There are several people in my life that I consider to be my heroes for various reasons, but ever since college the first person who always comes to mind when I hear the word “hero” is my Grandmomma, Dorothy Willingham.
Today, my dad called to let me know that she passed away – stepping out of this world an into the next.
This was a complete shock to me (she did have a major stroke almost a year ago, but since then she’s been working hard to regain mobility and speech). In fact, when I talked to her on the phone yesterday, she was having a great day – telling me that she was going to try to walk down the aisle in my brother’s wedding in June. Despite the shock, I’ve still had a tremendous sense of peace (with sadness), as Keri and I have talked about her today.
She was an amazing woman. Here are a few of the reasons Dorothy Willingham is my hero:
- She was a devout follower of Jesus Christ. The real deal. You could see it in her life.
- She was unswervingly loyal. From the fun times that we had with her growing up, to teaching in the public school system for half a century, to the kind service she extended to those she knew who were going through health problems – she was always willing to help care for the people around her.
- She never gave up. Even through the discouragement of her own health setbacks, she kept pushing forward.
- Unlike a lot of people I’ve met who get crankier with age, she was always fun to be around, and she was always laughing and making me laugh. She loved to be the center of attention, and she was willing to say and do ridiculous things to get people to smile.
Thank God for people like Dorothy Willingham who are faithful to the end and who show us how to live. Until we are reunited, we will miss her tremendously.