Mary Stahl: The Lady in the Blue Chevy

Marva Thomas, Mary Stahl and Sharman Greber

Marva Thomas, Mary Stahl, and Sharman Greber

In the final days of my mother's long battle with lung disease, I was ready to let her go. She was suffering too much. I held her hand in the final hours and told her, "I'll take you as far as I can, but then it's up to Dad." We had lost my dad years earlier. Now, when I think of the two of them being together again, it makes me smile.

When my mom got ill, I left my job and became her full-time caregiver for nearly six years. A disease was slowly destroying her lungs and her breathing grew more difficult every day. The oxygen tank became her lifeline. In the end, her lungs simply had nothing left and hospice came in to help.

On the day Mom died, the hospice nurse pulled a chair up to the bed and I held Mom's hand as she took her last breath. I thank God every day that I was able to be there for my mother.

I support AARP Foundation because I know there are many older Americans who are struggling on fixed incomes or facing serious illnesses without loved ones to help care for them. AARP Foundation is a good organization. They are totally dedicated to helping seniors who are suffering. That's important to me because I've seen suffering firsthand.

To help other vulnerable seniors, I decided to leave a gift to the Foundation in my trust. The staff was so helpful and gave me the information I needed to take to my lawyer. The whole thing was very easy.

Some people use their money on expensive trips, bigger homes, or new cars. That's just not me. My parents taught me to always think about other people. Mom used to say that if she won the lottery, charity would come off the top. Those are the values my parents taught me and now I'm passing those same values on to future generations.

I made AARP Foundation part of my legacy to pay it forward for others. I am by no means wealthy but I have lived a decent life. It's good to think that someone else could have a better life because of something I did for them.