D is Dedicated to Dorothy

It’s too personal, too too personal, but D must be dedicated to Dorothy.  We fought, we argued, we pitted ourselves against each other, we learned from and taught each other, shared a host of interests together, and now she’s gone, I miss her more each day.

She loved to be amused ...

I can’t think of anything I’ve ever heard, or read, which better expresses my attachment to my mother.*

… I was suspended in her space

A star flesh, to her sun

I felt the pull of the earth through her

Before my life began.

I rolled on her heartbeat,

I danced in her blood,

I breathed on her water,

My mother and my god …

But, who was she, this woman who molded me, guided me, watched over me, for all but 58 years of my life?

Dorothy was a Queenslander.  I mention this odd appellation because to return to Queensland was one of the conditions she imposed upon my father in accepting his proposal of marriage, and a move from post-war Sydney to the western plains of New South Wales — as she described Griffith, where his farm was –- and also because, until very late in her life, she was never a gall who called Australia home.

She was born in Maryborough, her mother’s home town, on the 19th of March, 1915, and grew up in Brisbane and Toowoomba, surrounded by the laughter and tears of the succession of little boys who were her father’s students.  Dorothy’s life was molded by the strong Anglican community of which Grandfather and his school were an integral part.  She placed much faith in the principles of duty and fidelity, of doing what is right, even if it was sometimes difficult, or confronting to do so.

But Dorothy’s imagination was fired by the classics she studied alongside her father, and later by English literature, and classical music.  As a grown woman she reverenced beauty, the glories of nature, and the creativity of Mankind (sic):  the artists, musicians, writers and architects of the world as she know it.  Traveling to Europe to see these wonders and the landscapes of Western civilization’s history was her passion.

She was a discreet woman, a product of her times, and those of her grandmother, with whom she lived for several momentous months when her sister Joan was born.  It was at great grandmother’s knee that she learned the stories of her mother’s kin, and where was born her strong sense of family and its importance in the life of a woman with no obvious calling.  To have her own family became a compelling need, and she applied her formidable personality and standards to lead her little family in the way she saw as right.   Through her family she learnt of love, and loving, and through her friends – real, and the creations of fiction – she reveled in life.  She loved to be amused, and amazed.

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Her unsatisfactory daughter is the beneficiary of her love and strong will, and is eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to demonstrate her love for her mother by caring for her through the last years of her life.  Momentously for me, by having this time together as an adult, Dorothy at last came to accept me as I am, and through this acceptance, born of unconditional love, she once again became my beginning – for after she died I was born anew.

*  Many thanks to Eddi Reader, “Ghosts”.

56 thoughts on “D is Dedicated to Dorothy

    • Good morning Sonel, thank you. Yes, blessed I surely was, especially during those final ten years. Not many of us have the opportunity to spend that sort of time with their parents at that time of life. It was a great gift.

  1. You must know, that in the span of a day I have very little time, in which I must seek to do more than a little. I tell myself each morning, as I gaze upon my bloated inbox, that I simply cannot make it around to every post. And I don’t, of course; but I cannot seem to sacrifice the few minutes spent over here, listening to The Wanderlust Gene. Your stories, your memories and moments, the way in which you share yourself whether it be in humor or vulnerability — it touches me, Meredith.

    This post and the pictures of a woman I never knew, stirred something in my heart. Thank you for sharing her with us.


    • What can I say, Cara? I’m proud, and I’m extremely gratified that you make the time to see what I have to say, and more, that you talk to me about your reactions. And extremely flattered … and something I look forward to in my day.
      Thank you.

  2. This was your best ever post. Thank you for sharing this part of yourself. Your mother sounds like a very interesting woman, but then, she gave birth to you, didn’t she? I’m so glad you had the chance to be there for her–a very difficult and demanding time. It was a precious gift to Dorothy, and a gift you also gave yourself–peace and resolution.

    • Best? I’m flattered, but if that is so, it is appropriate, I think, because it was never anything but the best that Dorothy demanded of herself, and those of us who shared the planet with her.
      You got it Naomi – a precious gift, and for me one I have to draw on for the rest of my life.

  3. Thanks for that Viv. Still don’t feel completely sure of how to pitch myself in this Blog world of ours. It’s especially difficult when you overstep the mark a bit by doing something like the Dorothy piece, but I did feel she had to be introduced (and acknowledged) and I do so love those photographs of her …

  4. What an unbelievably beautiful post. I agree that oftentimes we women have difficult complicated relationships with our mothers. I love my mom dearly yet we are very different and it especially came to light when I became a mother myself. What a splendid post. Do you have children? What about siblings?

  5. What a wonderful trbute to your mother. From your post and photos, I gather she was an elegant lady full of life… TY for sharing her with us.

  6. Condolences on the loss of your mother. My mother is deceased too, so I know the empty spot that is left, to be filled with memories alone. Your mother looked like she had a happy life, and I suspect she’d be honored to know that your did a post celebrating her life. You did a wonderful job paying respects to your Mom. Wonderful share. 🙂

  7. That was such a lovely tribute, i don’t think you overstepped at all! You never stop missing your mother do you? Those photographs are so beautiful!

    • Aren’t the old photos wonderful? So evocative of long long ago! I’m glad to have your assurances about not going too far – and to know you liked it. Ma used to say she still missed her mother, even after 50 odd years, so I’m not surprised that I do miss here, just surprised that I seem to miss her more now than when she died!

  8. How could I not comment on this? It was just deciding what to say. The combination of Sydney, our mothers long gone, childless only children – and Toowoomba1 I was destined to go there because the grandmother of my travelling companion lived there, but I got distracted in Sydney with some guy I married.

    Seriously, some superb photographs there. They are excellent. The character of your mother shows through in every single one.

    I fought with mine too ….. but only for 45 years of my life.

  9. I love this, thank you again for your kind words on my blog. It was great reading the story about your mother. My relationship with my mother was probably the most precious to me, I guess what strikes me the most is that I hoped for any future children I planned to have would have had the pleasure of enjoying her time as a grandmother. I know that things happen in this life for reasons we cannot understand and I have made peace with that. My mother was tough on my sister and and I, but i know it was because she wanted better for us and to see us prepare ourselves for anything including her passing. Your mother seemed a remarkable woman and it’s beautiful that you share your time with her with us.

    • Interesting you talk of your regret that your children won’t know your mother – but they will, of course, through you. You understand how she was preparing you and your sister for the world you would have to negotiate on your own – it’s a legacy for the generations. Write the stories you remember while they’re fresh so they too can be passed down. Thank you for your kind words.
      Take care:)

    • Thank you:) I think maybe you’re right about the ‘often-complicated’ nature of mother/daughter relationships. I don’t have a daughter myself, but I do have friends whose relationships with their daughters are a constant topic of conversation!
      Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment. Hope to see you again sometime …

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