Dorothea Crane

Dorothea CraneMom:

What a wonderful person. The best mother anyone could ever hope for.

Her devotion and love to me was unwavering.  The most important gift she gave to me, other than her unconditional love, was to instill basic values in me to prepare me for life’s events and to help guide me to a life that had satisfaction and happiness. These values included honesty, responsibility, loyalty, kindness and compassion. These were the values she lived by and although I may not have always followed them, they always remained with me giving me a foundation for recovery and for correcting mistakes.

Mom lived through the great depression and was very frugal, never talking the simple things in life for granted. Even though she was frugal, she was generous to us kids and to the community whenever the need was there. She participated in church activities, volunteered for community services and made many beautiful quilts for the University of New Mexico Children’s hospital.

Our home life was filled with family activities, vacations every year, wonderful birthday parties and holiday events. Mom was always attentive to our needs; we were never neglected.  She was a great cook and we ate excellent home cooked meals, breakfast was always ready when I got out of bed. Lunch was there when I came home from school and we always ate together as a family at dinnertime. Mom consoled me when I was sad and encouraged and supported me when a challenge arose.  She was always there to watch me at sporting events, help me with my homework, always encouraged me to apply myself in school and served as the den mother for our Boy Scout troop.

Her discipline was fair and firm. I can’t recall that she ever really yelled at me and she never struck me. We given freedom to make mistakes to learn on our own but Mom made sure that boundaries were established. When I found some matches and was in the process of setting the woodpile on fire in the garage with a gasoline can nearby, Mom intervened. She gently explained to me that the outcome of this endeavor may be that the garage would burn down. So that night, she let me light the fire for the barbeque.

When I got my tongue stuck to our metal fence in 20 degree weather, Mom came out of the house, smiled at me, poured warm water over me and the fence and then walked away smiling. She knew I wouldn’t do that again. One time, I began a mission of ringing all the doorbells in the neighborhood and running away afterwards. One day, when my Mom was having neighbors over for lunch, I overheard them saying that someone was ringing their doorbells all the time but there was no one there. Afterwards, Mom asked if I knew who was doing this – I said “Don Strom” did it. She just looked at me, and calmly said, you know, it would be nice if you could ring their doorbell and just say Hello and how are you to them.

Dottie was married to her husband, Barney for 49 years. They were a perfect complement to each other – mom had a quiet, somewhat introverted demeanor whereas Dad was a true extrovert. They traveled extensively and went to dinners or social events almost every week. It was a happy marriage.

My parents retired to Albuquerque and Mom moved into a retirement community after the death of her husband Barney. She immediately made close friends, as she had done wherever she had lived. In her 80’s she was active and vibrant and participated in many activities and social events. She had a stroke in 2007 and made a dramatic recovery through her will, strength and determination. The only residual affect of the stroke was difficulty in word finding. Sometimes this resulted in humorous situations that my mother would laugh at. Like when I asked her what her favorite TV show was – she said she liked to watch the “nudes”. I’m not sure but I think she actually meant the news.

We had always offered mom the option of living near us in Seattle. After her stroke, we were with the marketing staff at her retirement home. She signed the papers to move into a room providing assisted living. Immediately after signing, she announced that she was moving to Seattle. So Mom signed a rental agreement and advised she was giving notice to move all at the same time. So were have been privileged to have Mom live near us over the past two years. We became closer and Dottie grew to love my wife like she was her daughter.

She quickly made new close friends and loved her stay at the Brittany Park Retirement community. People always referred to her as a “sweetie”, she was liked by everyone and always greeted everyone with a smile.. I saw her every week. Whenever I was coming over, she always had the door slightly ajar. When I walked in I knew I was in for a dose of affection and love. Every single time she would rise from her chair, smile, open up her arms, give me a hug and kiss and tell me she loved me. Every single time. We had so much fun together, going on Ferry rides, scenic drives, going to lunch and dinner, visiting the sights in Seattle or just relaxing at our house. Dottie just loved our dog, Mattie. They became close friends and Mom always carried his favorite treats in her purse.

Mom never focused on herself – she was always inquiring about how you were doing. She rarely complained and I don’t think she ever held resentment for long as she was a forgiving person. After her stroke, she was unable to read books, which had always been one of her favorite activities. But she didn’t allow this to get her down. She enjoyed putting puzzles together instead. Mom always looked for the positive things in life. She took life on its own terms and lived the serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

She was just a sweetie in the finest sense of the word. I have been blessed to have my mom’s gracious presecence in my life. Her spirit, compassion and love will always remain with me.

Thank you Mom. I love you.

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