Clown noses, wildflowers, wishbones, backbones and funnybones . . . a few thoughts on the July 18, 2015 celebration of Marilyn Heller Stong's life
I had the honor of attending a celebration of Marilyn's life last weekend at the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden in Harvard, MA. The Healing Garden was a fitting place to celebrate Marilyn, as she spent countless hours tending to the garden and walking through it with hospice patients, comforting them and helping them make their own peace with life and death. As is often the case with services like this, the celebration made me wish I had known Marilyn better. It seems to me that hers was a life well-lived.
Her niece, Ariel Carter, recalled a quote from Reba McEntire that Marilyn shared with her once in an email - perhaps the only thing Marilyn and Reba shared in common. The quote went something like this, "To succeed in life you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone." Clearly, Marilyn had all three in abundance.
To honor Marilyn's generosity, Ariel shared packets of wildflower seeds with those in attendance, encouraging them to plant them and think of Marilyn as they begin to bloom. To honor her "funnybone," as it were, her "niece-y," Katherine Hughes, supplied clown noses, so that others could share Marilyn's love for clowning, and desire to make people laugh.
The program for the service contained a lovely poem by Marilyn, which I've transcribed below:
Sparrows fold, enclose their wings,
Nestling thoughts sure evening brings,
Lullabies hummed deep within
Remind the lily all is one.
Mushrooms bow their heads to prayer
Chapeled by the hemlocks there.
Gliding, sweeping clouds in flight;
Tender touch the still of night.
Fairy feathers slowly sweep
Nature puts her dreams to rest,
Safe within a tranquil breast.
-- Marilyn Heller Strong
We will miss you, Marilyn. We're grateful for the mark you've made on our community and our world.