Grandma Dorothy Graduates Earth
DOROTHY GRADUATES EARTH
When meeting Dorothy, you might have found yourself instantly confused by how good you suddenly felt about yourself and how present you’d suddenly become. She had a way of seeing people in that sort of way that you might expect to feel being in front of a studious monk or spiritual leader; so sure that you are where you are supposed to be with just a glance.
Her heart was wide open and she engulfed you with the kind of integrity and trust that grabbed you before her first words reached your ears. She was unflappable in her morals. She was relentless in her love.
Dorothy and my grandfather John taught me so much about love through their 66 years marriage. Not because it was perfect, but because it was resilient. This is the type of love that’s not for the faint of heart. The kind that drives you mad because of the profundity of it all.
She taught me about fearlessness when she graduated from High School in her 50s and went on to get her degree and start a new career as a journalist in her late 50’s and when she faced death twice and won.
She taught me about vitality through curiosity when she would go flying in my uncle Richard's ultralight plane, and told me she would skydive with me if it wouldn’t scare grandpa so bad. Love and partnership first, but never lose yourself to anyone, is how I read that. “Don’t tell grandpa” was one of her favorite phrases towards the end.
Over the last couple of years she's let me photograph her much more without getting prepared for the camera. She had this deep trust that took over when her mind started to fail that I would do right by her no matter what.
I’ve grieved her mind the last few years as her Alzheimer’s took hold. I knew we would never talk like we used to. What I didn’t expect was that her essence would continue to shine so brightly that even when her words failed, her message was loud and clear. I never felt her love diminish all the way to her last coherent words to me, “Always, always. Even if I go to heaven. Always, always, always.”
Now her physical body has stopped and it's time for a soul promotion. Onward to the next adventure, Grandma. You never could turn one down.
I know she found ease in the letting go when it happened. I imagine her willingness to turn the page knowing that while change can feel scary, everything we're waiting for is on the other side of it. I'm sure she felt like this quote that I love so much -- "Death is like taking off a tight shoe." - Emmanuel (aka-Ram Dass's invisible friend)