Elliot Regenstein

June 18, 2020

Remembering Maria Whelan

Maria was a passionate, witty, and insightful colleague for many years, but none of the many brilliant things she said have stuck with me as much as a story she told me when my own children were very young. The story was about Maeve, and as she told it she indicated that there had been a time in Maeve’s toddlerhood when Maria was ready to be done changing diapers, but Maeve did not want to make the jump to underwear. So as Maria told it, her response was, “Okay, Maeve, you can keep wearing diapers — but you have to change them yourself.” I didn’t know her as well then as I came to know her later, but it was just the kind of loving but tough statement I could picture her making to her own child.

Maria did a lot to take care of a lot of people, starting with the children and families on whose behalf she worked her entire career. But ultimately, no matter how much Maria loved you and wanted to help you, she recognized that all of us who are capable have to do a certain amount to take care of ourselves. Now in her absence we’re all going to have to do a lot more. We will miss her terribly.