This I Believe

cynthia - louisville, Kentucky
Entered on November 12, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family, legacy

Hello I am Dorothy’s daughter …

but truly was no longer Dorothy’s daughter for many years.

Much of her first 6 years living away from her Graymoor home … Dorothy spent wandering

back in personality through the stages of her earlier life.

Many times, she considered me to be Eunice her younger sister from her family of 1 brother and 5 sisters.

My older sister Sally often had the reverred role of Mary Rita…Dorothy’s older sister

and occassionally mom would call my brother Don by her brother Leonard’s name.

Just last week when my Aunt Mary Rita wrote of her childhood and how close she was with Dorothy and

sharing their bedroom with 2 younger sisters Eunice and Ruth

I realized anew that her closest aged siblings in her childhood remained represented in her

visits with us, her children.

I was tickled on the night my mother died, that one of her caregiver Paulette asked me who Ruth was.

My mother had just recently looked into a mirror across the room and said hello Ruth.

It is a treat, getting the further definition, even at this point in my life to my identity with

family, her family, our family, my family

that warmed me like a blanket and reminded me why Dorothy considered us her daughters…to be her

sisters…once she had given up the maturity and demands of her role as anyone’s mother and settled

back into comforts that were part of her history.

Ironically, time demanded that we relinquish any expectations of Dorothy as the elder

bestowing her wisdom and guidance upon us…she rather directed us and forced us into the grace of

compassion and humor as she set an example with her own silly innocence.

That was the best wisdom and guidance she could have taught us.

I will treasure my earliest memories as vital slices of life and my relationship with Dorothy

especially now as I feel the changes of getting to release from the grown up care we provided

to Dorothy and am allowed to recreate again Dorothy’s whole life of experience and effect upon us.

She WAS my mother.

The oldest memory I have of Dorothy was when I rode on my rocking horse,

Dorothy talking on the phone and I was watching early 60’s daytime television while eating cold hot dogs…and checking to see my mother…still on the phone…most likely with one of her sisters…while I repeatedly returned to raid the fridge for more hot dogs.

I remember mother buying me this crazy, fragile clown necklace from

Rose’s at the Mall in the treasured days when the older kids were at

school and I had Dorothy to myself.

…and the horrible days when she would drop me off at kindergarten and I would chase the car down the gravel lane till the teachers held me back.

I will forever savor the black jelly beans…that only my mom would eat

when we were children…and always remember the cindy cookies and brown

cow ice cream sodas that were a staple while growing up.

and the hamburgers, meatballs, meatloaf

Dorothy had many eras in her life, her family life with her siblings and a house full of dating excitement with all her sisters.

Her early career life at the telephone company and internal revenue service.

I do not have her stories, her family’s stories of the days of the

Louisville flood, the war and its soldiers and the work to be done on the home front.

My mom married my dad THOMAS Joseph MATTINGLY and had us 3 kids

Her married life and family life…for me a rich childhood of great neighborhood and holiday fun, studious school days and many cookouts.

Lots of outdoor time in the yard with play and chores.

Dorothy had a second career after we children were grown where she

worked at Stewarts Dept store and later thru till retirement…at the

Census Bureau. My brother was her co-worker some of those years in Jeffersonville

MOSTLY I want you to know about her life, her most recent life and her final life here at Episcopal Church Home.

While there were many personalities of Dorothy…the magic of this home

is that Dorothy was able to devolve back through her decades and ultimately evolve into innocence.

Become like a child and enter the kingdom of heaven.

Because of her Episcopal family, we don’t really think about the ravages

of the disease of dementia on Dorothy.

We were blessed with a very slow evolution in relinquishing the Dorothy of our past, The Dorothy of her former roles of sister, wife, mother, aunt, co-worker and

grandmother.

Relinquishing the Dorothy of a very full, rich former life to eventually

the Dorothy….free like a child….and now ultimately free of all earthly restraints.

Before I tell you about the safety zone, here at Episcopal

I want to tell you my children Jacob & Kelly, my siblings Don & Sally, my Uncle Leonard and Aunts Mary Rita and Ruth and aunt Mary that I am sorry for the memories that you missed cause of Dorothy’s illness.

It was the time when Dorothy’s direction and her maturation into wisdom and the role in her grandchildren’s life lost out

and succumbed to the frustration, fright and dependency of struggles with widowhood and the

intellectual challenges of a disease that steals the vital elements of our direction of our selves,

our life, our future, our families, our days, our thoughts, our plans, our moments and our memories.

My brother, sister and myself adapted through Dorothy’s regression

As a mother, I feel a sadness for my own children who are the generation that missed out on their grandmother’s role that was lost in the transition and might have been Dorothy’s proudest time.

NOW I AM READY TO TELL YOU ABOUT COMPASSION – THE SAFETY ZONE

The warm, fuzzy LOVE of a group of caregivers….

diligent in the physical, intellectual and emotional challenges of providing daily attention to those with limited capacities….

encouraging in their voice, direction, love and attention….& funny and personable in their daily “home” life here with Dorothy.

THE MAGIC IS THAT DOROTHY WAS ABLE TO LIVE 6 YEARS WITH A LIFE MORE

BOUNTIFUL THAN THE LIFE SHE COULD CREATE FOR HERSELF AT HER HOME…

AN EPISCOPAL CHURCH HOME

FULL OF THE LAUGHTER, PROFESSIONALISM, HEARTS AND HANDS OF 30,40,50 STAFF MEMBERS. A FAMILY OF FRIENDS THAT ALWAYS BOTHERED TO SMILE AND SAY HELLO TO DOROTHY PASSING THROUGH THESE HALLS. HOLD HER HANDS AND WALK WITH HER AND GIVE HER ROOM, ADVENTURE AND EXPERIENCES BEYOND HER OWN CAPACITY TO MANAGE…..

BUT ALWAYS IN HER CAPACITY TO ENJOY

BECAUSE THEY GAVE HER THE FREEDOM, OF MANAGING HER ILLNESS,

WHILE SHE PURSUED HER INNOCENCE.