Sunday, April 25, 2010

Until We Meet Again

The Lord puts some very special people in our lives, and it is never easy when He takes them home. Today is not an easy day, as I have lost one of those special people. Dorothy was my Aunt, my Godmother, and my friend. From the first day we met there was a special bond. She loved to tell the story of her visiting when I was still in a crib. She was getting dressed, and turned around to find me standing in the crib just watching her. She then said to me in a stern voice with a smile, “I’m gonna have to keep an eye on you!” And she did. We would see each other only once a year at most, but we made the most of those times. There were jeep trips to Yankee Boy, Corkscrew, and her favorite Silver Basin. There was penny poker at the dining room table, “99” everywhere we could find a flat surface, including the top of a fire tower, and the Christmas trips! The Green Bay Wisconsin area in the winter when warmth was a distant memory, where we would still get out and cross country ski and hike at “The Ridges”, walk the shores of Lake Michigan, or visit the Red Mill with the chapel the was so special to her. And then there were the vans. Dorothy loved the vans her and Marie bought, and I remember once, I got to drive us all to the “House On The Rock” in one of them and as it turns out we were oblivious to the tornadoes that touched down all over the state that day. We really heard about it from Grandma when we got back! Why did you not call! And I recall the pain and struggles that Dorothy had while she cared for my Grandmother in her later years, and how somehow God would prompt me to call her at just the right time to give her encouragement. There were many tears of sorrow and of laughter spent on the phone over the years.

In the later years, there was a very special trip where I drove her and Marie down to Gulf Shores AL which turns out to be her last trip there. It was a hoot to explain how a GPS worked, and hear her retort that she was so far removed from technology that she did not know how she was still alive! I still recall the large volume of meatloaf sandwiches they made for the trip which we had for dinner, breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch…….and we laughed together about that just a couple of weeks ago. Our mantra became no meatloaf please! There was the day we just sat on the grass in front of her home nicknamed “Treemenless” and watched the kids play in the lake, jumping off the floating dock, and paddling around in the Kayak.

I remember her visit to Colorado when we were there caring for my Mom in her last months. She wanted to come and say goodbye to Mom, and she gave us encouragement as well.

Special memories all.

Not too many years ago, as her health declined, she came to live with my father in Colorado for a year or so, and that time was special for me. We would sit out on the back porch with a glass of port or take a drive in the G6 with the top down to see the colors of fall. I remember her sitting in a chair in our driveway helping to decide where to place the trees in our landscaping project, and her comments of how good they looked. She got to enjoy a number of birthdays with us on the back porch, and we laughed as we often did.

As her memory faded, the last years were the toughest. Last summer we got to take her for a drive around the Chain-O-Lakes, and out for lunch at the Wheel House. She had done this many times for us, and we wanted to return the favor. It was hard on her to get out, but she really wanted to spend more time together. We showed her movies of the kids, reminisced about all the good times we had together and about meatloaf. We laughed and hugged, both knowing that this would likely be the last time we would see each other on this earth. I still recall how melancholy I felt as I left her apartment for the last time…….

Dorothy did not want to burden anyone, and at her request, there will be no memorial service, but I still want everyone to know that she was a very special lady to many, but especially to me, her nephew, her God- son, and her friend. I love you Dort, and look forward to when we can meet to hug and laugh together again.

It seems fitting to end with Dort’s admonition:

  • Live With Your God,

  • Do what you want to do,

  • and DO IT NOW!
We will do our best Dort.

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