Maria Doddema (McGinty) passed away on February 5, 2010. Her daughter, Holly McGinty Kling provides the eulogy below:
February 17, 2010
Current mood: crushed
I’m certainly going to miss you. I can’t believe you’re really gone. You’ll always live in my heart and I’ll always have the memories. I will always have you in my life, you will be right beside me, even if I can’t see you. I consider myself to be a lucky woman, as I had your love for 55 years. Some daughters aren’t that fortunate to have that love or to have their mothers as long as I did. What gives me comfort is that you passed away knowing how much your two grown daughters loved you. You knew how much your only granddaughter loved you and how proud you were of her with her aspirations of being a nurse anestheist. I’m glad that we were all by your side so you wouldn’t be scared. Damn this is so difficult to write when tears are blurring my vision.
For those of you who didn’t know my mom, let me tell you a little about her life.
My mother was born in the Netherlands, in Rotterdam on April 7, 1925. She was the youngest of six children. My mother was fluent in Dutch, English and German. My mother was working in Germany when World WarII broke out. She worked as an au-pair/maid for a Jewish family. When the Nazi’s took them off to the camps, my mother was on her own, trying to get back to Holland, safety and to her family. While in a basement hiding from the Nazi’s, my mom and a friend came upstairs, crossed the street and broke into an abandoned house to get food. All they found to eat was some moldy bread, which they ate and brought the rest to the basement which held others who were injured and starving. While crossing the street a German tank spotted them and pointed the turret at them. They froze and though that was the end. Instead the soldiers chatted them up, shared a cigarette with them and let them go. My mom finally found her way back into Holland. While in a park and feeling safe, they heard the German planes approach. Instead of running and hiding under the trees, my mom climbed up a tall chain link fence and hung on for dear life while they carpet bombed the park. My mom survived with only a moderate sized shrapnel burn on her instep. My father was a soldier in the US Army. When my mom returned to Holland, she met my father. My dad saw her and it was love at first sight. My mother immigrated one and half years later to the US to marry my father. They settled in Los Angeles, California. My father became a police officer for the LAPD. They had two daughters, Holly (me) in 1955 and Stacy in 1962. In 1964, we moved to beautiful Orange County, close to the ocean near Seal Beach. My mother was a homemaker, who enjoyed sewing, making clothes and custom drapery. She had a flair for interior decorating. Our house was probably the prettiest house of our entire neighborhood. I was always proud to have friends over.
Mom encouraged my dad to invest in real estate. Together they purchased many homes and businesses in the LA and OC areas. As a twelve year old, I assisted my parents in rehabbing their properties. When I was a young adult, my mom and I were a team. I told her what to buy and how to stage the properties when it was time to sell. My mom was far more frugal than I was, but when she listened, she sold the properties sooner and made more money.
Mom enjoyed traveling to see her family in Holland and loved the Hawaiian Islands. I often went along with her on her travels. After my dad passed away, my mom moved closer to the ocean to Huntington Beach. She loved the ocean, the smell of the salt air and sailing. She was a beautiful woman, an exotic, tall, long legged brunette, with high cheekbones and a full mouth. She looked like a cross between Geena Davis and Sophia Loren. I know why my dad was so taken with her and why others persued her after my dad’s passing. She was a classy, vibrant, elegant woman, who always dressed and behaved like a lady. She taught me to always dress for success and that you only have one chance to make a first impression. She was so right. Thank you mom.
Mom suffered her first stroke in 2000. It was deemed a minor one, but both my sister and I noticed the change in personality. She began to suffer from anxiety and couldn’t sleep. Her short term memory was affected, so she began making notes on post-its all around her phone. She had all these dreams of rehabbing her beach house, but completely lost all interest. She wouldn’t entertain anymore or even let anyone inside her home. We both found that very odd behavior. In October 2008, my mother was sitting by the pool with her companion Hank (who was also from Holland) and suffered a major stroke. She was rushed to Hogue Hospital. After three days there, it was very apparent she might not be well enough to return home, even though I had every intention of bringing her back there with 24/7 nursing care. My husband and I painted, recarpeted her beach house and made it clean and tidy for her arrival. I painted the walls her favorite color. I bought her all new linens and towels. After 100 days in a care center, it was more than apparent, she wasn’t well enough to live in her own home again. At that point, I took charge and demo’d her kitchen and bathrooms. I rehabbed her entire home to what she would have wanted, cream maple cabinets with an antique coffee glaze, granite counters, updated fixtures, stainless appliances, slate floors, etc. She would have loved the choices I made. I wonder now if she could really see the photos I showed her of my work. I had no choice but to rent it to offset the huge monthly costs to take care of her in the way I would have wanted her to be taken care of. I relocated her to Tempe, AZ to Friendship Village where they took excellent care of her. The CNA’s were affectionate and so caring, something I had never seen before in my life. Friday nights were Karoke Night. Dennis one of the male nurses always was singing and dancing through the living room making us laugh at times. I promised mom that if she ever had to go into a home, that it would be a nice one. This one was MORE than nice. I slept peacefully at night knowing my mom had the best care. I promised her I’d give her the best and I did. Mom lived there one day short of a year. In that last year, my sister Stacy, my daughter and I were able to spend a lot of time with her. It’s difficult for the living to watch your parent fail, get more frail, lose weight, pocket food, loose the ability to communicate and to walk. Had she known how bad of shape she was in, and had she had the means, she would have downed a bottle of Ambien had it been available. My mother was all about quality of life and wouldn’t have wanted to live the way she had the last year of her life.
During job training for my new position, my mom became unresponsive and couldn’t swallow anymore. I was alone when I got the call. My husband Greg was in northern AZ on business for two days, my daughter was at NAU and my sister was in California working as a caregiver. That night I had mom all to myself. I was honest with her and told her she was going to die and not to be afraid. I reassured her that her family would all be waiting and to go towards the light. I told her many times that I loved her, that I would miss her terribly, that she was a great mom to me, a little strict sometimes, but I needed it. I talked to her about the trips to Holland and to Hawaii where we flirted with the locals in our red convertible, sailed Napali, helicoptered over Waimea and visited with her friends in Kapaa. I told her that I had scored the job I desired, a very well paying, secure job in this horrible economy. Yeah me without that important four year degree. I told her how I finally motivated my sister to go back to school to become a CNA. I told her that I bought a never lived in foreclosure condo for my sister to live in, that I paid cash for so she’d never have a mortgage to worry about. My mom always loved a bargain, especially in real estate. I’m sure she was proud of me and happy to know Stacy would be well taken care of.
The other day, I drove over to the mortuary to pick up both urns. I asked Nancy to assist me with carrying the other one to my car. I placed both boxes in my backseat and belted them in. I told Nancy, “My mom was always a backseat driver, this is where she belongs.” We laughed and I gave her a big hug, thanked her for her kindness and said good-bye. I backed out of the parking space and headed out the driveway when I heard my mom ask (Inaudibly in my head) , “Holly do you have enough gas?” I smirked and said, “Yeah mom I have enough gas.” Anytime I drove her anywhere, she always asked me that question once the car started moving. Yeah mom, I have enough gas…..
Our deepest sympathy at DoddemaGen go to Holly and her sister, Stacy.
Note: Holly’s family line will be added within the next 24 hours.