The Heroines

Maria (Beard) Darnell

is honored with a Brick from Her Family

Maria (Beard) Darnell

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

            Robert Frost / The Road Not Taken

I am certain that if Maria had had a choice, the road she traveled in life would have been different. Maria was born with Cystic Fibrosis. There were difficult times in her walk, and she could have chosen a path of bitterness and anger about her situation in life, but she didn't. She traveled down her road taking on what life had given her with great faith. I'm not sure it was the disease that made her the kind of person she was, but she was certainly a courageous young woman. Her dreams were those of any other girl - she wanted to live a normal life, and be treated that way. She was spunky and stubborn, qualities that kept her going. She accomplished what she wanted. She graduated from High School, went on to College, met "the one," got married, and had a beautiful baby girl. She loved people and people loved her. She remained constant throughout, trusting God with her life and her family. Her laugh will never be forgotten, or her silly ways. She was petite, but you knew not to mess with her when she was riled up! Her rough, rocky path abruptly ended when she was 26 years old, but around the bend that day, was a street of gold. Maria took a road less traveled by, and for those of us who knew her, her path made all the difference in our lives.

Belinda Bishop

Maria was a woman with an abundant strength. She never faced life with the attitude of "what could have been" but instead took every moment to embrace what could be. She had a love for life that was amazing. She would not let her disease stop her from looking forward to her future. She succeeded in doing GREAT things! She attended college and graduated. She married and had a beautiful daughter Makayla. She was such a loving mother and Makayla was by far her greatest joy. Her love and strength came from the Lord and a determination to fight for life. Love and Miss you.


Maria was my little sister, but in most situations she was the mature one. She had to grow up faster than most. She started at a young age taking medication. She had to fight to breathe most days, but she was willing to do it to find joy. She lived each day to the fullest. Her goal was to prove to mankind that you can still have a great life with a great outlook and have a terminal illness. And she did. Maria was a hero to me. She stood when all others would have turned away. She was never afraid to tell you the truth, whether you wanted to hear it or not. She was also the first to stand up for you and be your biggest support system. Even though she was so sick, she always took care of me when I had a tummy ache or cold. She would let me sleep with her when my heart was broken and she never said I told you so. Her biggest dream was to become a mother and she did. Even though pregnancy took all of her extra nutrients and left her body weak. She did it! She passed when her daughter was not quite one. My wish is that her daughter grows to know how much of a hero her mother was and the sacrifice she gave to give her life.


I have many fond memories of my cousin. She was more like a sister to me and I always felt a need to protect her. Not that she needed it, she was so brave and a leader. She was a hero to me and probably the strongest person I knew. I tried to prepare myself that she wouldn't be around for as long as someone might normally be here. I would never be prepared. I miss her, we all do. One of the best things my husband would do is to tell me "say goodbye to your cousin and tell her you love her". I didn't want to do it, but I did. I didn't know that would be the last time I would talk to her. Love to you always...


God truly blessed me with Maria! She loved to talk and laugh. She enjoyed times with family and friends. With health issues, she had many struggles, but she battle through graduating from high school, then went to college and received an Associate's Degree (Psychology). She loved spending time at church, her faith was strong. She was close to her family; her sister was her closest friend. She fell in love, married, and a few years later had a beautiful daughter, she was so excited and felt blessed. Her body was getting tired and God decided it was time for her to come home. There are many words that describe her; Loving, Independent, Strong, Courageous, Faithful, Humble, Bold, Meek, Humorous, Amazing, Friend, Wife, Mother, Sister, Aunt, Cousin, Niece, Granddaughter, my DAUGHTER!

Love and miss you, Mom

Maria was an inspiration in the way she tackled life, she had a good spirit about life. Sometime if we would go to the doctor and the results were not good, she would say "it will be better next month". One day, Melissa, Maria & I were having a conversation. Melissa was upset with God and Maria said "please sis don't be upset with God, I want to show people that you can have a terrible disease like Cystic Fibrosis and still love God, be happy, and have faith". I was thinking what a pretty good daughter I have to have that kind of faith. II Timothy 4:7, 'I have fought a good fight I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.'

This was my daughter Maria ~ love you forever, Dad.

Heroine of Strength.     Heroine of Faith.     Heroine of Love.