Saying Goodbye to Dort’n

May 12, 2024 | Bright Wings articles, Change

Everyone around me was calling her Dorothy.  I tried it.  It came out “Dort’n.”  That’s the best I could do at the time.  I was only 2.  Eventually I’d just call her Mom.

In the years between then and now we’ve shared so much, not all of it what anyone could call fun — but not all of it horrible either.  It’s been a mixed bag — one that’s progressively improved as the hands of our life-clocks moved slowly closer to this moment.

There are stories I could tell about the struggles — and triumphs — we faced.  But all of those are simply woven into the tapestry we know as Life.  They have become the fabric of who we are, experiences that shape us ever forward into ourselves.

I said goodbye to Dort’n April 12th, though the last time we were face to face was several years before that.  I had a strange feeling at the time it might be our last hug, and it turns out I was right about that.

I have no regrets.  But of all the things I wish I’d said when she was still able to hear them, it would be this:

“Thank you, Mom, for everything you gave me, and thank you for your unshakable faith in me.  Thank you for the precious things you taught me about living, and why they matter.  I love you.”

I think she knew that.  But I don’t think she ever knew how proud of her I am and always have been.  She was the firstborn of her family, the matriarch of our clan, the leader of the pack.  Her life wasn’t easy, but it was authentic.  From her I learned so many valuable lessons and truths.

This week as I hold in my hands my first international bestselling book, tears will come because she never got to see this while she walked these green and growing hills and plains.  She would have been so proud and happy for me.

Just hours after she passed, I delivered one of the most important talks I’ve ever given, to a receptive audience whose viewership has grown into multi-millions.  Reaching more than 10 million people with my message has been on my bucket list longer than I can remember.  I know that when I wrote it down, it seemed like such a huge goal.  And now I can check it off.

I don’t know what was on Dort’n’s bucket list, although I can guess about a few things.  I suspect she was able to leave this life feeling complete.  No one lives to be 102 without some sense of accomplishment just for having lived that long.  Imagine what it must feel like to have experienced such a rich century as her life spanned; I can’t, quite — and toward the end she wasn’t able to tell us.

The obituary I wrote for her is here  and that will give you a small sense of who she was.

All I know for sure is that as the rest of the years of my life unfold for me, I’ll miss my Dort’n so much.  I wish her peace and radiant joy for wherever her journey takes her on the other side.  She’s earned it.

Pin It on Pinterest