Today, a dear friend, Mary Ellen, lost her battle with a type of cancer known as chordoma. She will be missed very much.
I suppose it is always difficult to come to terms with someone’s death who is younger than you are. Does one ever quite come to grips with that? At any rate, let me tell you why she was so special to an entire congregation of people.
Mary Ellen was one of the most laid back people I know. She tended to take things in stride. Even when she was relating to me some difficulty she had with someone at work, it was in much kinder terms than I probably would have done. Mary Ellen knew how to be a fine example.
Mary Ellen and her family were amongst the first to make us feel welcome when I started attending church again. They had us over at their house, and they came over to ours. Mary Ellen knew how to be hospitable.
She was active in quilting, helping out with Feast baskets and other activities at church. Mary Ellen knew what service meant.
Even in the end, she asked that her body be donated for research to help others in their fight against chordoma. Her family is carrying through with her wishes, although there is a cost involved. If you wish to help with expenses, you can donate to the Mary Ellen Newell Fund at PNC Bank. If anything is left over, it will go towards a memorial service for her and needs of the family. If you would prefer, you can also read her own story and donate directly to the Chordoma Foundation on that page. Mary Ellen knew how to be selfless.
In the end, isn’t that what the Gospel is all about? Such will be those in the first resurrection. The ones who knew how to allow God’s Spirit to guide their lives, to be an example to others, to be hospitable, who know what service means and know how to be selfless.
For us, it is a temporary ending. For her, it is a new beginning. In her next moment of consciousness, she will be alive, free from pain and whole once again.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be “goodbye” but rather “until we see you again”.
Mary Ellen was quite an optimist and had a remarkable attitude. She was innovative and tenacious. She touched everyone she met. I'm sure she'll always be with us in spirit.