Some People Make the World Brighter, Just By Being In It

Our Lilly of the Valley, Mary Cape

Some people make the world brighter just by being in it. My grandmother, Mary Cape Banks Smith, was one of those people. Thirty years ago, after the sudden and unexpected death of her beloved husband, my grandmother “Capie” commandeered an office and a phone line at her church and started a hospice care network in Beckley, West Virginia.

This past weekend, Capie had the great privilege of spending her last days in the place she helped build, Bower’s Hospice House, cared for by a team of angels, and surrounded by her family. Her Hallelujah Day, as she called it, was filled with lots of love, limericks and laughter.

Capie is gone, but she wouldn’t want us to think of this world as a dimmer place without her in it. Her light shines on in our memories and in her legacy: she also helped found the Beckley YMCA and Women’s Resource Center. She was such a force in all our lives; she will always be loved, missed and remembered. May we all live and pass on as well as dear Capie.

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
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17 Responses to Some People Make the World Brighter, Just By Being In It

  1. Mary,

    Clearly your grandmother lived her life in active service to others. What an inspiration!

    Just a couple of hours before reading your post, I received a phone call with a job offer to become a hospice chaplain, something I’ve wanted to do for 5 years now. So, your note about “Capie” touched me at a very deep level as I prepare to embark on this next call to service in my own life.

    May your memories of your grandmother fill you with joy and peace in the years ahead.



  2. I loved the story of your grandmother. They are the ” tree of life.” Thank you for sharing this with us. I invite you to visit my blog.

  3. We should all have some Capie’s in our life. I am sorry for your loss and I know you will remember her well.

  4. Sounds like she was an exceptional person and no doubt will be missed by many, but what a wonderful legacy she leaves behind, including you, her grand-daughter.

  5. Klbexplores says:

    Words often fail to convey comfort for a broken heart. It sounds as if she expressed her love by action…. what an inspiration for all whose lives were touched by her. I am so sorry for your loss but also celebrate that your life was touched by hers. Take care and hold close those wonderful memories.

  6. Soody says:

    In the short time I’ve been aware of your blog, I have found inspiration in your journey and insights and beauty in your photography. It is clear that you share much more than just your name with your dear grandmother. Keep shining your light. In so doing, you honor your parents and grandparents as well as inspire others like me to follow a road less traveled. Take care. May Love and Light surround you.

  7. Elisa's Spot says:

    Thank you for sharing this.

  8. ritaroberts says:

    Mary I am so sorry to hear of your dear grandmothers departure from the world she obviously loved and the many people who loved her. She was a great lady.There is a poem on my blog to the sister I recently lost but dedicated to all who have lost a loved one. I would like to share it with you.

  9. Alice says:

    Just look at her lovely smile and beautiful eyes. I know you miss her greatly. She is an example to all of us.

  10. Kelly says:

    Inspiration and love in just one look!! Bless her and her next journey.

  11. Tina says:

    Sorry to hear of the passing of your amazing grandma. What a big difference she made and will continue to make in many lives.

  12. I am so sorry to hear of your loss, she sounds like a great lady.

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