Monday, 9 February 2015

Mary

Let me tell you about the beautiful Mary or as I have been known to call her, MarBear or no-but (because there are no buts in our relationship).   I met Mary in about 1994.  She moved from Mt Gambier to the Gold Coast which, is where I was living at the time.  I was part of a pretty amazing sporting club, the  Gold Coast Dragons and they were my life for about 6 years.  If you have never tried it you should do yourself a favour and find your local club and give it a go.  Its the most fun ever.  We were pretty lucky that our team were so close and we did so many fun things together.  We were family and we spent way too much time together but in the process became a very tight team and for a few years were unbeatable.  The sport has grown heaps since then but we still thought we were all pretty shit hot!  The photo below was taken in Singapore in 1996 (I think), that's me at the back with the nice shoulders (they don't look like that any more)

All of my friends were Dragon Boaters and boy did we ever have some rockin' good times!  Marys partner Andy moved from Mt Gambier to the Gold Coast for work and ended up joining our team and Mary soon followed from the G and also joined us.  Andy was a machine, hot bod, nice guy, goofy and great fun to hang out with (everyone loved Andy - and Andy loved Mary). The first night I met Mary, most of the team were having a night out at "Billy's Beach House" in Surfers Paradise, (Geez we had some rip snorters there, but that's another blog).... Andy's walked in with this absolutely gorgeous blond stunner on his arm and both the boys and the girls just stood there with jaws dropped, she really was and still is drop dead gorgeous.  I've obviously spoken with her about that night and she reckons she was so nervous to meet us all, can't imagine why, we were just a bunch of egotistical louts.  She shouldn't have been nervous though,  she was part of the team before the night had even ended.  Anyway years and years of playing hard together both in the boat training and in the clubs partying brought Mary and I together as friends and what a special friendship it is.

I tell myself a fair bit that I am a pretty hopeless friend, I am terrible at keeping in contact with friends be it by phone or face to face catch ups.  I know life is busy and it gets harder and harder to keep in touch as our lives  continually change.  Marriages, children, school, work, relocating there is any number of excuses that I continually find to explain myself but in reality I'm a slack arse and friendships are a blessing that should be nourished and encouraged to grow.

In our "dragon boating careers" Mary and I travelled all over Australia representing our Club and our State,  to New Zealand and the United Kingdom to represent our country and we had an absolute blast along the way. There are so many stories to tell I could write a book and you know the majority of the tales involve alcohol and lots and lots of laughs and mischievous adventures.  I had the best time in my 20's and 30's hanging out with an incredible bunch of people doing incredibly fun things and getting incredibly fit and strong.  Ah the memories,  didn't that come to a dramatic halt when the kids came along?

As well as travelling and adventuring Mary and I became best friends, inseparable.   When Adam asked me to be his wife, I couldn't wait to get on the phone to ring Mary and ask if she would be my bridesmaid and then when Andy and Mary married, I in turn was hers.  We have truly shared some very precious moments in life.

I remember when Mary started having trouble with her legs, she was a gym junkie and spent every day  she could there working out.  She loved the treadmill and we loved Les Mills PUMP classes.  Mary's legs started failing her and she struggled to find out what was the problem.  At first we thought it was exhaustion and heat (it was always worse in the heat)  and after what seemed an eternity and multiple different Dr's who all scratched their heads in confusion, she was finally given the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.  From memory it took at least a year to get that diagnosis as well.   I can't even begin to imagine the enormity of her emotions as she grappled to come to terms with this life shattering news.  For me, I was so sad, I felt ripped off for her, I was angry and I was also a little bit in denial.  The thing about Mary though is she never ever played on it, she never wanted special attention, she never wanted people to feel sorry for her, she always held her head high and got on with it.  The diagnosis did not slow her down, she was still the life of the party, she was the first one to organise a get together or a weekend away,  she still always trained with us and participated in our races;  even if it was as our drummer.  Not only did we have the best drummer ever, we also had the best looking drummer ever.   She could turn heads that girl.  

The last 13 years or so of her having MS has been an emotional roller coaster ride and I don't doubt more for her than anyone else who knows her.  There have been lots of tears and lots of frustration  but she is solid as a rock my Mary.  She has never given up hope that she will be free of MS, she is always researching and trying anything she possibly can get her hands on to make it go away and now it has come to this;   To Russia with love.

 Here's to the rest of your life Mary.  May it be long, happy and more importantly healthy. xx   I love you.

Cheers xx

PS  I ran 5 kms for you today xx