Tuesday, July 5, 2011

an honor to love her & be loved by her

late this afternoon the phone calls came
I didn't understand for some time what the quiet words
were about
Gary's aunt passed away today or perhaps last evening
and I miss her so much already
her loving husband of many many years is slipping away
into the mist of Alzheimer's and she was his CareGiver
protecting him
we missed seeing them this last Christmas

from Brandon's very first Christmas until this last one
the boys have received beautiful Hallmark ornaments
as part of their Christmas gifts

she loved sending them and asking how they liked them
and we would carry on about how many we had
each year more and more, over 60 now I believe
there were years when she would send extra ones
and then when they were older and she wanted to make sure
they got exactly the ones that had meaning for them
even when they were Darth Vader (!!!) or Spiderman
she was on board and placed the order with her local
Hallmark shop in Mexico, Missouri

Don and Dorothy did not have children of their own so Gary and his sister
had a special place in their hearts
and our combined four children were like adopted grandchildren
in a quiet way

but it was never quiet at Christmas!
one year my mom was here from New Mexico and saw them in action:
Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus of the Midwest!
she made countless delicious cookies and knew all of our favorites
so tons came
and box after box of food treats, 10 kinds of cheese,
rows of boxes of crackers,
chocolates and yummy homemade-by-the-Amish candies
candles, usually some kind of crystal or clear glass piece for me
to add to my collection from her
and always surprises

one year it was the biggest barrel of cheese balls on earth
from the little boys' point of view!
she loved to see them laugh and jump up and down with delight!
she loved hearing that we didn't have room in the frig for everything
she brought, so we stuffed and crammed and carried on laughing
and munching at the same time
it was this generous spirit of abundance
it was giving with abandon
watching Uncle Don playing with the kids and enjoying their toys
as if he were young again made her laugh so hard

she was teaching the boys her way of creating Tradition
no words of instruction needed
this past Christmas did not sparkle as bright because they could not come
we tried a number of times to deliver our gifts to them
but they were cocooning I feel
and as much as we missed seeing them
we could talk with them on the phone and she of course sent the
loveliest anniversary card to us
the last card we will receive from them
and her handwriting is as strong and pretty and giving as always
just a handful of days ago...

this evening I had a bit of time and used it to go to the mall
and find a few Hallmark cards as I reflected upon her impact on my life

the new Christmas ornament booklet has just come out!
I could hear Aunt Dorothy's voice telling me that it is time
once again
so I picked up one of those catalogs
and will ask Brandon and Bryan to please pick out
their favorite ornaments once again
in Memory of one who loves them
so unconditionally it feels like a Christmas afghan blanket
wrapped around snuggly warm

the strong hugs she gave made me safe
everything would be alright
we will have a wonderful Christmas day
we will have fun food to last until April
there will be cards in the mail for every holiday
St. Patrick's Day included even though none of us happen to be Irish
but hey it was a chance to find cute cards and slip in some "fun money"
and wishes

I miss you, Aunt Dorothy
I love you and thank you for loving me and all of us unconditionally
we will find the ways to take good care of your good Don
there are good friends and family in your life working on that
right now
and there will be quiet goodbyes made
"no hullaballoo" for you
as you made very clear!

reflecting on life and death this evening when we were
all here together hearing the news and receiving it and responding
in our different ways
I learned so much as much came out

her living loving pulsing example will always be a standard of heart
I want to learn from
genuine, genuine through and through


  1. What a lovely tribute to Aunt Dorothy.

  2. My heart is with you & your family, Gloria. Aunt Dorothy will live on in your hearts. Thanks for sharing a bit of her with us.