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After Mary Stocks passed away at age 94, her grown children began discussing her will — and stifling giggles.
Mary wanted her kids to take all the items they had given her over the years. But her daughter, Shauna Perreault, didn’t want a 20-year-old toaster oven, and her son, Sandy Stocks, didn’t want a 14-year-old car. The more they chatted about it, the more they laughed.
It was then Stocks knew how to write his mother’s obituary.
“Everything I could think of about my mother was funny. I didn’t want to write a really boring obituary,” Stocks told TODAY.com. “I did it more for my family, so they would have something to remember her that would be fun.”
The obituary of Mary Stocks has gone viral, providing more than a few laughs for his family. And it’s no wonder. Stocks wrote a funny, touching tribute to his mother, making complete strangers feel as if they knew the Toronto native.
“She left behind a hell of a lot of stuff to her daughter and sons who have no idea what to do with it,” Stocks wrote. “So if you're looking for 2 extremely large TV's from the 90s, a large ceramic stork (we think) umbrella/cane stand, a toaster oven (slightly used) or even a 2001 Oldsmobile with a spoiler (she loved putting the pedal to the metal), with only 71,000 kilometers and 1,000 tools that we aren't sure what they're used for. You should wait the appropriate amount of time and get in touch. Tomorrow would be fine.”
Stocks said he’s sure his mom would crack up if she could read the obituary. “I think she would appreciate it,” he said.
And he should know. Stocks and his mother shared a sense of humor. Nothing was too sacred, he said — they loved poking fun at everything.
“She was a master cook in the kitchen. She believed in overcooking everything until it chewed like rubber so you would never get sick because all the germs would be nuked,” Stocks wrote in the obituary. “Freezing germs also worked, so by Friday our school sandwiches were hard and chewy, but totally germ free.
“All four of us learned to use a napkin. You would pretend to cough, spit the food into it and thus was born the Stocks diet. If anyone would like a copy of her homemade gravy, we would suggest you don’t.”
Despite her culinary misadventures, Mary loved cooking and entertaining, her son recalled. Christmas was her favorite time of year, and she always made a turkey covered in bacon. She wore three-inch stiletto heels, even during Toronto winters, and she drove until two months before she died.
When she moved into a smaller house, she insisted that it have two floors and a rock garden. She wanted the stairs for exercise and she always loved rock gardens — even if her kids didn’t.
“She liked four letter words as much as she loved her rock garden and trust us, she LOVED to weed that garden with us as her helpers, when child labour was legal or so we were told,” he wrote in the obituary.
Stocks said he didn't understand why her mother was so crazy about rock gardens until he recently came across an old wedding picture of her — standing in front of her father’s rock garden. It must have reminded her of family, he said.
Mary greatly enjoyed her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Stocks said. She also loved to impart important life lessons.
“My mum always wanted to try everything. It didn’t matter, even if you failed — (she would say), ‘Suck it up! You’ll be OK! You have to fail!’” he said. “When I got older, I knew I could do anything. She had no fear.”
People all over the world have sent Stocks messages saying how moved they were to learn about his mother. One man told Stocks he woke up feeling depressed, but after reading about Mary, he felt happy.
“It is unbelievable how they can relate to it,” Stocks said. “Everybody is getting something from it, which is kind of the coolest thing.”