She rarely wore lipstick, but when she did, it was lovely.
Her favorite reminder was, “Life is too short, honey.”
Yet we watched her beckon her own death closer, year after year, smoking her lungs black. I imagine they were mottled, but less like a toad, and more like a starry night. We never saw anyone live so long in anticipation of the end.
The stroke had paralyzed Dot's right side, bounding her to a wheelchair for her final 15 years. Her right hand curled tighter every year until it finally balled itself into a fist. She could hardly speak but we knew she was thinking... Her mouth and its weary muscles betrayed her brilliant mind.
We were told she loved to read. She had a photographic memory. She taught her daughters how to cook. When they brought their drama home to her, she would advise them: don’t borrow trouble. One of those daughters would pocket that saying and pass it down to her own children. Years later, that same daughter would lay beside Dot, squeezing her hand as she took her final breath.
So she grabs hold of my hand,
And I tuck my fingers between hers,
So she can sweep me,
Good and bad,
Into her mighty shade.
She was willing to love everything in us – unconditionally. Most of the time, and especially toward the end, she could make us feel better without saying anything at all.
They say her right hand, finally, relaxed with her last exhale.
She is the eighth of The Great Danes.
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