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Celebration + Grief

We are constantly reminded of how fragile life is in our work at the Magnolia Women’s Center.

There is so much uncertainty in the lives of the women we serve, where they’ll sleep tonight, when they’ll be able to eat, how they’ll make ends meet, and what tomorrow will hold. Oftentimes we meet women when they are deep in these uncertainties and want to experience a life free from these things.

That’s where we met our dear friend Mary. Mary began coming to the Center with her friend while she was living in a tent with her partner. Once she started coming to the Center, we noticed her everywhere. Mary cared deeply about the people around her. She wanted the best for her partner, her friends, the staff and others she’d come in contact with.

We had a special relationship with Mary. She cared deeply about the relationships she was forming at the Center. She spent a significant amount of time with us but especially with Katie and Brenda- doing everything with her. Mary was not only a neighbor to us, she was our friend.

We would celebrate the anniversary of her mom’s passing with her. She knew our family members and we knew hers. Mary did not just want to receive care, she wanted to be in a relationship with us.

Mary continued to face challenges after she met us. Addiction stole relationships from her. Trauma affected her health- emotionally and physically. Recovery seemed like a monumental task.

After an altercation, Mary went to prison, believing that God put her there for a reason. She was rewarded for her good behavior and released early, however, she failed to receive the care that she needed to live successfully and reintegrated into society. It is with great sadness that we learned of Mary’s recent death.

Mary lived her life in a radically generous way, always willing to share whatever she had with others. She was authentic and related to everyone. Despite the things she experienced, Mary was always present and put others before herself. She was incredibly smart and funny. Mary was more than her addiction, she had such a rich personality, so many talents and passions.

Mary’s story is unique to her, but it is also the story of so many others.

Mary’s story is the story of a woman who wanted to experience change, but the systems designed to help her failed to do so. Mary’s life was a constant uphill battle.

While Mary’s story does not end in the way we wished for, this is a win because she was in our lives.

Our lives are better because of Mary and we continue to press forward in this work. Our ultimate goal is for women to be in heaven one day and we long for the day we are reunited with Mary.

We grieve with those who knew and loved Mary and ask for your prayers during this time.

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