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Dorothy Forssman- Mother- A Personal Reflection
Two Words come to mind to describe Mother's spiritual biography--"survivor spirit." These two words capture Mother's essence. Mother has survived many things: extreme poverty, the loss of a father when she was nine, an invalid mother who was not in good health during Mother's teenage years, a radical hysterectomy at twenty-eight, the loss of her entire immediate and extended family before she was forty, and finally the loss of my dad. She has had to be a "survivor spirit" just to be here today and survive the loneliness and all the emotional energy it takes to keep on keeping on. She is like a battery that never runs down. She is an "active presence" bent on making tomorrow happen. She has a will to push fate aside. People know she is there and even take a piece or two of her strength for their own lives without recognizing or even acknowledging the gift. --John Forssman, September 14, 1993.
Dorothy Forssman- Grandma- Blue Skies of Hope
My grandma is like a spring. Her ability to always spring back comes from something her mother once told her, "As long as there is enough blue in the sky to make a pair of overalls, there is hope." At the age of nine, my grandma lost her father to cancer. Not long after that her mother had a stroke and could no longer care for herself. The responsibility of caring for her was placed on my grandma. My grandma took care of her mother for as long as she could before she had to put her in a hospital where she later died. My grandma was only in high school when she realized her family and economic security were gone. Finding herself in need of support my grandma began working for different families in return for room and board. During this difficult time she relied on the overalls in the sky to keep up her hopes. My grandma, even at 70, following my grandpa's death, hasn't been afraid to try new things. She has become very active in her church and in hospital auxiliary groups. In February of 1990, my grandma flew to California to visit her niece, Jerry. It was the first time my grandma had ever flown, and she loved it. She was right up there with the blue overalls, my grandpa, and hope. Recently when my dad and grandma went to visit my grandpa's grave, my grandma confided in my dad that she was glad my grandpa didn't have to suffer on and on, but that she didn't understand why it had to happen at all. She said to my dad, "I guess that is just life stretching around." What she meant by this is that sad and bad things are stretched or passed around and sooner or later all people have their share of suffering. But as long as the sky has a patch of blue my grandma will be creating hopeful patterns for her life. --Holly Forssman, March 1, 1990.
Dorothy Forssman – Herself- Butterflies Are Free
One afternoon, I put a load of wash in and for a rest I sat downstairs instead of coming up. In the west basement window I saw a pretty butterfly going across the screenwire, back and forth, and up and down. I watched it quite a while. The pattern continued, up and down, and back and forth. I wondered why it didn't fly away. After a while the load of wash was done so I went out and hung it up. Grandpa was washing the windows so I came in and helped with the frames. The butterfly again popped into my mind so I went down to see. Sure enough it was still going through the same pattern. Curious I went up close to the window and saw it was trapped between the screen and window. That butterfly wasn't as free as the picture on my wall says so I went outside, took off the screen, and the butterfly flew away. It had to be helped, just like me. I do hope the butterfly is as lucky as I to be "free"; the last I saw it, it was still going west. --Dorothy Forssman, June 3, 1987.
Brick given in honor of Dorothy by Carolyn and Jim Bolinger, Karen Bruton, LoAnn and Bob Campbell, Jane and Tom Jorgensen, Fay and Milt Larkins, Alice Pannkuk, Annette Rowley, and Mona Smith