Three weeks ago my “sister cousin” died. We were babies together…just 7 weeks difference in age. During the Great Depression of the 1930′s; my father and his older brother…my Uncle Ernie, rented a house together for their young families. Everyone got along well. Our mothers had been good friends long before they married brothers. Aunt Ruth played the piano for my mother’s voice recitals, etc. and they were high school and church buddies. Dorothy Ann and her sister Ernestine were my very first playmates. Ernestine was a year and nine days older than D.A. and the smartest one of the three of us…a brilliant girl who graduated top of her class in high school and college. We three girls shared so many times together growing up. Dorothy Ann and I shared a one room plus kitchenette and bath apartment when first “on our own” away from home.
These last few years were hard with Ernestine’s death….they lived together for over 30 years after D.A. and her husband separated, and there were so many health problems and physical limitations. I’m glad I got to do some Facetime with her two days before she died. She wanted to leave the hospital where she was being treated for pneumonia. She said she wanted to go to the lakes. We’d reminisced about some of the good times we’d spent at Lake Shawano during one of our phone visits. Her daughter said that wasn’t possible, so she then said she wanted to go see Joyce (me). That was nixed too…couldn’t drive from Milwaukee to Indiana during this bad weather. Then feeling a bit frustrated she kidded them and said she wanted to see a parade. She just wanted to go home so much. Her daughter called me to say she was home and receiving hospice care but wanted to talk to me using the Facetime app we had on our phones. I didn’t realize it would be the last time to see her and hear her voice….but glad I at least told her I loved her and would try to visit soon. I did fly to Milwaukee to attend her funeral.
This past weekend I came across one of my lists made last winter about “things to do this spring”….At the top was “Sell this condo before cold weather comes again and go see Dorothy Ann.” She was a loving mother of 3 and grandmother of 10…a sweet, gentle soul and an ardent Cubs fan and a wicked Cribbage player!
I am already missing our Facetime phone calls.