your posts about her, I feel as though I know her, and I mourn with you, your wife and family. What an emptiness there will be. The celebration of life service will be wonderful and memorable but the fellowship of family and friends will be amazing. As bad as I hate funerals that is so much my favorite part. I don’t think love and caring gets expressed so freely as in those times. Soak it in- laugh much- hug tightly- and remember…

  283. Robyn - August 16, 2021 3:54 pm

    Oh Sean…sending all my luv and hugs for all of you. A life well lived is what Mother Mary had. Prayers…

  284. gaffstergal - August 16, 2021 3:56 pm

    Deepest sympathy and what a blessing to have had such a special friend! Terrific tribute. I loved my mother-in-law and got to hold her hand a lot near the end, and had a very special non-verbal communication with the eyes with her that is a cherished memory. She lived to be 100 and had 3 sons she reared alone from her mid-forties. I got to be her daughter: lucky me!

  285. Tracy - August 16, 2021 3:58 pm

    The Little Ship

    I stood watching as the little ship sailed out to sea.

    The setting sun tinted his white sails with a golden light, and as he disappeared from sight, a voice at my side whispered, “He is gone.”

    But the sea was a narrow one.

    On the farther shore a little band of friends had gathered to watch and wait in happy expectation.

    Suddenly they caught sight of the tiny sail and, at the very moment when my companion had whispered, “He is gone” a glad shout went up in joyous welcome,

    “Here he comes!”

    Love, hugs and prayers to you and Jamie.

  286. Deborah Lockard - August 16, 2021 4:02 pm

    Dear Jamie, I am so very sorry for your loss. Please be very kind to yourself for a good long time while you heal from the absence of your Mama. Let Sean be there for you. He is strong and you can lean on him. One day, you will be able to enjoy your memories of her without the pain , I promise. With much love and prayers for both of you, Deb

  287. Rene Mims - August 16, 2021 4:03 pm

    Dear Sean, thank you so much for sharing your Mary with us. God give you and your family peace and strength as you journey through your time here on earth without her until you are one day with her again. Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  288. Susan - August 16, 2021 4:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing this journey with us. Mother Mary was quite the character. What wonderful memories you have of her.

  289. Audrice - August 16, 2021 4:15 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Sean. Prayers for you and your family.

  290. Joan Buchanan Mewborn - August 16, 2021 4:22 pm

    Love and sincere sympathy to all of you. Be thankful for the wonderful relationship you shared, and know that Mother Mary is charming the Father and the angels with her unique personality as she did all who knew her here. Thank you for sharing your loving family stories with us.

  291. Charlotte Laughter - August 16, 2021 4:23 pm

    RIP Mother Mary..

  292. Lynda Gayle Knight - August 16, 2021 4:26 pm

    Been anxiously awaiting for this with you and the family! Your capturing feelings, emotions, stories of Mother Mary and others, supplied me a pick- up every day, awaiting your update! Hope your writing has been the outlet you needed going through these day. May God richly bless you and yours through the last farewell to a great Southern lady❣️❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻

  293. Dawn - August 16, 2021 4:29 pm

    And it was a privilege for your readers to get to know and love her through you! Thank you for sharing this beautiful human being with all of us!

  294. Dianne - August 16, 2021 4:36 pm

    What a beautiful and wonderful tribute to Mother Mary, Sean. So glad you were there to hold her hand as she walked into glory. I’m sure she will always be a part of you and will always keep an eye on you. Thank you!

  295. Mimi Phillips - August 16, 2021 4:53 pm

    Dear Sean, I’ve walked with you and your family through Mother Mary’s transitioning journey. I am an old lady (80) who once wore Youth Dew. I have been privileged to be with family members as they drew that last breath – and I sincerely mean it was a privilege!

    You spoke of the silence that filled the room. I had been caregiver for a dear aunt. She had required care ‘round the clock, and we had the most wonderful group of women, sisters. They all came to be with us as the time grew near. These women held my hand and held me up, and when she slipped out of the confining body and her soul began to soar, a deafening silence surrounded us. The eldest sister, a strong and wise woman leaned in close to me and asked if I felt the silence, I squeezed her hand and nodded “yes.” She whispered in my ear, “That’s God.” And with that simple statement from her, I felt a great peace wrap around me like a warm blanket.
    May all of Mother Mary’s family be wrapped in a warm blanket of peace.

