eulogy for dottie wendt richard
In her life coming to a close, we can see the legacy she left behind with 4 children, many grandchildren and great grandchildren – all of us holding pieces of her in our body and souls, pieces of Pepere, and pieces of their parents that came before them for generations of mankind. The way a tree dies, then falls down to decay, but returns to the dirt only to feed many new flowers, trees, bugs and birds – Mimi only dies in body but her spirit, her essence will nourish and teach the rest of us still living beyond even our own lifespan. Her power is like the motion of a butterfly’s wings fluttering, a small movement that has the strength to change an entire weather pattern.
Her body stayed alive on earth until everyone had come to see her, I always felt she was holding out till she was satisfied that everyone did indeed love her, and Tuesday night as her breathing had become labored and her limbs more at peace Enola whispered in her ear that each of us, by name, loved her so much and it was alright to go over to the light. Released by a simple declaration of love only a few hours later she let go, letting go in the presence of love and true forgiveness.
Life is made up of many details, but we all must love and be loved – it was a great motivating factor in Mimi’s life, to be accepted and loved no matter who she was. And she has taught me that we all deserve love, no matter who we are, what we’ve done, or what we can do. We need not do anything special to be loved, all we need to be is present in someone’s mind. Where society may turn their nose, our family and her friends have learned to love and accept all types of people, personalities, faults, emotions (and fun too) with open arms – a gift Mimi gave to us by default by just being a woman who was wildly opposite of what society expected her to be.
From her bedside she taught me all sorts of quips, ways to navigate life, and how to be my own person. As a grandchild I was bestowed her personal wisdoms such as “if you marry a man, you marry his family”, “if you hurt holler”, and “walking to the beat of a different drummer is a choice, and it’s not an easy path”, all of which came with amazing stories that kept me enthralled for hours as a child – stories of parties, of psychic dreams, learning to drive a car, being a bridal consultant, having scarlet fever as a child, and countless plots of countless books she read from the Harahan Library. Stories that made me want to live life to the fullest, and that gave me a heartfelt understanding for all of humanity.
Each of us will have our own experience and own memories with Dottie – in the light of her persevering (maybe hardheaded?) spirit may each one of us take each one of these memories into our hearts and use it to make ourselves a better, brighter and happier life, for ourselves and the future generations carrying those brilliant pieces of her soul.
“ Just as a jewel that has been buried in the earth for a million years is not discolored or harmed, in the same way this noble heart is not affected by all of our kicking and screaming. The jewel can be brought out into the light at any time, and it will glow as brilliantly as if nothing had ever happened. No matter how committed to unkindness, selfishness, or greed, the genuine heart cannot be lost. It is here in all that lives, never marred and completely whole.”