Saturday, January 17, 2009
A tribute to our friend Doris
For those of you who remember our friend Doris, I wanted to tell you the sad news that she passed away last Saturday, January 10th. Although her body finally gave out, here spirit never did and I venture to guess it would have lasted another thousand years! She bravely battled her four month war against lung and brain cancer. Although originally not expected to live to Thanksgiving, she not only spent that day with her family, but also Christmas and her 85th birthday. Her family was with her when she passed. For the last 2 1/2 days she had been fairly incoherent. However, with clear eyes, she suddenly opened them one last time and was able to see her daughter and husband as they told her they loved her. I know they are extremely blessed to have had that final moment with her.
I was going to post something shortly after Rachel called and told us last Saturday, however I chose to wait a bit. I wanted to honor Doris properly and decided to wait until after her service yesterday. Because Rachel has become part of our family, I knew Doris through her and Ali, but finally got to meet her last September. I feel so extremely privilged to have seen her a few times in the recent months and the more I heard about her, the more I knew what an extraordinary woman she was.
It wasn't until her funeral yesterday that I got to know a little more of this remarkable lady. As I sat there listening to the various eulogies I thought to myself, "Why are you so surprised to here about her spunk, her tenacity, and the love she has for everyone she meets? You know her family and they're just like her."
Let me share a little of what I know of her, so that when you see her slideshow below, you may appreciate such a human a little bit more.
Doris and her husband, Donny, were married 63 years. He didn't say he just loved her he said "I'm in love with her!" They knew each other when they were youngsters in Georgia. However, Donnie moved away and then was in the navy during WWII. When he came back to Georgia he attended a dance where Doris was attending as well. After they were reintroduced, Donnie walked away and Doris told her friends, "He's mine" :) Unable to have children, they adopted a son and daughter-affectionately known as "Bubba" and "Sis". Sis (Donna), gave an incredibly moving tribute to her mom yesterday. She told how her mom was a self proclaimed "heathan and hellion" when she was younger. At three years of age, Doris took her mother's lipstick and "colored" the bedposts, she decorated the bathroom with an entire tube of toothpaste, clogged the toilet and proceeded to flood the bathroom by allowing the tub to overflow. Now, this wasn't several different occurances, this was ONE EPISODE! :)
Regardless of how Doris viewed herself as a child, this woman was so full of love for EVERYONE she met. The instant you met her you felt like she was a friend you'd had your entire lifetime. Donna also told a story that showed the compassion her mom had. Donna works in law enforcement and one day Donna and her mom were at the police department. When Doris saw a young man handcuffed to a bench, she asked Donna and her fellow co-worker what the young man had done. They replied "He pointed a gun at someone". Doris asked "A REAL one?" Then said something like "Maybe that young man just needs a hug" and she proceeded to give him one. Donna and her co-worker chuckled at the unusualness of what had just transpired, but when they turned around the young man had tears in his eyes.
I felt so honored to know her just a little bit, but I am so grateful that her daugter and granddaugther have become a part of our family. These are the type of people we all need to surround ourselves with. I don't know about you, but I am going to try my best to hold a little bit of Doris in my heart as I walk through my life. She definitely shows everyone she encounters what a human heart is truly supposed to be like.
I know I've been promising some of my regular viewers photos from last month, and I planned on posting them this week. However, Doris' slideshow that I put together for her service yesterday was my top priority. Because the family has so many wonderful memories of her, there were well over 200 photos and four songs. I've chosen, though, to pull some of my favorites and to use one of the songs we used to pay tribute to her. George Strait was her favorite musical artist, and Rachel told me tonight this was her grandma's favorite song, so it's perfect. It's not the type of music I usually use for a show, and really isn't the type I listen to :), although when you hear the words, you might agree that Doris actually could have written the lyrics. She knew a secret that most of us don't know, or we tend to forget. She lived life to the fullest, having LOTS of fun along the way (wait until you see some of the things she did!) I don't know that I would have had the amount of courage that she did when it came to her battle. She chose to have no treatment, because she wanted to enjoy whatever time she had left...that includes ZIP LINING! In fact her courage was a model to so many people that Donna will be going to Georgia later this year to receive an award in her mom's honor from Relay for Life naming her the inspirational woman of the year.
Doris, I felt so blessed to have known you and I hope a little of you rubbed off on everyone you met. You faced your battle with courage, wisdom and grace. You were truly a fearless warrior who I will not ever forget. Your laughter and sense of humor you passed onto your family is truly a legacy. Now each time Rachel makes me smile, it will be a little bit bigger because I know you were the source.
Click the arrow to begin her slideshow.
For those of you who didn't see the previous post, here is Doris' story as told by Sutter hospital, that is featured on YouTube