What a difference

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A year ago we were in Australia, celebrating Simon’s mum’s birthday. She was in hospital (Australians leave out the “the” between “in” and “hospital” so it seems only right to do it here) and we stood around her bed, singing quietly with our kids and Sandra, Joel and Jacob. Slices of chocolate cake were handed out, the sweetness welcome in the midst of all that was bittersweet.

It was her last birthday here on earth and now she gets the joy of celebrating in heaven with her husband and son who welcomed her there in July. What a difference a year makes, right? That’s what they say. But what a difference a person makes.

The Dorothy I knew was quiet and unassuming but she knew her mind and she stood her ground when it mattered – often much to her children’s chagrin. She raised a pack of strong-willed, opinionated and loyal children (much like herself), teaching them, by example, how to make their way in the world on their own terms. I’m so glad those terms led Simon to me here in the States, and so thankful she was able to let him spread his wings to come here and stay (I don’t know that I could do the same for my own two boys – but we are, after all, two different people and God equips us with what we need for our own lives).

While it’s hard to get to know someone from thousands of miles and an ocean away, but it’s not hard to love them, especially when they raised your husband. I’m lucky to have spent the time with her that I did and so blessed that my boys remember their last visit with her – they talk about her often with some much love in their voices. I am a better person for knowing her as I did, a better wife for loving her son and a better parent for witnessing her quiet, warm smile as she watched her family around her. We don’t get to celebrate together this year, I know she is having a blessed day where she is. Happy birthday, Dorothy.

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