    My given name is Mary, and I too Love Cape San Blas.

  296. Kit - August 16, 2021 4:56 pm

    You have honored Mother Mary and all of us in your sharing her with us. Thank you for that inestimable gift to so many perfect strangers. We will miss her to and hope you will keep writing about her. We need examples like Mother Mary, and your descriptions of her, to help us look at own own family members with new, more appreciative and loving, eyes.

  297. Linda J Hendrix - August 16, 2021 5:03 pm

    Thank you for your beautiful poetic memory of who your mother-in-love was to you. You are a very blessed man. May the honor of holding her hand during her transition be forever ingrained & cherished, for I believe God chooses those to witness His plans for us. My deepest condolences & great peace in the days ahead to you & family.

  298. Michelle Emerling - August 16, 2021 5:11 pm

    What a beautiful testament to Mother Mary! I wish I could have known her.

  299. Jody - August 16, 2021 5:20 pm

    Sean and Jamie my heartfelt condolences for the death of your precious Mother Mary.

  300. Joyce Odom - August 16, 2021 5:21 pm

    You and all Mother Mary’s family have my sympathy. Yet I rejoice with you for having her with you so long and for enjoying the shared love.
    God be with you in these trying days.

  301. Randi-Lei Bailey - August 16, 2021 5:29 pm

    Rest In Peace Mother Mary! You’ll be so missed. Thinking if you Sean and Jamie.
    All my love,

  302. Brio - August 16, 2021 5:31 pm

    Please continue to write more stories about MM. I’m sure you have many stories that you haven’t told yet.

  303. Wadena - August 16, 2021 5:42 pm


  304. Kathleen K Henry - August 16, 2021 5:45 pm

    I have been reading your bog for over two years, and I have never thought about leavng a comment. Because of me, our Presbyterian pastor (and good friend) reads your column daily, and has twice preached on something you have said. Today as you write about your Mother Mary, I must tell you that I am crying at her loss and at the beauty of your love for her, as expressed in so many past columns. It was a privelege to read your many columns recently describing your death vigil. (And screw the dude who said he wished you would write about something else for a change! I loved how you wrote about/to him, btw, though I’m guessing your tone went right over his head…)
    I extend my profound sympathies to you and to your wife as you grieve the loss of such an amazing friend, mother and mother-in-law.
    K Henry, Darnestown, MD

  305. d, masmar - August 16, 2021 5:45 pm

    don’t ever stop writing–; whatever the subject it touches my soul1

  306. Margie - August 16, 2021 5:52 pm

    Pax nobiscum with all my hearts love

  307. Honey Rothstein - August 16, 2021 5:54 pm

    God bless you, Sean and Jamie. Thank you for giving us the privilege to know you Mother Mary. She would have been smiling today by all accounts!

  308. brenda nowicki - August 16, 2021 5:56 pm

    So sorry for y’all’s loss! Sounds like Mother Mary brought y’all a lifetime of wonderful memories. That’s an achievement I hope to bring to my family! If I can just manage a smigen of her talents in the time I have left! The dishwasher thing I’ve mastered, I’ll have to work harder on the rest.

  309. Waunette - August 16, 2021 5:58 pm

    So sorry for your loss 🙏❤️🌹

  310. Carole Cornell - August 16, 2021 6:02 pm

    What a beautiful testament to Mary! I feel like I came to know her through your writing. I am so sorry for your loss. Hugs to you and your wife.

  311. Sandra Wolfe - August 16, 2021 6:07 pm

    Sean, the days will go slow at first as you remember all the good times you had together, but charrish them. She sounded like someone we would love to have spent time with. A special lady with a BEAUTIFUL soul. Bless her family as she would have done. Remember Mother Mary and smile. Remember when she walked in when you had your pants down, remember watching tv with her and laugh. She would like that

  312. Robbie Ross - August 16, 2021 6:09 pm

    My deepest sympathies for the incredible loss of your precious Mother Mary. Thank you for sharing her with your devoted readers.

  313. Debby Melko - August 16, 2021 6:10 pm

    Your beautiful words about Mary remind me of my own Mom. I was 39 when we lost her to cancer; I am now 70…older than either of of my parents lived. Nobody has ever loved me as much as she did and I still think of her daily. I am close with my 3 children and I am grateful for that. I learned how to love from my Mom and it sounds as if you learned much from your Mother Mary. Prayers for you and your family.

  314. Lisa - August 16, 2021 6:22 pm

    Sean, I am so very sorry for Jamie’s and your loss. Your recent posts have so beautifully expressed the life of Mary and your love for her. My hearts hurts for you snd your family.

  315. Linda Horne - August 16, 2021 6:29 pm

    Prayers for you and your family…what a wonderful privilege it has been to read about this wonderful woman you had the privilege of to be a member of her family!! Blessings!!

  316. J.D. Zeigler - August 16, 2021 6:40 pm

    Thoughts and prayers for you and yours. So sorry for your loss.

  317. Trish Merck - August 16, 2021 6:45 pm


    Yours posts about mother Mary have been timely….you see my dad, Roland, passed away in Mobile AL. this past Saturday, August 14th. Dad was in the Mobile infirmary and no one could go see him…..but he was one special patient…so my brother and my dad’s multi decade sweetheart were aloud in the room. Dad’s eyes were closed, and his body was shutting down…..BUT, my brother got his cell phone out and we called and we 3 kids spoke of memories and lessons learned, grandchildren sent texts and recordings telling their Opa how special he was in their lives and so did Dad’s sisters and a multitude of friends. Strange how these modern day gadgets become tools to help us in difficult times. I didn’t tire of your writings of Mary, I enjoyed learning how special she was in your life.
    May you and your wife feel God’s presence and peace during this difficult time.

    • Patricia DuBois - August 16, 2021 7:05 pm

      I wish I could give you a hug. I am so sad for you. Please don’t stop Mother Mary’s stories just yet. We can talk about her for a bit longer…

  318. Frank Zimmerman - August 16, 2021 6:51 pm

    God Bless you and Mother Mary. I also prefer my tomato Peeled. RIP from Yeehaw junction

  319. Linda Moon - August 16, 2021 6:59 pm

    Through tears at the title I am writing. And then I saw the time almost as a metaphor…12:13, as if waiting for that next moment in time, in order….12,13. There’s order to living and at the ending of it, too. Like Mary, I prefer my tomatoes peeled before eating. I do love my spaghetti, though, and I would loved to have met her and been her friend. It’s been a privilege to know her through her beloved What a hand for her to hold as she died….yours.

  320. Apric73 - August 16, 2021 7:02 pm

    My breath caught when I learned you held her hand at the moment. My grandma passed quietly with her whole family in the living room playing games together. The house got unearthly quiet at one moment & one went to check. It was gracious – a moment you never forget. Continued prayers for the events ahead & the sore hearts.

  321. Mari Bonomi - August 16, 2021 7:10 pm

    I am so sorry for your and your family’s loss. May Mother Mary’s memory be for a blessing to all of you.

  322. NancyB. - August 16, 2021 7:15 pm

    You, Jamie and rest of Mother Mary’s family and scores of friends are in my prayers today. You and Jamie both gave all you had materially, emotionally, and physically to make her life as joyful, satisfying, and precious as possible for as long as possible. With love and sincerest sympathy–

  323. MAM - August 16, 2021 7:48 pm

    Platitudes of “I’m sorry” seem so lame. But I truly am sorry for your loss. God has blessed you and Jamie and Mother Mary, so I’m sure she is up there sharing her tales and looking down on you and Jamie with love. She will continue to take care of you from her home with God. And since it was not unexpected, I managed to make it through most of the memorial without tears, until your last line, which still chokes me up. Your writing is among the most powerful that I read every day. And FYI, I’ve never had to scroll through this many comments before, so you know how many prayers you are receiving! May God continue to bless you and help you through your and Jamie’s loss!

  324. Barbara J Schweck - August 16, 2021 7:49 pm

    What a wonderful tribute you have given to your mother in law the past weeks. You were so blessed to have had her in your life, just as she was to have you for a “son”. Prayers for you, Jamie and the rest of the family as you send Dear Mary on to Beulah Land!!!

