Out of the most trying times came the words to Vicky Mariconde's gospel songs
By Jim Sheltn, Register Staff
WEST HAVEN -- Vicky Mariconde has been to the deepest, darkest depths of grief and come back singing.
Hers is a story of faith conquering pain. It is about confronting a crushing loss and eventually finding a way forward.
It's a story many people share -- just not in such a public way.
Her pain made the papers. Her husband, Larry Mayes, who worked at City Hall and was a popular member of the community, died on Oct. 5, 2005. Mariconde had come downstairs that morning and found his body. He'd had a heart attack.
In the years since that awful moment, Mariconde has emerged stronger in mind and spirit. This Palm Sunday and Easter season find her counseling widows, leading projects at her church and releasing a CD of gospel music inspired by her experiences.
"Vicky turned her pain into ministry," says Ken Vance, senior pastor at Living Word Ministries in West Haven, where Mariconde is a member. "She took what could have shipwrecked her and found her voice within it. She found more in her, through God's grace."
To be sure, Mariconde's life has taken several sharp turns.
She says she and Mayes were inseparable as a couple. They'd started dating in 1989, became born again Christians in 1992, were baptized together and married in 1993.
"I always thought he was the cat's meow," says Mariconde, 54, a medical transcriptionist at Yale-New Haven Hospital. "Everyone loved him."
Mayes was 54 when he died. A retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant, he had worked for the telephone company before taking a job as assistant to then-Mayor H. Richard Borer Jr.
"Larry was healthy by every appearance," she says. "He was thin, an outdoors guy. Always played basketball in school."
Arnold Gold/Register photo: Gospel singer Vicky Mariconde of West Haven, a member of Living Word Ministries, created a 14-song CD, "Still I Know."