Mary Leinbach: From Grief to Gratitude
At age 92, Mary Leinbach was living a completely independent life – playing bridge seven days a week, taking care of her home, singing weekly in her choir, and regularly visiting with family and friends. On November 9, 2012, all that changed when Mary was involved in a major accident. She was unconscious with a broken neck, multiple compound fractures…and then her car caught fire. When she regained consciousness, she was furious. Why did God let her survive since she had already lived a full life, and was deeply grieving the recent loss of her husband of 64 years?
Mary was now confined to a bed in a nursing home, and was faced with a simple decision: would she choose to embrace life in the midst of these new, difficult circumstances – or would she give up?
The decision to embrace life came in small steps, and chaplains from GCS were there to encourage her at each turning point: the decision to pursue painful rehab, to move from the short-term unit to a long-term floor, and then the acceptance that the nursing home was now her new permanent home. Chaplains walked with Mary on her difficult and courageous journey, and Mary herself encouraged and supported her fellow residents. Mary allowed us to share her story because of her appreciation for the Chaplaincy.