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Dorothy’s Gifts

By July 3, 2018 WNIJ

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It seemed like all my friends were getting married and I was always a bridesmaid.

I was on my way to graduate school. A family friend, Dorothy Harro gave me two gifts.

The first was a set of Pfalzgraph dishes that I still use today. She didn’t want me to feel left out with all these weddings. She said she was proud of me and my independence.

The second was a day trip to go canoeing on Schroon Lake in the Adirondacks. We marveled at how mysterious a black line of rain looked. I must have told her about my fear of taking care of my parents when they became old and feeble. This fear carried over to my husband’s mother. I was afraid of being swallowed up by her need.

As the rain approached, Dorothy talked about how people from church sang to her dying father in those final moments. The load on her, the awfulness lifted. She said it would for me too.

She was right. A few years later, my parents were here. And then they were gone, spared the slow decline and loss of their powers, the indignities of a nursing home. Wiping my mother-in-law’s bottom was beyond me but her caregiver took such good care of her, she had no bedsores even though she had been bedridden for a year.

Dorothy was right. My terror did not come true.

I’m Katie Andraski and that’s my perspective.

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4 Comments

  • Wilma Christine Guzman says:

    Katie:
    That sounds like a great family friend you had who recognized that the courageous you needed celebrating. I married at 32 myself, I had known when both my sisters married at 19 (both successful marriages), I would not be following the same route in life. I had many good years with the residents in the nursing home I worked, it was only at the end with much different expectations on staff and top management styles changing for the worse. My Mother is content and well cared for in her nursing home and I am glad she was settled in there before my Father was able to join her a number of months later from the nursing home he was in. It is a relief she is settled there now that my Father is gone. There are many younger people with disabilities who have to deal with others doing their personal care as well – and they have many reasons to live and develop intense interests. A good book I recommend -Precious Cargo – Craig Davidson – a man gets a job as a school bus driver to teenagers with disabilities.
    One of my residents once told me: If I didn’t have anything to worry about, I’d worry about that. We do have to choose to not let our fears and worries take over our outlook on life, so we are not able to recognize what blessings we do have.

    • katiewilda says:

      Dorothy was a great family friend. I’ve heard she’s still alive and looked up one of her sons and found he lives in my region and found my old youth pastor who was very influential to me as a young woman. He too lives in my region.

      Your work in the nursing home sounds very rich, and also the work of the Lord helping people in a vulnerable need. I”m so glad you mom is content and being well cared for. Another book about bus drivers and disabled people is Riding the Bus with My Sister by Rachel Simon. The book showed me how to see people who are disabled. It helped me confront my own biases. I taught it several semesters and found it offered some rich discussions and writing.

      I hear you on that wise word about worrying about nothing to worry about. It’s an uneasy thing when life is quiet and good. It’s very important to focus on our blessings and not let our fear take over. Have you heard the song “Fear is a Liar”? It speaks very deeply to me.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1srs1YoTVzs Thank you so much for stopping by.

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