Sunday, May 03, 2009

Miss Dorothy

Miss Dorothy was a was an very old woman who I found lives a few doors down from me. As she approaced my yard sale, I could see that she was wrinkled and her skin very weathered from time and the Florida sun, but she had such a twinkle in her eye and a warmness from her heart that radiated all around her.

She was looking for items to send to the Native American children in North Dakota, who she has supported for much of the past 20 years. To say she had a passion was an understatement. After hearing her story, the local awards she had won for her efforts, and about those she helped, everything in the clothing line for kids was instantly marked to a mere $1; hell some of it just became stinking free at that point. She chose clothes, coats, and eventually moved onto some books that I was giving away for those who bought items for kids.

She started talking about her seven year old granddaughter as she ruffled through the box of books. As we talked, we found that there were similarities in overcoming some educational difficulties her granddaughter and that my own seven year old daughter had; speech impediments. When she realized they had so much in common, but had overcome such adversities to become head of their classes, her eyes began to well up with tears.

In a voice that was just a few decibels above a whisper, she explained that her granddaughter's father, her son, had committed suicide only the year before. He had suffered a just-diagnosed case of schizophrenia, but the doctor had "suddenly" taken him off his medication and all was downhill for him from there in a short period of time.

Her eyes became a darker shade of red as she fought the tears from flowing.

I was full of sympathy and compassion, but also proud of her and her granddaughter for not looking at her son from how he died, but how he lived. She told me that he was a very devoted father to his daughter, but she had chosen to transform her grief by delving into the books that her father had loved so much at her age. It is what drove her to become a better student and overcome her speech impediment which interfered with her education.

My eyes began to tear.

Miss Dorothy left with her clothes for her "children" in North Dakota and with a handful of books from the box, plus ones I took personally from my children's shelves. Hell, I wanted just to give her everything I had left if she could have used it; but she declined. She was the sort that just took what she need and nothing more. As I watched her leave, I could tell by her gait and the smile on her face that regardless of what happened to her son, she was at peace and that she had made her mark on the world.

She certainly did in my heart. My yard sale didn't seem so significant after that for I know that God sent her my way for a reason.

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