The last week in August on a very hot evening, a group of Kindergarten parents gathered to attend a Back to School orientation by veteran teacher MaryAnne Mullaney and I was fortunate enough to be one of those in attendance. Miss Mullaney is a bit of a legend within the community and certainly throughout our school. With more than 30 years of teaching Kindergarten, Miss Mullaney knows 5 year olds and loves spending time with them. Her enthusiasm is contagious.
My youngest child is now a student in her class and I am most grateful my other two children also benefited from being her students. I debated going to the meeting given that I had already attended two Kindergarten orientations in years past, but I am quite glad I did.
The orientation began in the traditional way, but soon took on a different tone as Miss Mullaney let us know that her beloved mother was in the last stages of life having been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer just a few weeks earlier. The way in which Miss Mullaney conveyed this information was surprising. While her sadness was evident and she did tear up explaining this to us all, her overwhelming attitude continued to be upbeat. She explained her mother would be dying soon and was excited about it. I’ve had a great deal of experience with death having lost loved ones to cancer and accidents, but had never heard anyone say they were excited about dying. Miss Mullaney explained her mother had enjoyed more than 80 years on earth and was looking forward to her time in heaven. Miss Mullaney was confident that her mother’s death would be terribly sad, but explained that she knew her mother would always be with her.
This level of strength and love continues to impress and inspire me. The grace and faith the Mullaney family demonstrates during this difficult time is amazing.
Today Mary (Pink) Mullaney’s obituary was published and it truly explains how one person lived life to its fullest.
What does living life to its fullest look like for you?