Querida Maryanna

A few hours ago I returned from the memorial service for my dear dear friend Mary Ann O’Dougherty.  She was hit and killed by a city bus eight days ago, on Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2009.

Close to 300 people packed the Loring Pasta Bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota in a huge outpouring of grief, sadness and, above all, loving memories.  There was heartfelt emotive music.  There were eulogies, elegies, anecdotes, tears, and laughter.  Many of us sat numb, unable to speak for fear of totally losing it and becoming a blubbering mess.

No one wanted to leave when it was over.  It just seemed too sad to return to a world so diminished by her loss.  So we lingered, exchanging embraces, having a drink, having something to eat.

Mary Ann was a brilliant woman.  She read voraciously.  She traveled the world over.  She once owned a nightclub in Recife, Brazil.  She was fluent in Portuguese and sang–magnificently–in many languages.  She was so intense.  She was a brilliant educator and adored children.

She found happiness in love when she met Steve Alm.  They were together nearly 18 years.  They were sooooooooo great together.  Such great friends.  Such commited lovers.

Mary Ann could sell a song like nobody.  I loved to hear her sing.  I remember the very first time I heard her sing; it was 1984.  I recognized a kindred soul immediately.  We became fast friends and I cherished her friendship.  But now I cherish her friendship in a much much deeper way.  She is gone.  I miss her so.

I will always love “A Song of Ireland.”  And “Manha du Carnival.”  And “Corcovado.”  She sang Corcovado just a few weeks ago when a bunch of us were out and she sat in with the band at the local pub.  A place called Merlin’s Rest.  It was exquisitely lovely, nothing less than that.  It was the last time I saw Mary Ann and the last time I heard her voice.

I would be deeply honored and touched if anyone left their comments to this post….