That's short for Dorothy, obviously. I was notified that she passed away yesterday. I typically don't post this sort of thing because, well, I am not usually so touched by the death of a relative. Not that it doesn't bother me when it happens, and I'm obviously sad, but most of my relatives were not known to me on more than a distant basis.
You see, I was born over eight years after my sister. She was the same age as, or slightly younger than, most of her cousins. Most of my parents' families were of the WWII/Depression era. I, on the other hand, grew up with kids whose parents were, on the whole, Baby Boomers. I was a late arrival.
Not that I was a surprise package. On the contrary. My parents went eight years before they had my sister. And then my Mom lost the next child about four years later. They desperately wanted another child and had to wait four more years. That was great for me, not so great for my sister (who spent eight years being an only child), and more or less passed with little fanfare from the rest of the family, since most of them by that time had older children to tend to.
As it was, I came in on the twilight of our family's heyday. Though I can remember some instances, mostly I had to listen to stories about the glory days of all those family get-togethers, the parties into the night, the streets lined with cars, the people gathered around in standing room only festivities. By the time I came along, the older kids were teens or moving out, my parents's and their siblings approaching their fifties or even nearing retirement.
That's why I must admit my Aunt Dorth's death has touched me a little more than most. Because though being eight years older than my Mom (who was the youngest in her family), they were the closest. Mom's other sisters and brothers were much older and had their own established lives and families. In an odd twist, Aunt Dorth had the oldest of the cousins on Mom's side, her son Randy. Randy was as much older than the others as I was younger. A Vietnam War vet and a marine, I think that's why we got along. We were both on the outside of the cluster of cousins looking in.
But beyond that, it was my Aunt Dorth who I first remember in life. She would visit with my Grandma about once a year when I was young. Though I knew the other relatives, she was the one who visited on a regular basis. Partly because her marriage didn't last and it left her with time aplenty. Plus, her and my Mom were just that close.
It was her who introduced us to 'Tacos' (that's Doritos, but back then, what did we know?). She used to bring red, cherry flavored cough drops down by the truck load and we would eat them as if they were peanuts. She loved cats. And she had a goofy humor about her; an ability to break down laughing with my Mom over the craziest things. Heck, she was so cool that she was the only one who bought me two Star Wars action figures when that was all the rage. Despite my preference for other toy lines, I always cherished those because she bought them for me. It being a gift, I was still as excited as any kid getting a gift from a visiting relative.
Even though as a youngster I didn't spent much time hanging around the old folks when she and Grandma visited, it was always a fun time. Perhaps because family didn't visit much, I enjoyed the buzz that came with them stopping by. There was always fun and laughing and good food and good times around the corner.
So because she is the earliest non-Mom and Dad relative I remember (beyond my late Grandma), and because she was so close to us over the years, I send this unusual post out to her. It marks the end of an era, my Mom now being the only one left of both side of my family from her generation. Though dementia is having its way, a good doctor and good care has slowed the progress, and we believe her being in the midst of our usual family crazy keeps her on her toes.
But for Aunt Dorth, my prayers for her, and for my Mom, and for the rest of us who are still stuck here in this vale of tears. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light thine upon her.
|My youngest met her once in the nursing home, and we have a picture
But I think she would prefer this from a bygone time