Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Melanie Creamer firstname.lastname@example.org
SCARBOROUGH -- Linda Mercier was a beautiful and vibrant woman, who rose above enormous challenges with multiple sclerosis and lived life to its fullest.
Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.
Sitting in a room with Mrs. Mercier, you wouldn't know that she had MS or that she couldn't move from the neck down.
"She was so beautiful," said her daughter, Bobbilyn Driscoll of Scarborough. "She had such an amazing way about her. . The MS didn't rule her. She ruled the MS."
Mrs. Mercier, who endured a 32-year battle with MS, died Wednesday after a brief illness. She was 65.
She was born in Rumford and graduated from Mexico High School in 1964. A year later, she married Larry Mercier. She was diagnosed with MS at age 34.
Driscoll described her mother Friday as loving, nurturing and protective. She noted that her mother always held her hand when they crossed the street -- even as Driscoll got older. As Mrs. Mercier's MS progressed, Driscoll held her mother's hand while crossing the street.
"She was a good mom the best," she said. "She was very forgiving and very tolerant. I always, always felt loved. She was always telling me how proud she was of me. She was perfect."
In 1988, on Driscoll's 22nd birthday, her father died suddenly after suffering a heart attack. He was 46.
"The two of them were like one," Driscoll said of her parents. "He was healthy. It was very unexpected. It was hard for my mother faith helped her through it. When you're in that position, without faith you would go insane."
Mrs. Mercier's faith sustained her throughout the years. Around 2003, she suffered a seizure at her home in Rumford and moved to Pine Point Center, a nursing and rehabilitation center in Scarborough.
As her MS progressed, Mrs. Mercier lost the ability to move from her neck down. She could only move her left hand to control her motorized wheelchair. About five years ago, she lost the ability to eat by herself.
Despite those extraordinary challenges, she remained positive and cheerful. "She got into her wheelchair and went outside every day," Driscoll said. "She never complained."
Mrs. Mercier enjoyed going to Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth. Driscoll said her mother had a close relationship with her three grandchildren. She said her mother also had many close friends such as Nancy Bolduc of Cape Elizabeth, who visited her every week for many years.
Another longtime friend and caregiver, Linda Collomy of Buxton, said she was a great friend and listener.
"You could talk to her about anything," she said. "She always took care of everyone else, even though she was going through her own stuff. She had a really big heart. She inspired me and a lot of other people."
About a week ago, Mrs. Mercier became very ill and was admitted to the hospital. The doctors found cancer.
Just before her mother died, Driscoll stepped out of her room so that a friend could visit with her. This friend played a song he wrote for her. About 10 minutes later, just before her daughter returned to the room, Mrs. Mercier died.
"I prayed before any of this happened for peace for her," Driscoll said. "I prayed for peace in any way God could give her. I didn't know how or if she would get it, but we both ended up getting it."
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: