I can’t really remember meeting my friend, Mary Sparks Haddon. It must have happened 12 or so years ago. I have memories of talking with her in the Children’s Room at Richland Library when she was just Mary Sparks and we would all talk about how that sounded like a superhero name. I remember meeting her for dinner in Sumter back when she was the Library Media Specialist at Alice Drive Elementary and I was in library school. At some point, even if I can’t remember it, exactly, we became friends. In fact, she became one of my best friends. We had similar taste in music. She played guitar and took lessons from my husband. She wanted to form an all girl band. She had a daughter. I met Hannah for the first time on the Horseshoe. I think I gave her a little Gamecock hat. Mary and I have seen lots of movies together; we’ve been in book clubs together…with large groups and with just each other; we’ve presented at conferences together; and we’ve shared countless cups of coffee. We used to talk about opening a bookstore where we could host events…but, mostly read books, drink coffee, and get paid to do so. For the past 12 years, I’ve probably gone no more than a month without seeing her or talking to her.
I think it was October 2011 that I got a message from her via Facebook telling me she found a lump in her breast and that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She didn’t want to tell me, because in August of that same year, my mom had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Mary didn’t want ME to be sad. She was a huge support to me through my mom’s battle with cancer (which my mom lost in January 2012), even though she was going through her own battle. I don’t think I ever really saw Mary sick. Even during chemo treatments…she lost her hair, but for the most part, she was still Mary – she went to work, she took her daughter to the zoo, we went out for coffee…I think that’s why it is such a shock for me to share that Mary lost her battle with cancer on August 29. There is a lot more I could say about Mary – and, I might…later – but, right now, I will sum it up by saying I will miss her very much. She was an awesome mom, a wonderful friend, a fantastic library lady, and an all around great person.
If you want to learn more about this amazing Wonder Woman friend of mine, you can check out these links –
Her blog: https://www.mylifeline.org/maryhaddon/
She was featured on the local news a couple of times…here’s a recent story: http://www.wltx.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=2617218362001&odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cfeatured
She loved to take pictures, here’s her Instagram page: http://instagram.com/mhaddon
Her obituary: http://www.belkfuneralhome.com/