Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dorothy Miller

This is a message I sent to friends today:

My Dear Old Mum, Dorothy, died yesterday at the age of 99. For most of her years she lived an active life and enjoyed good health. In recent months that changed. She had a difficult time moving around and her mental capacity and behavior seemed to be deteriorating rapidly. We attributed the changes to dementia, which probably did account for some of what was going on. But a couple of weeks ago we found that she had a brain tumor, clearly the main source of her difficulties.

Given that the tumor was the size of a large plum and growing rapidly and that she was 99, there was nothing to be done except make sure she was comfortable and to the degree possible, pain free. She went from the hospital to hospice care and after some difficult days was finally resting peacefully. Not long after she passed on.

Quietly, with no fanfare, she had a positive impact on everyone she touched. She was an authentically decent human being. When I hear that someone was a really good person my skeptical antennae go on high alert. In the case of Dorothy Miller, however, she really was – through and through.

She was a great mother, a leader in her community, successful in the workplace and at home and exhibited a boundless generosity of spirit. She saw the best in people and always had a positive attitude toward the world around her. (As you know, her eldest son can’t make such a claim.)

Yesterday my cousin Sharon wrote: “We have to accept things the way they are and just get on with our life.” On the occasion of her 99th birthday celebration, this is the pearl my Auntie Dorothy nonchalantly offered. It was this type of understated wisdom that my mother’s eldest sister let hang in the air for anyone lucky enough to be within earshot to gently accept and hold. If you weren’t listening, you wouldn’t know to hold out your arms to catch the inspiration that embodied Aunt Dorothy because it was served up with such grace and humility. She had a sparkle in her eyes that reflected the smile and warmth in her heart.

I think that covers it.




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