Dorothy Elizabeth Knapp, my husband's beloved Nana, was nothing if not fun. The life of every party. The one everyone has a great story to tell about. The one everyone ends those stories with "only Dorothy...".
But she wasn't just the life of the party, she was the life of her family. A family she raised by herself starting in the 1940's. Unheard of in those days, but she did it and she did it well. She raised two bright and successful children and then she helped raise her three grandchildren. The grandchildren she would literally give everything she had for. She cared for her husband, the one she found later in life. The love of her life, for sure. I never met Jerry, but I've heard stories about him. He was the life of every party, as well. The two of them were the sun by which everyone in their world revolved around.
She lived 94 long and blessed years. She was independent, spunky and completely her own woman. She took the challenges life threw at her and she beat them with grace and style. And maybe a little bourbon on the side. I greatly respected Nana for being the strong one, the great matriarch whom we all loved very much because she loved all of us with every fiber of her being.
It saddens me that our boys won't remember her. But they come from a long line of strong and fiercely capable women on both sides of their family. It's my great challenge to carry their legacies forward, but with women like Nana to look to, my task is easier to accomplish. They'll know of her and the role she played in the forming of their paternal family. They'll learn to respect women from their father because he so greatly loved and admired his Nana. As well as his mother, an equally formidable and loving woman. They may not know it yet, but she has had and will continue to have a role in their raising because of her role in the raising of their dad. I am grateful to her for him and the morals and beliefs she helped instill in him.
We will miss her great laugh. The mischievous twinkle in her eyes. The stories she told. The fun she brought wherever she went. And tonight we raise a glass to the great woman of our family. She wouldn't want it any other way.
To Nana. Cheers! And Go Big Red!