If you cancel out the Wizard of Oz, you probably don’t know a Dorothy. It hasn’t been a Top 10 name ever. It is a shortcut name for Dorothea, which has a Greek meaning of “God’s Gift.” My two Dorothy’s are certainly that. Both have been on my mind constantly.
My oldest Dorothy is my mom. She’s just a few weeks away from her 98th birthday. Getting old is hell, and getting to be real old is double hell. Dorothy, my mom, just wants what my dad wanted and got; to die at home. He died a few months short of his 90th birthday. We’re hoping she gets her wish. The only thing that could prevent that is a broken hip or maybe pneumonia which would entail hospitalization. She doesn’t want that. She just gave up driving one year ago, and still makes her own meals and lives alone in Indiana. Her mind is sharp, quick, witty and ornery. Mom has the physical looks of someone at least 15 years younger and the mental attributes of someone 40 years younger.
MY MOM AT AGE 90 MY MOM AT AGE 95
That doesn’t change the fact there’s 98 years of worn parts. Her body is worn out completely. She’s not moving, seeing and hearing very well. And, for the first time in her life, she is experiencing depression during those times when her body won’t do what her mind commands. Another birthday is the last thing mom wants. I feel sad and quite helpless being 2500 miles away. She is stubborn in her ways and she deserves to live out her life the way she wants. My answers for her needs are not her wants for her needs. So be it. I have to join her wishes for a timely and happy death in her own bed in her own home.
At the same time, I’m thinking about my other Dorothy who is a much younger version of my mother. She’s the educated brilliant version of my momma Dorothy, but still has the quick sharp wit and wonderful happy personality. My local Bako Dorothy has been an incredible wife to her ailing husband, a perfect mom to her kids, a long retired junior high teacher, and now I get to see her as a brilliant writer who graces our twice monthly writing critique group. We have been meeting at her home for over two years and we have become a family of siblings helping each other achieve our writing goals while finding time to be a part of each other’s lives. Six weeks ago, our writer, Dorothy, wasn’t feeling well at one of our meetings and suddenly, today she is fighting for her life. The dreaded “Big C” has overtaken her pancreas and liver and sucked the air out of each of our lungs and filled our hearts with pain. A year ago, another loved critique group member, Catherine, fought, battled and whipped that dreaded disease and Dorothy and each of us felt victorious with her. This time is different. Our victory can only come with a peaceful ending.
My two Dorothy’s are both facing the end of their journeys. My two Dorothys both deserve peace.