Mary Lyn Hight was born on May 17, 1991 to Christopher and Karen Hight, and sister, Emily. She grew up in Newcastle, then moved to Portland as a teenager. Mary’s spirit would light up a room; she was extraordinarily full of life and joy. Our wonderful community cherished her fun-loving, affectionate, bright spirit. There was laughter whenever Mary was around. There are people we encounter in life whose souls shine brighter than most. Mary was a radiant child, a sparkling jewel. Everyone who knew Mary has sweet, funny stories to tell.
Mary suffered from a complex mental illness and was open and honest about it. As a teenager, her illness took over every aspect of her life, and the lives of those she loved. There were years of intense suffering during adolescence, years of hospitals and fear. The light in her eyes was gone. As is often the case with the mentally ill, addiction issues soon followed. However, in her late teens and early 20s, Mary took back her life and fought off her demons. She worked hard to rebuild a healthy life for herself and to repair relationships with friends and family. Gradually, the spark in her eyes returned. She earned her CNA certificate and enrolled in Southern Maine Community College. Although Mary continued to struggle to manage her illness, her loving, funny, radiant spirit returned.
Mary was an incredible friend to countless people. She loved her friends and family with everything she had. She danced and sang. She enthusiastically set fitness goals for herself and worked daily to achieve them. She researched healthy foods, reading labels in the grocery store so much that grocery shopping took her forever. She really loved to eat, and joked about it often. Mary was beautiful, inside and out. She was funny and laughed loudly and often.
Through determination and strength, Mary was managing her illness, and was doing so well. She had big plans and worked daily to take care of herself and achieve her goals. She wanted a dog, a house, a husband, babies. She wanted a closet full of clothes, especially soft sweaters and stylish workout gear. Recently, she became interested in running distances. She wanted to train for and run a marathon. This was partially due to not being able to get to the gym due to COVID-19. She had many dreams and goals, and the self-discipline to achieve them.
The COVID-19 virus did not contribute to Mary’s death directly; however, the isolation that it caused was a factor. Mary couldn’t go to the gym. Her classes were online, which made the work more challenging for her. Seeing friends and family became complicated. So as she struggled daily to manage her illness, many of her healthy coping strategies were unavailable. Problems and stressors occurred, and she had to try to weather them in isolation. This evidently led her to relapse this spring, and in the early morning of Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, Mary accidentally overdosed. Years of hard work came down to that one heartbreaking moment.
Mary leaves behind a devoted family, including her parents, Christopher and Karen Hight; sister, Emily Cantillo; brother-in-law, Anthony Cantillo; and her beloved niece and nephew, all from Newcastle. She has a big extended family, all of whom loved her dearly, including grandparents, Robert and Marilyn Hight (her namesake) of Portland. Mary also leaves an abundance of loving friends and family, fortunate enough to have shared a piece of her beautiful life.
There were dark times, but there was also so much light! We will remember her gorgeous smile, infectious laughter, and big, warm hugs. We will honor her by taking care of ourselves and each other. She was a stunning beauty, inside and out. We will treasure the memory of her, by laughing as much as we can and loving with everything we’ve got. Mary gave us all so much joy and love!
There will be a small family service soon, then another big celebration of her life on her birthday next year, when we can safely gather to remember her together. For now, the hugs, tears, and comforts of grieving must, unfortunately, be done primarily online. We know that day follows night, there is darkness and light, storms and sunshine, Mary is there in both extremes. She always was and always will be. At night, acknowledge the darkness, shed tears of deep sorrow for all that we’ve lost. Then in the afternoon, raise your face to the sun and soak in its light, with gratitude and celebration for all that we’ve gained through loving Mary.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main St., Damariscotta. Condolences, stories, and pictures can be shared with her family by visiting her memorial page found at stronghancock.com.