Tuesday, June 9, 2009


When my kids were small I carried a big purse. It had in it all the necessities for the little emergencies of little people. I carried wipes, Band-Aids, aspirin, cough syrup, a wash rag, Kleenex, candies, Neosporin, sun tan lotion, a sweater, extra pair of shoes, needle and thread, a bottle of water (before it was the “in thing”), and I can’t remember what else. It was a big purse. We also had several throw blankets and small pillows in the back seat of the car.

When we were going through Mary’s closet sorting out clothes, several items were a toss up as to whether they belonged to Mary or to Tony or some friend who had left it behind. Julie said, “check the pockets. If there’s a Kleenex in them, it’s Mary’s.” Sure enough, there were wadded up Kleenexes in many of them, unused but nonetheless available for a needy nose.

The other thing Mary always, always had in her pocket was a tube of chapstick. She never went anywhere without it. She never bought a pair of pants or a jacket without pockets. In her back pockets she carried a man’s wallet with her id and cards in it and pictures of Cindy, Gabe, and Anna. In the other pocket was her phone, her life line to the people she loved, Her purse was used for those extra things you needed but didn’t have room for in your pockets. I always wondered what her purse would carry when she had kids.

I still have her wallet with all the cards in them. It was in her purse. Haven’t gotten her driver’s license back yet but I have an older one. Her purse is filled with Kleenexes but no chapstick. That was in her front pocket. I don’t know if she was wearing a skirt or pants. I assume pants since she left from work that night.

I didn’t know what to do the day they brought me her purse. I went through her wallet looking for guidance. There was her AAA card, the one she used when her friends would lock their keys in their cars. She would come to the rescue. I found her charge cards, insurance card, other cards. Who do I call? Who needs to know? Do I close accounts down, leave the open? I had no freakin’ idea what I was doing. Neither did anyone else. So I just blew my nose on the Kleenex in her purse. How convenient. How Mary. Taking care of me then and still taking care of me now.

1 comment:

  1. Melissa O'BoyleJune 11, 2009 at 8:11 AM

    I had driven directly to your house from work the day that Mary died. I stayed there...then slept at my parent's house. I didn't go to work the next day. Crying, rocking and disbelieving with family was the only thing to do those days. I spoke with so many people. Random friends thought of and needing to hear the sickening news. Family and friends calling to offer support and to share the shock. The bars on my phone slowly dwindled down until it died. Selfishly, I didn't mind. It gave me a little break of telling the awful news. Knowing that people were worried about me and wanting to get a hold of me, I'd eventually ask each that passed though the Couey house if they had an LG phone charger. No one did.

    Going through Mary's purse was such an odd feeling just liek ti was gognt hrough her closet. If it was anyone else's it might seem invasive. But it was Mary's and she would tell you to go through it for anything she could provide that you might need. It ends up Mary came through and had my same charger. It was a last physical convenience she could provide me. After Julie got Mary's phone charged, I silently plugged my phone into wall and gave Mary a little "Thank you".

    Julie gave me Mary's AAA card since it helped me out of dire situations time and time again. I'll always have this part of Mary with me. It seems so small, but I now carry something that Mary always carried and I treasure it. When I went to Graceland last weekend with my sister the ticket guy asked me if I had a AAA card for a discount. I somewhat hesitated..wondering if it would be wrong to use Mary's..He barely looked at it..I felt like I should say something. The line was long so he glanced and gave me my $8 discount. I moved along. I can see Mary smiling and being glad it worked out the way it did.

    I know Mary will continue to help me in little ways. She is still so real to me and not just a memory. I hope that never goes away.