Photo Gallery l Mary Traver wins Berkshire Bank's " Carpe Momento" writing contest


PITTSFIELD -- Mary Traver didn't know what to expect the day her daughter awoke from a coma.

Melissa Dupont had been in a serious car accident in which she'd received several life-threatening injuries. Doctors originally thought she wouldn't survive more than two days; she'd been in a coma for a month.

Traver wondered if her daughter's memory would come back.

Then, Dupont began to talk.

"She woke up and she was her," Traver said of her only child. "It was almost like she was given life again."

Traver's memories of that day were selected as the winning entry in Berkshire Bank's Carpe Momento contest, in which participants were asked to describe in writing the most exciting moment of their lives. The bank received 130 entries between May and November from those who live in the financial institution's five-state coverage area. Traver and Dupont received a $2,000 check.

"Very moving, very inspirational," Berkshire spokesman Ray Smith said. "This story kind of swept us off our feet.

"Mary's was on a completely different level."

Traver, 46, said she tried to put into words all the emotions that she felt on that special day in December 2012.

"There were so many emotions deep down after the hardship of that month," she said. "I didn't think I could put ever them into words, you know what I mean? Things that I had never felt. Things that I didn't understand."

Traver has always used writing as a method for understanding her experiences. A hairdresser, Traver has kept a diary for over 20 years, and once wrote a book for Dupont so she could remember life when she was young.

Still, Traver didn't know what would happen when she tried to describe the events of that fateful day. But she just "poured her heart out" -- and in only 20 minutes. She never looked at the words she wrote.

"I sent it right out," she said.

Dupont, 29, has never seen her mother's piece, but she is proud that she took the time to write it.

"I think she's a very strong woman," said Dupont, who works at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. "Even when I was in a coma I could feel her presence, which definitely made me comfortable. I'm proud to have a mom like her."

When times are tough, Traver frequently thinks back to the day her daughter recovered.

"I always put myself back to that day," she said. "It proves to me that everything works out in the end, even when things don't look good."

To reach Tony Dobrowolski: tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or (413) 496-6224.