Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The Heart Of Dixie

Last year we moved Ed's parents from Carlsbad, NM to Tucson, AZ to live closer to us after his father had two small strokes.  They stayed with us for about six weeks before moving into a beautiful independent living facility about five miles from our house.  They seemed to settle in quickly and liked their residence and surrounding community. 

During the past year, we were able to see them often - several times a week when we were home - to go out to dinner, enjoy holidays together, or just watch a movie with them, everyone manning their own recliner. It's been nice having them around.

Ed's father is very outgoing and social but his mother is more reserved and private.  Over the years Ed and I have been together, I've never really had the opportunity to be in her company for any extended period of time.  But while she was here, I was able to get to know her a little bit better. 

I took her to doctor appointments, I asked her questions about her life, I talked to her while packing and unpacking her things, asking her where they came from or who gave them to her, as many were gifts. I even started to bust her chops a little, New York style.  I think she liked it.  She would laugh, or give me a stern look when she obviously thought I was ribbing her a little too much.  She was definitely a good sport. She never complained, even when she had an absolute right to, I never heard her utter an ill word about anyone, and she always did her best to be happy around others.

Ed doted on his mother while she was here and did everything he could to settle both of his parents, making them as comfortable as possible.  He went over to their apartment regularly, sometimes multiple times a day.  He set up hummingbird feeders for his mother just outside her sliding glass door to give her something to look at, he decorated the patio of their apartment with items from their previous home, and he made sure they had everything they needed.  He did everything to ensure the comfort of his parents.  He went above and beyond.  So much so, that the staff at their assisted living facility commented on how often he was there and how rare it was to see the children of the residents so many times a month, let alone so many times in a week!

At the end of August, when we went to Carlsbad to pack their house, Ed suggested I start calling his mother, Mama.  At first, I resisted because I've never called anyone but my own mother any version of "mother".  But I started to call her Mama like the other kids did, and eventually, it just felt natural.  She called me Baby.  I would walk into the apartment and say, "Hi, Mama!" and she'd reply, in her soft sweet southern accent, "Hey, Baby."  I just heard her voice as I typed that.

Hearing that voice in my head, I'm sad to now have to report that she passed away three days ago.  Peacefully, in her sleep.  If you have to go, that's a nice way to have it happen.  We are all sad about her passing but now my priority is making sure my husband is okay and being there for his father when he needs us.  

Ed considers it an honor and a privilege to have been able to provide such hands-on care to his mother during what he never knew were going to be the last fifteen months of her life.  He feels fortunate to be able to be at a point in his career where he can control his own schedule and take time off when needed.  He happily took her to appointments, pushed her anywhere she wanted to go in her wheelchair, and even showed up to help her do physical therapy to build her strength. He was a most dedicated cheerleader and you could tell she appreciated his help and more so, his presence. 

We take care of everything for his parents, and he has credited me repeatedly with helping him manage their medical appointments and documentation and being there for anything else he needs me to do.  I so appreciate being recognized for that. Over the past year, Ed set up a video call system so his mother could talk to (and see!) her other three children from her first marriage.  They are all older than Ed by 15, 19, and 23 years!  One is unable to travel, and all three live in Texas so regular visits weren't possible for his mom at her age. We recently hosted each sister when they came to visit and were so thrilled to be able to have them join us in our home.  I think one of them didn't want to leave (you know who you are).

Because his siblings are so much older, he was essentially raised as an only child.  His mother, as he's said in the past, was his rock.  We all have "stuff" with our mothers - they aren't always perfect parents, you know - but for the past 47 years, Ed knew he could always call his mom and she would listen to him.  She would be there for him.  And that she loved him.  And if this past year and more recent few months have been any indication, Ed loved her just as much.  He was the epitome of a good son.  And although he did just what he knew he should and could do, other people - friends, my family, my mother's old lady friends, strangers - all commented on how they wished all children took care of their parents as well as Ed has taken care of his.

Miss Dixie had a good run.  She will be missed

The obituary below was written by Ed's sister, Sally, and will run in Dixie's hometown paper, the Stephenville Empire-Tribune.  

Dixie Louise Godfrey, 88, went to be with the Lord on December 10, 2022, at her home in Tucson, Arizona. She was born in Stephenville, Texas on November 16, 1934, to M. Melvin Latta and Clara Willis Latta, both deceased. She grew up and went to school in Stephenville, and always thought of it as her hometown.

Dixie was a homemaker, mother, grandmother, and wife. She had many jobs over her lifetime including manicurist, dog groomer, upholsterer, and long-haul team truck driver with her husband, Richard, for over 20 years. She was an accomplished motorcyclist, an excellent seamstress, an avid reader, and a crossword puzzler. Whatever she did, she did exceedingly well.


After leaving Stephenville, Dixie lived in Grapevine, Farmers Branch, and Flower Mound, Texas, then in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and finally in Tucson, Arizona. She was a lifelong member of the Baptist Church wherever she lived.


Dixie is survived by her loving husband of 48 years, Richard D. Godfrey, and her siblings, Peggy Vandiver of Euless, TX, Dorothy M. Jones of Glen Rose, TX, Patrick M. Latta and wife Betsy of Wichita, KS, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Also, her children, William Q. Jones of Bluff Dale, TX, Sally K. Beckner and husband James of Sunset, TX, Mary Ann Jones of Fort Worth, TX, and Edwin P. Godfrey and wife Salena Lettera of Tucson, AZ. She has two grandchildren, Carrie Beckner of Dallas, TX, and Donovan Beckner of Austin, TX.

Services will be held at Stephenville Funeral Home and interment will follow at West End Memorial Cemetery in Stephenville, TX.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Christmas All Day And All Night

2020: Contained
2019: Sorry, no post on this day.
2018: The Most Exclusive Rooftop
2017: Cell Block 8
2016: The Price Of American Made
2015: Sunset In The Brick City
2014: The King Of Light
2013: The End Of WiFi???
2012: Through A Canopy Of Oaks
2011: Clap Your Hands
2010: Wishing For A Blizzard But Will Settle For Flakes
2009: A Hideous Thief Exposed 
2008: Southwest Sunset
2007: Subtlety Is SO Not His Middle Name
2006: Bridging Chicago
2005: Oxymoronic Holiday


Belledog said...

What a wonderful woman. Rest in grace, Dixie. She was as lucky to have Ed and you as you were to have her closer. Invaluable that you got to spend her last months with her. Condolences to you and Ed and his dad, and to all of your family.

Evil Pixie said...

I'm so sorry for the loss in your family. Sending you and Ed lots of warm hugs and love from the Pixie Family.

Anonymous said...

Long-distance condolences being sent to Ed, you and Mr. Godfrey from your City Island cousins. May Dixie rest in eternal peace.

Anonymous said...

My condolences to you and Ed and his family. Such beautiful words, so eloquently expressed, like she was our own family. Hugs to Ed.

Your NA friend💝

The Daily Rant said...

Thank you, everyone, for your comments and condolences. They are very appreciated.

NA Friend: Good to hear from you. It’s been a while. Thank you for the kind words. 💗 Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday and a really spectacular 2023!

Maria said...

What a wonderful and heartfelt article!
How did I miss this article in December?
She must have been such a dear and interesting woman!
For sure, she will live on in your hearts and she will watch over you.
Sending a big hug!