If you run your life in fear, live a life you dislike, permit other people to decide your fate and the direction of your existence, you might wish to consider the life of Mary Kellogg, one of our dearest friends and a warrior for self-determination and independence and a meaningful and creative life. At the age of 81, she published her first volume of poetry, she is working on her third.
She is now 84, one of the most beautiful women I have known, she acknowledges without complaint that she is entering one of the final phases of her life. Next week she is getting a hearing aid, she struggles to project her voice and I see the stiffness in her leg when she stands up for too long. Mary recently raised almost singlehandedly the funds to build a small hospice facility near her hometown of North Hebron.
She is close friends with some women in their 90’s who remain on the farms where they lived with their husbands for so many years and where they wish to stay. Mary drives them to the market and their doctor’s appointments. Today Mary read from a new and beautiful poem about what it is like to lose one dear and long-time friend after another, she does not dwell much on death, neither does she run from it. She is a loyal and loving friend, she does not ever speak ill of her life or engage in the self-debasing talk so common to the elderly.
When I confided to her that I was in love with Maria, Mary chuckled and said “good choice, she’ll keep you in line.”
She lives on a remote 30-acre farm on the top of the hill, and like so many people with telephones, has been largely abandoned by her phone company, which much prefers to sell cell phones than fix old ones. Mary is often without electricity or phone service in the winter, she goes down to the pond and hauls water to the bathroom for the toilet. Most people in her life think she ought to get into an easier, smaller place, I think that will not happen any time soon. Mary lives the life she wishes to live, and will until the last. She comes to every Bedlam Farm Open House to speak, she is a prophet for encouragement, independence and a meaningful life. She is a very beautiful woman.