12/22/08: Joan Marie Brunelle Dawley, 1932-2008
My mother died on Friday, December 12. She was 76 years old.
I've been working on an obituary over the past week and wondering how to distill her life and place in the world down to a single column in a newspaper. It's hard to do, so I ended up copying the structure of the obituary she wrote for Dad in 2004. Lots of names of relatives, educational milestones, jobs she held. Those are all meaningful, because they highlight things she valued: family, professional achievement, the life of the mind. But they only hint at some of her most characteristic traits -- her shyness, her tough-minded skepticism, her strong sense of humor, her imagination.
I loved her very much. I will miss her.