Terry Diane Dodge
She was born Terry Diane Dodge. She was “dynamic”, bigger than life. She had a gorgeous smile, olive skin, enormous brown eyes, and her infectious laugh made her stand out. Yet it was her inner beauty that radiated with such a glow that she left a mark on everyone she encountered. She was truly stunning. She embraced having a personal relationship with everyone who crossed her path. She taught us about love, life, family, and most importantly God.
She played many roles throughout her life; she was a devoted mother/father, the absolute best Nanny, cherished sister, a favorite “auntie,” and a dear friend. I would like to spend a few moments reflecting on her role as our Mom & Nanny. So much of who we are as her children and grandchildren is a mirror reflection of my Mom.
Eighteen years ago we had a terrible tragedy in our family. My son almost drowned, he was rushed to the hospital. The doctors did not give us much hope. Up to that point Mom had been a closet Christian; she was uncomfortable sharing the good news about God with others because she was afraid of being judged. She got on her knees and prayed to God. She said, “If you spare this child, I promise I will never hide from being a Christian again, I will share my testimony with everyone I encounter.” She lived up to her promise and beyond. My Mom had an enormous heart filled with passion, compassion and empathy. It was her heart & love for God that drove her every act throughout her life. She had unselfish generosity. She was amazingly kind to everyone.
My Mom had an outstanding work ethic; she went above and beyond the call. Although she only stood 5’2” she stood up for what she believed in and made her opinion heard. She had unrelentless perseverance and an ability to forge ahead regardless of what life dealt her. She did things her way and under her terms, she had a fondness for being a bit stubborn. As a single mother raising 2 children in the seventies, she faced many obstacles ranging from financial constraints to the judgment of others. She never went around an obstacle; she went right over them maintaining her dignity and pride throughout it all. She was a single working Mom well ahead of the times.
And finally, my Mom’s devotion to her children was truly extraordinary. We always absolutely, unequivocally came first. She always put our needs ahead of her own. If we needed a new pair of shoes and the car needed new tires, we got shoes. Growing up our finances were somewhat constrained, it had the potential to create a negative situation. We never knew the difference. We were well cared for and more importantly, well loved. We were told we could do anything with our lives and there were no bounds to our dreams and goals.
All of the attributes I just mentioned live within each of her children & grandchildren. In our time of mourning, let us draw on the strength, courage and perseverance instilled in us, by my Mom, she navigated it all with amazing grace. And she never lost sight of others in need.
My Mom was the best Nanny. Bar none! She was so very proud of her grandchildren, they were gifts she treasured. She drew such delight from each of them. Her spirit lives on in each of her grandchildren and I’m sure it will be passed on to their children. Her influence is eternal. She planted seeds that will continue to grow. She was always there and now she is gone. I was asked, “who do I got to now?” I say, just remember “WWND”, (what would nanny do)? Honor her in every decision you make. If Nanny wouldn’t want you to do it, than simply don’t. You all knew her heart.
A few years ago, Mom was diagnosed with liver disease. We had hoped she could have a transplant. But it never happened, instead her body just kept having more and more things go wrong. Every doctor from the cardiologist to neurologist viewed her as a miracle, she had overcome so much. In February, after 2 weeks, in the hospital. The doctors finally told us there was nothing more they could do. We choose hospice. That day on the way home we both cried. I told her, “Mom there may not be a manly cure, but there is always a Godly cure.” In a few short months, we witnessed how her health had deteriorated. But her spirit was always there. She would always say that she would be with us, in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers. We made her as comfortable as possible during the last few days of her life. It is bittersweet, we no longer have her physical body with us, but we will always have wonderful memories and her spirit lives in all of us. On her last day with us, we spent the whole day/night praying over her. We assured her, we loved her and that we would be there for each other, no matter what. On her last breath, a tear ran down her face. She found peace at last with her Creator, and that thought is what made us get through the experience of losing our mentor, our model, our nanny, our friend, our mom. At last she got her cure, she is, and always will be in the arms of her heavenly father, who promises no more suffering or pain.
Here is a poem for my Mom. This poem has inspired me to go on with my life. I know that as I read this, I can feel Mom listening with us, comforting us, living in us. Mom, this is the one true memory you left that we will cherish, until we meet again. I will love you forever.
Here are a few final thoughts we all have of our Mom and Nanny:
· Her favorite sayings, “Don’t go there” & “Get over it”
· Always smiling at a complete stranger
· Love of the beach, sun & lobster/crab
· Creative use of hot wheels track & wooden spoons
· Sense of humor
· Favorite Pastor, Pastor Jeff, aka Pastor Bill
· Special birthday dates with grandkids
· Butterfly kisses
· Electrifying screams, especially in a scary movie
· Young at heart
The dignity and grace by which my Mom sailed through life has left a wake of beauty across the many hearts she touched. She spent her entire life dedicated to God, so we know she is in a wonderful place with him. Knowing my Mom, she’s probably already in the midst of making new friends and playing the role of Nanny to the many children who have passed before her. May she rest in peace yet enjoy every minute of the wonders of eternal life. We love you, miss you, and look forward to seeing you again.
Love you forever, Mom. (Kisses) xxooxxooxxooxxoo
Mommy & Me 2009
To Those I Love And To Those Who Love Me”
When I am gone,
Release me, let me go
I have so many things to see and do.
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears;
Be happy we had so many years.
I give you my love,
You can only guess how much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love
You have shown me;
But now it’s time I travel alone.
So grieve a while for me,
If grieve you must.
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a while that we must part,
So bless the memories within your heart.
I won’t be far away for life goes on.
So if you need me,
Call me and I will be near.
And if you listen with your heart,
All my love around you,
Soft and clear.
And when you must come this way along,
I’ll greet you with a Smile,