I am Dorothy

Home | Patti Livingston Remembers | Talking to Mom | Dorothy Raitt Lykes


     Actually, I am Linda, Dorothy's daughter.  Mom died six months ago.  I am celebrating her first half-year anniversary by doing lots of things... trimming the dahlias and roses in my garden, pulling up weeds, picking and eating raspberries from the raspberry patch -- she loved those -- learning a new piece on the piano: "A Tear" by Modest Mussorgskij.  Very pretty.  I just played it for the first time.  A few stanzas in, I remembered, "B flat."  She called it from the kitchen, Whittier, California, 1950-something. Piano lessons cost $2 an hour, then.  The last cords sounded like a hymn.  When I finished, I had to say it: "Amen."  Then, "For you, from you." Because she gave me the lessons. 
     Earlier this morning, I thought, I have to be careful what I write here, today, because whatever I put down will stay.  Because of the anniversary.  Then I thought, "That's not a reason not to do it."  That was Mom talking. 
     I don't know how this is going to turn out.  I know that it's Mom's page; Dorothy's page.  Whatever she wants will go here.  It's her place, her space, to share with the world.  I'm not allowed to publish her poems here.  She was a poet, you know.  Dorothy Raitt Lykes.  And she was wonderful.  The poems belong to her estate and are not mine to share.  Although, a couple of hours before she died, I said, "I'm going to publish your poems on the internet."  She said, "Mmhmm."  I also said, "I'm going to write a book about you," and she said, "mmhmm."  She said "mmhmm" to everything I said -- I think it was to let me know she was listening -- except when I said, "I wish you could tell me what you are going through.  Is it easy?  Is it hard?"  Dying, you know.  Then, all there was was silence.  But right afterward, I said, "I guess you can't tell me," and she said, "mmhmm" again.
     Maybe this isn't really Mom's page.  Maybe this is my page, a special place I can come to whenever I want to love my mother in more ways than just shouting loudly in the empty living room, "I love you Mom!"
     I'll tell you this: I don't think I have ever loved anyone more than I have loved my mother since she died.  I never knew it would be like this, but when a person becomes a spirit, which is what I believe my mother did, February 25th, 2004, they become perfect.  I have a lot more thoughts on that subject I might share with you as time goes by.  Suffice it to say, she has been teaching and teaching me since she died.  She has been keeping her promise.  About a year and a half ago, I said, "I'm going to go right on talking to you after you die, Mom.  I hope that's alright." She replied, "I'm going to answer you right back.  You'll know by all the little miracles in your life."
     Here's to all the little miracles.  Thank you, Mom.  I love you.