My wife is convinced that March is a cursed month for us. Although I am not much given to the teachings of "Woo", I have to say there may be something to her suspicions. In March 2003 we lost a pregnancy that would have been our daughter Zoe. Numerous other marital challenges also occurred in the month of March. Then on March 26th, 2012 our house burned to the ground. However, this year, 2015, may go down as the single worst March on record for us. On the 15th we lost our dear friend Denise to cancer and two days later, on St. Patrick's day, Kristen's mother, my mother-in-law, died suddenly. I sit on Southwest flight 777 as I write this, still in disbelief. Jonatha Brooks sets the mood in my headset (Inconsolable). The woman next to me eats her salad and the laws of physics continue to hold true and keep us aloft but the "ground" beneath me feels utterly tenuous.
Dotty was my mother too. When Kristen brought me round for introductions some 22 years ago, I wasn't sure what to expect. But this woman accepted me from the very first day and claimed me as her own. And I have to say the sentiment was mutual. I was always so impressed with this woman. She had chosen a path of sobriety several years before Kristen and I met. She was an accomplished artist and we have much of her work honoring the walls of our home. I think one of the very most impressive feats of hers, however, was the fact that she had gotten her pilots license at age 40. And retired as a captain flying 727's for Miami Air. That does not happen in a normal universe. Early in Kristen's and my courtship, Dotty took us in a Cherokee to the Bahamas for a swim. That sealed my love for both flying and The Bahamas. Over the years we would spend many vacations flying to the Bahamas with Dotty and Jerry and sleeping on the fly bridge of Jerry's trawler until we got our own boat to keep over there. All these endeavors the enduring gifts of this remarkable woman.
Dotty had a way with people because she loved them. She could glean personal details from a complete stranger in 5 minutes that would normally only be revealed after an extended friendship. And she would keep in touch with those people. I don't know if it was her disarming smile and demeanor or because she was genuinely interested and knew what questions to ask. Both I am pretty sure, which is a potent cocktail for the development of enduring connections. There was no fear, which is what gets in my way even with the people closest to me. She will be a permanent reminder of what it takes to live well in this world. I will borrow words from my previous post to Denise because they are pertinent, appropriate and absolutely necessary...
"And I don't want to lessen the pain. It is how I know that she meant something to me. I hope there will always be a smile along side a couple of tears when I think of Dotty and the time she spent with Kristen and me. It really all comes down to that. Have we touched others and have we allowed others to touch us. I cannot really see that anything else makes a damn bit of difference in the final analysis. Thank you Dotty for how you touched us. I can only hope we touched you with even a fraction of the same depth. God speed."