  325. Liz Watkins - August 16, 2021 8:28 pm

    Sean,I’d say the 3 of you were abundantly blessed with each other!
    God Bless MM and prayers for you and Jaime!
    I loss my Mom in Dec of 2013- not a day goes by, without me thinking of her or wishing I could speak to her! I miss her so much!
    Love and God Bless❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️

  326. Debra - August 16, 2021 8:43 pm

    God bless you and Jamie as you mourn your great loss. I lift y’all up in prayer. 🙏

  327. Deborah Jarvis - August 16, 2021 8:46 pm

    Thank you for your heartfelt posts about your dear Mother Mary.
    It’s almost seemed like she was a relative of mine.
    I’ve been awaiting this time with you and Jamie.
    When our parents pass, we become the Old Generation- kind of sobering realization.
    Prayers for you and Jamie as you begin a new normal.

  328. Jo - August 16, 2021 8:58 pm

    May God give you and Jaimie comfort as you mourn the loss of this special lady. ❤️

  329. Linda P. in Kansas - August 16, 2021 8:59 pm

    Sean, you are an amazing man; and Mother Mary was an amazing woman. I will never forgive myself for not being able to hold my mother’s hand when she died. I just wasn’t a big enough person to watch that happen. Thankfully, my brother was, but I will always feel that I let her down in the very worst way. I’m so glad for both you and Mother Mary that you were there with her, and now she will always and forever be with you. May she rest in peace.

  330. Rebecca Souders - August 16, 2021 9:06 pm

    Sympathy, blessings, and peace to you and your family, Sean.

  331. Terrye Aycock - August 16, 2021 9:14 pm

    God Speed Mary and my profound sympathy for your loss of a woman who must have been a force to be reckoned with. May your memories of this remarkable woman bring you comfort in today and the days to follow

  332. Bud Cafrroll - August 16, 2021 9:32 pm

    You and the writer of Ecclesiastes say it so well! Queen Mary march on!!

  333. Kathy McLean-Davis - August 16, 2021 9:40 pm

    Thank you for allowing us to walk this journey with you. It’s a path we all take now and again. Sharing it with others brings comfort, companionship and someone to help carry the emotion of it all. I’ve sat at many a Methodist spread in my life. I would love to have sat at Mary’s. God bless you.

  334. Dolores S Fort - August 16, 2021 9:57 pm

    So sorry, Sean. Wishing for you God’s comfort, strength, peace and love. I understand because I’ve been there, too. Our hope is knowing where our loved ones are and that one day we will be united again. God’s blessings for you and Jamie.

  335. Sherry - August 16, 2021 10:00 pm

    That was such a touching tribute. You make me cry every time. I’ve vowed a number of times to unsubscribe, but I cannot because of your writing skills. Someday when my time comes I hope there will be someone to say something nice about me. Alas, I don’t think so. They will compare me to Maude and that will be enough

  336. Louise Todd - August 16, 2021 10:10 pm

    Beautiful tribute, Sean; your family will be in our prayers.

  337. cekey44 - August 16, 2021 10:33 pm

    So very sorry for the loss of your wonderful Mother-in-law. I wish your entire family the best as y’all face the future without this wonderful woman.

  338. Bebe - August 16, 2021 10:34 pm

    This is beautiful. It’s hard even when you know it’s coming and that their bodies have worn out. Prayers for comfort and peace.

  339. Ernie in Columbus, GA - August 16, 2021 10:56 pm

    First – Prayers and blessings to Jamie, you, and all of Mother Mary’s extended family. If she had any doubt how much she was loved, it wasn’t because of a lack of evidence. And to leave this world knowing you are loved is a mighty solid source of peace. Second – Thank you for sharing this journey with us. A proverb says “Troubles shared are halved. Joys shared are doubled.” I hope you felt the weight of the load you were carrying lighten just a bit each time you wrote about Mother Mary’s extended transition to her new, healthy body – and reunion with your father-in-law. You’re a gifted storyteller, Mr. Dietrich. You might not be as polished as you’d like, but please don’t change a thing. Love covers anything critics may say you lack. And your stories are thick with love. Blessings.

  340. Lucinda Harding - August 16, 2021 11:28 pm

    Thank you for sharing all of the memorable MM stories and also for the delightful pictures of her you posted on Instagram. The twinkle in those beautiful eyes leads me to believe she was quite the character to know and love. I’ve enjoyed all of your fond memories, so full of love, laughter and fun times you’ve treasured with this lovely lady.
    My sincere condolences to Jamie, you and the family of Mother Mary. 🙏🏼

  341. Gene Downing - August 16, 2021 11:48 pm

    Our love and prayers to you and the family.

