Martha G. Llewellyn, 1947-2016
The first time Marti came into my life was when my brother introduced her to our family as the woman he planned to marry. After Marti spent a weekend with us, mom said something I had never heard before. She told me, “ he’s found his soulmate.” I was only a thirteen-year-old and had only heard about that kind of relationship in Harlequin romance novels. I didn’t really think they could exist outside of fiction. My own parents didn’t seem to have that kind of marriage and they were really my only point of comparison. So Marti’s entrance into our family made a lasting impression on me.
Due to the difference in our ages and the distance between our homes, I didn’t develop a close relationship with my brother and his new wife. Unquestioningly, I loved them both, but we didn’t share a day-to-day friendship at all.
They visited again when I was about 16, or so. They took me to a drive in move and we saw the Paul Williams version of Phantom of the Opera. I don’t recall much about the movie. What stands out in my mind is that Clark and Marti, mostly Marti, talked for a couple of hours with me about the premises and values of a group called Al-Anon. Her words stayed with me many years and though I never joined Al-Anon, I did study it and adopt many of the Twelve Steps. I credit that conversation as getting me through my young adult years.
Marti wasn’t involved in my life in any meaningful way for years, including the years when I met, dated, and subsequently married Matt. Her gift to me for our wedding was a book entitled “Wives Submit to Your Husbands.” I think it’s out of print now. I confess, the title was off-putting and I didn’t read it right away. Well, honestly, I was a newlywed and had better things to do than read!
A few years later, when we were packing to move to a new home, I found the book and I did read it. Getting past the title was important, because it was one of the best books ever on marital relationships. If you read the entire section of Ephesians, you’ll find there’s advice for husbands included as well. It’s not about submission in the strictest sense of the word, it’s about how to get along and how to share and how to support and encourage one another. I’ve re-read certain passages of that book many times over the past 30 years and have appreciated what an excellent gift it was.
Last week, I attended Marti’s funeral services. She left our world much too soon, which I’m sure my brother feels it more keenly than anyone. If she was that influential in my life with just a few interactions, I can imagine how the people feel who were with her on a daily basis. She will be missed, but the heavens have another powerful voice in their choir this day. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.