Strong women make up many of the thick, stabilizing roots and branches of my family tree. Women who have come from Mid-Western farming communities and Northwestern logging communities. Places where they faced challenges, birth, death, love, loss, and managed to continue on...no matter what.
Their strength has been the tap root that grounds me. Their heart the heartwood that has carried the sun and the energy to the branches and twigs and leaves of the tree, imparting their soul into our souls...into my soul.
Our generations can be counted like the rings of a trunk, from sapling to bark.
I have learned from these women, my Grandmothers, my Great Aunts, my Mom.
We lost my Grandmother a few years ago. We lost my Aunt Dorothy today. The past year was not kind to her and I feel relief that she is healthy and whole now, in peace. At the hospital last night we joked that she gets to go to one fantastic family reunion. My sister laughing and saying she was just a little jealous.
My Aunt Dorothy was a tiny lady full of energy and fight. Her eyes twinkled, she laughed, she never hesitated to say " I love you". Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Bud have always been two of my favorite people. I remember in grade school when the bus would stop at the end of my street. Looking toward my house, my sister and I would see their red car in the the drive and fly off the bus, running all the way home fighting to get there first. I remember in Middle and High school, when we were just a little too punkish for my Dad and Mom (ok, a lot too punkish) and my Aunt Dorothy whispered to me: "You just don't worry about what your wearing. You look cute. Back in my day, I always wore the crazy clothes. Just enjoy yourself."
I moved to North Portland 7 years ago and just a mile or so from them. I remember going over there and giving her a hug and wondering when she had shrunk. :-) She would laugh and say she needed to go shopping, that she couldn't find anything to wear. The juniors department was too big for her. Too cute.
A few years ago, Aunt Dorothy gave me all of her cookbooks. She didn't need them anymore. I was thrilled!! I only wish I could have learned how to make Lefse from her before she died.
Good bye Aunt Dorothy! I love you to pieces. Thanks for making me laugh as a child, making me feel comfortable with myself as a teenager, and for letting me know you as an adult.
Special love to my Mom who has spend the past year and a half taking care of her Aunt and Uncle. They never had any children and my Mom is the closest they got. Mom has spent her time, love and energy making sure they are comfortable and safe. She was with Aunt Dorothy until the end. Mom - I have learned so much from you about sacrifice, giving, and loving.