  342. pennyjohnson - August 17, 2021 12:05 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve enjoyed your posts and pics of Mother Mary. What a beautiful tribute! Hugs.

  343. David S Doom - August 17, 2021 12:13 am

    A sound, smell, song, TV program, etc may flood you with emotion, enjoy these moments. They show how much you cared for each other and the love you had for Mother Mary.

  344. Paula - August 17, 2021 12:14 am

    I am so sorry for your loss of such a remarkable woman. She came to life for us through your words and stories. What a blessing you were in her life! You love her daughter wholeheartedly and without reservation. No mother could ask for more in a son-in-law. But because of that love, you opened your heart to Mother Mary as well, and look what you both gained! Thank you for sharing her with us.

  345. Vicki Hendrickson - August 17, 2021 12:27 am

    I’m so very sorry for you, your wife and all who love Mother Mary. Please keep telling stories about her. I would have loved her if she was my grandmother. Sending love and hugs to your family.

  346. Sharon - August 17, 2021 12:31 am

    Condolences to you and your family. To have inspired such love and devotion is itself proof of a wonderful woman who lived well.

  347. Pat Dimsey - August 17, 2021 12:32 am

    You both were so blessed & your wife is blessed that you lived her mom so much.
    You really honored her in this writing.
    I had a mother n law like that. She was my husbands mother.
    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. I think I would have liked her.

  348. Karen - August 17, 2021 1:28 am

    Love 💘💘💘

  349. Linda Harris - August 17, 2021 1:32 am

    What a wonderful blessing to have someone touch your life the way Mother Mary touched yours. Sending deepest condolences to you and Jamie.

  350. Larry Popwell - August 17, 2021 1:44 am

    You have reached out and touched my deepest, inner self.

  351. beckysimonsfarm - August 17, 2021 1:57 am

    Mother Mary is with her heavenly Father now. Love and condolences to the family.

  352. throughmyeyesusa - August 17, 2021 2:03 am

    Thank you, Lord God Almighty for taking Mary into Your loving arms where we know she is now garbed in glory, free from her earthly pain. Be with Jamie & Sean in their sorrow as You have been with them throughout; in their love of mother & mother-in-law, in their care for her during her final illness, as they lovingly assisted her in her transition from this existence to Your care, & as they struggle with grief & acceptance. Please bring them comfort & peace in the knowledge that their Mother Mary is at last safe at home with You. Amen

    With love, tears, & thanks for your incredible generosity in including us all in your love, your joy &, ultimately, your sorrow. I am praying for your comfort & peace, & for Mother Mary’s soul, now safe in Jesus’ care.

  353. Denise Mills - August 17, 2021 2:13 am

    Sean, you nailed it. It is indeed an honor and a privilege and a blessing to hold a loved one’s hand as they die. A blessing that has too often been lost in modern society when we are separated from both birth and death. As a former hospice and long-term care nurse, and now a labor and delivery nurse and birth doula, I have been blessed beyond measure. I pray for solace for you and all who love Mary!

  354. sueellen9497 - August 17, 2021 2:25 am

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. Your wonderful tribute makes me sad I did not know “Mother Mary”, she sounds like the kind of “spunky, southern” grandmother-type I absolutely love.

  355. Lyn in Fairhope - August 17, 2021 2:35 am

    “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26

    What a beautiful tribute you have offered for your mother-in-law …and for Jamie. I can tell from your words Mother Mary was a very special person, and I know she is in a better place.

    God bless you all and thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  356. Greg and Rita Faber - August 17, 2021 3:29 am

    Dear Sean and family – “Parting is such sweet sorrow” – or at least that’s what someone wrote who was pretty smart. You have all stood the long watch; you have all been taken to the brink and stepped back; and now you have lived Mother Mary across that great river to those she loves on the other side, where she will be waiting for you. All our hearts are with you as you go through these next painful weeks. Thank you for sharing your long journey with us, and please share your memories that will keep her alive for all of us. Gif bless you all.

  357. Mary Coley - August 17, 2021 5:29 am

    An absolutely wonderful tribute filled with so much love and admiration. I never met her but I know she was a humdinger.

  358. Verna Kays - August 17, 2021 5:45 am

    Just my love and caring I send…..with a prayer for peace at this time for you and Jamie …

  359. Sandi. - August 17, 2021 5:54 am

    Dear Sean and Jamie, sending heartfelt sympathy in the loss of Mother Mary. May she rest in peace and rise in Glory. God bless you with an extra dose of peace, strength, comfort and hope to face the upcoming days..

