Thursday, August 05, 2010


it is unbelievably difficult to articulate one's feelings about the passing of a loved one. all the platitudes we turn to, when spread out before us to choose from, fall so woefully short that their rough, blocky, shadowy forms only point to our inadequacies elucidating the sharper lines that demarcate the limits of human emotion. love? love is easy. there is so much written about love, too much written about love, really. the simple elegance of "i love you" brings rushing forward the millennia of countless touches, whispered endearments, nights spent gazing adoringly at a face in repose lying next to you that we've amassed as a species. "i'm sorry" doesn't do the same thing - there's a gaping morass of personal feeling there that is inaccessible with words.

we spent the bulk of the friday before we left for the cottage with poppa in the hospital. i'm so glad we had that time. the family needed a break - a chance to go home and shower and try to sleep. we were able to keep nany company, to touch poppa's hand, and whisper our goodbyes in his ear before we left. they say that hearing is one of the last senses to go and i will always remember that when i leaned over the bed and told poppa about how much i loved him and how his great grandson couldn't wait to meet him, he responded...and i knew he heard me and that was at once one of the most beautiful things and one of the hardest things i've ever experienced.

i'm glad we got to say goodbye. i'm glad he wasn't in pain and that his transition wasn't too long. i'm glad that the dotytron and i found out about his passing at the cottage where we could cry and hold each other and look out at the serenity of a still lake and feel at peace with the mournful cry of a loon as the articulation of our grief. i'm glad that i got to spend the week away from the city and with my family and have my sad moments cut through with the oblivious, blundering, silly joy of my niece and nephew.

poppa's generation is a marvel and a testament to us all. 2 world wars, 1 depression, and his list of accomplishments, organizations, and charity commitments filled his obituary to the brim and there were still things left out. the saying was that if there were more than 3 people meeting in toronto, poppa was one of them. we should all be so lucky to leave such a legacy - of tireless, selfless giving to the city of toronto, of a relationship that spanned over 70 years, of a family that feels the loss of a patriarch keenly.

he will be missed but i take comfort in knowing that he's somewhere in the great beyond sipping scotch and playing rounds of golf with the other dotys that have come before him - like ferris doty (yes, there was a ferris doty - how awesome is that?) i've never known someone who so embodied the family name before - he was so proud to be a doty. there are photos of poppa wearing a "mayflower 1620" sweatshirt and hat and he signed the dotytron up for the edward doty society (edward doty was a ne'er do well troublemaker who came over on the mayflower) - one day we came home and there was a certificate and now we get pilgrim edward doty society newsletters. it's so sweet and funny. there's even a doty family crest.

so our charge now is to be the very best that we can be as a testament to his influence. to give of ourselves and be fiercely proud and loving and protective of our family. to raise the next generation of dotys with a sense of respect and the knowledge of hard work and joy and forgiveness. to make sure that the little fatburger knows the legacy of his surname and to make sure he strives to live up to it. to instill in him the knowledge that he will always have a family to draw strength from and that it is his responsibility to make sure he is worthy of such a gift.

r.i.p. poppa


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