The Other I

August 22, 2007

The family on the farm: My youngest sister Dorothy

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 8:31 pm

Mom already had cancer when she was pregnant with Dorothy, though the local GP kept giving her antibiotics for the flu.  The operation, when colon cancer was finally diagnosed, gave her five more years and time to be Dorothy’s Mom.  Dorothy, at home alone with her while the rest of us were at school, had a unique time with Mom, unlike time any of the rest of us shared. 

For myself, I was furious that my mother had had yet another baby, and even worse, that I was expected to help care for her.  It’s not my baby, I said, it’s yours.  I didn’t think I liked her very much, but when Mom was hospitalized with cancer, I realized Dorothy was really a very cute baby, and that it was my mother, not my new youngest sister who was my problem. 

What fascinates me most today is that in many ways I think Dorothy and I have some significant things in common that I don’t share with any of my other sisters.  For one thing, we agree we both are what we call “bio-chemical optimists.”  This might make us unique in our immediate family:  possibly the only two who don’t do battle with recurring bouts of depression. 

Dorothy reminds me of our mother in more ways than any of my other sisters.  Like Mom, she is not overly interested in housekeeping, which may be why it’s impossible not to be comfortable in her home.  She shares Mom’s spatial disability, but also her intuitive compassion, along with the same kind of struggle to believe in herself as spontaneously as she can believe in others.

Dorothy has two children who are now energetic young adults.  She is divorced, thrives on living alone, and cares for and about people in her village like an earth mother.  She still believes in rainbows, loves her trees and raspberry bushes, and celebrates the solstice.  She writes poetry, creates musical portraits, and knows that light and dark always go together. 

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