  360. Barbara Wallace - August 17, 2021 5:58 am

    Oh my…your love of this woman ebbs out and I am one of many who have been loved a bit also by your very words of love toward her…I am a better person because of this…I hope. I certainly desire to love as you have shared with us…with me…that is the best that I can give back to you and to my close by ones. May the peace of our LORD fill your home and impact all those surrounding you with this perfect example of His great love.

  361. TrixC - August 17, 2021 10:28 am

    God bless you all as you send Mother Mary off to that blessed place where saints go!

  362. Sally Taylor Walpole - August 17, 2021 2:06 pm

    Prayers for you and your family. You brought back great memories of my Mom, lost her 4.5 years ago, miss her every day. Hold your wife close as losing Mom is never easy even when expected.

  363. Alice Adams - August 17, 2021 2:36 pm

    I am so sorry to learn of Miss Mary’s passing. You have been preparing us for this, but I’m behind on my reading, so I’m just finding out. I, along with your readers, will keep you and Jamie in our thoughts and prayers as you both move forward with her memories. Grief doesn’t have a time-table, so don’t let anyone tell you different. Please continue to give us Mother Mary stories so that we can continue to know her too.

  364. Buddy Caudill - August 17, 2021 3:48 pm

    My sincere condolences to you, your wife and your family.
    I’m praying for comfort.

  365. Brenda - August 17, 2021 4:04 pm

    Peace, Love and Joy to all.

  366. Edna H. Isdell - August 17, 2021 6:30 pm

    Sympathy and prayers for the family. I have enjoyed reading all the articles you have written about her and the love you have shown for this dear Mother-In-Law. Keep writing.

  367. Carmen Manning Robinson - August 17, 2021 7:42 pm

    I’m extremely sorry for your loss. Prayers for you and your wife. I loved reading your stories on your mil. She sounded straight up awesome. And you young man, are a precious son in law. God Bless.

  368. Bridget Bergwall - August 17, 2021 8:14 pm

    A beautiful tribute to a beautiful, unique “mama,” Sean. Everything you said when Larry passed was spot on. She will be missed.

  369. Bill Fowler - August 17, 2021 9:01 pm

    All three of you were fortunate to have each other. Mary sounds like a wonderful person. She reminds me very much of my beloved mother-in-law, Alma, who passed away ten years ago after living the last eleven years of her life with my wife and me. Alma was a delight, a true daughter of the Smoky Mountains. She was always cheerful, although she was widowed three times, with the first time being when she was seventeen with two children, including my now wife who was only six weeks old. God will bless you and your wife for taking good care of Mary.

  370. Connie Pritchett - August 18, 2021 2:41 am

    God bless and hold you in His embrace. 😔

  371. Cheryl Andrews - August 18, 2021 3:52 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss.♥️

  372. Debi Kilpatrick - August 18, 2021 1:24 pm

    Oh, Sean…….💖

  373. Lisa Perkins - August 18, 2021 9:07 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I hate to say “I understand” because that sounds so overused, but I just lost my mother and my eldest brother in 42 days. Your post made me sob uncontrollably all over again. Praying for fond memories to fill your broken hearts with smiles and peace.

  374. Ramona - August 19, 2021 1:27 pm

    It’s Thursday nite [girls nite] here in Apalachicola and we will be toasting Mother Mary tonight,

    Here’s to a woman worth knowing, Cheers and blessings!!

  375. Kathy Coxwell - August 19, 2021 8:42 pm

    A lovely, loving epitaph for the Vivien Leigh of your life.

  376. JoAnne - August 20, 2021 6:23 am

    I am so very sorry. I’m glad she had loved ones with her as she passed.

  377. Kathy Prince - August 22, 2021 12:41 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Having been in a similar place caring for my loved ones and watching them pass, I shed a few tears for you tonight. Praying for you and Jamie and you walk through this now. You did good! She was so fortunate to have such a loving family to care for her in her final days. She knew she was loved! God bless!

  378. Steve Maynard - September 6, 2021 7:38 pm

    No way people could read your words with a dry eye. Been there and done that with my mother in law and my mom.

  379. Jane buntthobson - September 30, 2021 3:50 am

    Sean, I kinda think Mary felt the same about you.


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