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July 10, 2013

MORRIS: Remembering the gift life has to offer

Paul Kraft called me Sunday. That is not surprising. It was my Sunday to work and he usually calls after sending an obituary to make sure we received it.

But this call was a little different than most. He informed me that 47-year-old Mary Ann Prestigiacomo had died suddenly of apparent heart failure.

Kraft deals with death every day, but even he sounded a bit stunned by Mary Ann’s death. So was I.

Mary Ann was the New Albany city controller. She was a familiar face on the third floor of the City-County Building. But more importantly, she was the proud mother of two boys, and a loving wife, daughter and sister.

I had met her a couple of times over the past 16 months, but very rarely did our paths cross. I do not cover city government, but like Kraft, I was in disbelief when he broke the news to me Sunday.

I have been thinking about her death and those left behind since hearing the news. Tuesday morning, I ran into her mother Kay Garry on the third floor which in many ways prompted me to write this column.

I have always had a lot of respect for Kay and the job she did for the city as controller for many years. But watching her walk down the hallway, with a box of her daughter’s possessions, I couldn’t help but feel a bit numb. As always, she was pleasant as I expressed my sympathy. But I felt helpless. There was nothing I could do but offer my prayers for healing and comfort.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy or a kick in the gut to wake us all up. We are all guilty of getting caught up in this crazy world where we run around from store to store, worry about the fate of our favorite Hollywood couple or the latest reality television show. We can’t miss “Dancing With the Stars” or “America’s Got Talent.” For millions of us, that is what life is all about. We sort of all live in fantasy land.

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