“If you’re about to throw away an old pair of pantyhose, stop” is not the way most obituaries begin, but, then, according to her family, Mary A. “Pink” Mullaney was no ordinary woman.
The Wisconsite died on Sunday, Sept. 1, at the age of 85, leaving behind six children and 17 grandchildren who adored her so much they crafted an obituary so heartfelt and touching that it has made national headlines.
The obituary’s opening line stems from one of Mullaney’s most well-known maxims: Never throw away old pantyhose.
“Use the old ones for rosary repairs, to tie the gutter, childproof the cabinets, tie up the toilet flapper or hang Christmas ornaments,” reads the obituary, written by seven or eight of Mullaney’s children and grandchildren who gathered together in their hometown of Milwaukee after her death.
“We wanted it to portray who she was and her love for people and just her funny ways of going about it,” one of her sons, Kevin Mullaney, of Wake Forest, N.C., told ABCNews.com. “She was an extraordinary person in an ordinary way. Survived by so and so and accomplished this and that didn’t capture that.”
Mullaney, a devout Catholic who volunteered in a nursing home and delivered Communion up until age 81, also had kind and gentle rules surrounding the rituals of her faith.
“Let a dog (or two or three) sleep in bed with you. Say the rosary while you walk them. Go to church with a chicken sandwich in your purse. Cry at the consecration, every time. Give the chicken sandwich to your homeless friend after Mass. Go to a nursing home and kiss every person there, and let them have Communion, no matter if they are Catholic. When you learn someone’s name, share the story of their patron saint and when the feast day is, so they can celebrate,” the obituary reads.
“I see her as the hands and feet of Jesus,” said her son, 59. ” What she taught all of us is to love others as Christ loved us.”
Calling them the “many valuable lessons from Pink,” the “extended family of relations and friends from every walk of life and corner of the globe” also offered these nuggets in Mullaney’s obituary:
Invite new friends to Thanksgiving dinner. (“Every Thanksgiving there’d be somebody from Nigeria or somebody from Poland that nobody knew,” son Kevin Mullaney says of this rule.)
Never say mean things about rotten people, instead think of them as “poor souls who we should pray for.”
Put the children who are picky eaters in the laundry chute in the basement, close the door and tell them they are hungry lions in a cage and feed them their veggies through the slats.
Make the car dance by lightly tapping the brakes to the beat of songs on the radio.
Offer rides to people carrying a big load or caught in the rain or the summer heat.
Offer to help anyone struggling to get their kids in a car, into a shopping cart or across a parking lot.
Give to every single charity that asks. Choose to believe the best about what they do with your money, no matter what your children say they discovered online.
Take magazines you’ve already read to your doctors’ waiting rooms for others to enjoy. Do not tear off the mailing label … “because if someone wants to contact me that would be nice.”
Mullaney’s family says its beloved matriarch adhered to the time-old practice of writing letters to “communicate with everybody from every walk of life.”
To end their tribute to Mullaney, her family listed her survivors, “those whose photos she would share with prospective friends in the checkout line, and her children and grandchildren,” and whom she will join in heaven, “her favorite dance and political debate partner, her husband Dr. Gerald L. Mullaney.”
Source (where there is a link to the full obituary too).
What kind of legacy are you leaving?