Connie called before 6:00 this morning, and even before I answered the phone, I knew who was calling…and why. She wanted me to know that our friend Dorothy had died about 45 minutes earlier after fighting a fierce battle against cancer. Not willing to go “gently into that good night,” for months her indomitable spirit had persevered. She was so tough! Gentle too. And spiritual and mannerly and funny. We all loved her wit and her graciousness.
The last time I talked with Dorothy was over a week ago, and although she was sedated, she knew someone was in the room and asked her husband, “Is someone here?” When Tracy replied that I was there, she said, “Hi Jayne. Sorry.” Isn’t that amazing? Even in her suffering, Dorothy cared for the comfort and ease of others and was actually apologizing to me for not being able to chat. A couple of days later, visits were restricted to immediate family, medical personnel, and the clergy, so that was the last time I heard her voice.
We’ve had tons of chats over the last five years, however, and I LOVED her accent. From England, Dorothy never lost her British accent, and no matter what she said, the words somehow sounded cooler coming from her lips. At the moment I’m remembering a closing prayer that she once gave in Sacrament meeting in which she asked for peace to cover the earth. I think of the dozens and dozens of Relief Society lessons I heard her present, all of them well-prepared and excellent. Then too, she was a faithful member of our New Horizons Book Club and always had some unique commentary to offer.
I wanted to write something comforting for Tracy, Sarah, the grandchildren, Connie, and all of the other people who loved Dorothy Popham, but I’m stumped. Although there is nothing that can take away the pain, I’d like to share an image that I can’t shake from my mind. It’s of a small card that a Relief Society teacher gave to her class members one day many years ago. On it was a beautiful painting of Christ embracing a person, and at the bottom of the card were the words, “Welcome Home.” Dorothy has received that hug; she’s home. I hope her family and friends find some solace in that thought.