Everything Southern & So Cotton Pickin Cute

Sunday, January 15, 2012

To Mom Until We Meet Again

Moms funeral was today.  It was very intimate and very peaceful.  Saying goodbye is never easy but I think I said my goodbyes and the worst was over for me at the hospital.  She'd fought so long and was deservedly tired.  And even though my selfish side didn't want to see her leave, I knew how blessed her homecoming would be in heaven.  Not only being welcomed into the loving arms of Jesus but to be reunited with her own mother, her two sons that had gone ahead and her husband that she hadn't seen for so long.

I consider myself so blessed to not only have had her as a mother-in-law, but to have had her as an adopted mother.  She told me once that she'd always wanted a daughter and she got one with me.  My heart is full.  And we did have a strong and loving bond but truth be told she was such a loving person, I can't image her not loving any girl her son loved.  Thank you God for putting such a good and loving person in my life, only 23 months after I'd lost my own mother.  Twenty three must be an reoccurring theme because I'm so grateful to have been able to have known her for just a few days past 23 years.  I only had my own mama 26 years, but thanks be to God I had an adopted mom for 23 more years.

I thought I'd share 2 things with you.  First is the write up for the local obituary and second is the letter Neil spent the last 3 evening working on and crying over.  He wanted to write a letter to his mom telling her just how much she meant.  Then he wanted to share it with everyone at the viewing so he could let them know just how good she was. 

Before you read them, I want to once again thank every single one of you for the loving prayers and thoughts that you've shared with us here.  It's been a trying year and the last 2 weeks have really taken it's toll, I can't adequately express just how much your words got us through this time.  And for all who have asked, Neil is doing so much better than I thought he would.  He finally came to accept that the time to let her go was right and he'd done absolutely all and more than anyone can do.  I think he's made peace with it the last few days though I know that there is going to many emotions to go through.  Sorry that this post seems to go on and on, I consider so many of you friends and almost family and want to share it with you.

DOLLEY Nadine Cross Dolley, 91, passed away on January 7, 2012 in Jacksonville, FL. She was born on August 20, 1920 in Millen, Georgia to Augustus L. Cross and Nancy Allman Cross, the youngest of eight siblings. After graduating from Millen High School, she attended the Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville, GA. After college, she worked for the government in Washington, D.C. and later, after her marriage, she worked in the banking field. She married William Henry Bill Dolley, Jr. on May 9, 1947 and was a Jacksonville resident for over 60 years, where she was a member of Arlington Presbyterian Church. Nadine was a kind hearted person, who devoted herself to raising her three sons and always helping others. She displayed amazing strength, when taking on the roles of both mother and father after the tragic and unexpected death of her husband, when her children were still very young. She endured many trials and always rose to meet them and was the strength that bound her family together. She enjoyed cooking, spending time with family and friends, dancing, fishing with her girlfriends and long rides in the country. She stayed very active well into her 80's. Nadine was preceded in death by her beloved husband, William Henry Bill Dolley, Jr; 2 sons, William Frederick Dolley & David Gilman Dolley; her brothers Allen Cross, Charlie Cross, Earl Cross, George Cross, Gus Cross & Pete Cross and sister, Lula Cross. She is survived by her loving son, Marchal Neil Dolley (Tracy); granddaughters Alisa Dolley Catanzaro & Erin Dolley Reed (Alex); great grandchildren Gage Wyatt Catanzaro, Gray Morgan Catanzaro, Emma Jill Reed & Lily Junco Reed and many extended family members and friends. Visitation will be held in George H. Hewell and Son Funeral Home, 4140 University Blvd., S. on Saturday, January 14, 2012 from 10 am until 11 am. A funeral service will be held at the graveside in Evergreen Cemetery Gate #5 on Saturday January 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm.

I found this beautiful song that I had forgotten all about, written by Vince Gill for country singer Keith Whately and it just seemed to be so old time country (even though it's not) and it expressed so much of how I feel how I feel.  Thanks for letting me share it with you.
Dear Mom,

We both knew this day would come when God would decide it’s time to come home. Even though I know you’re in Heaven with William, David and Dad, it’s still hard to say goodbye. Not only did I loose my mom, I lost my best friend.

You know what Mom; I made a mistake the other day when I said Goodbye to you, that sounded like it was the last time I would ever see you, that’s not what I meant, so I’m taking it back. What I really meant to say was, Goodbye for now, I’ll see you soon.

Mom, I’ll never forget all that you’ve done for me over the years. Somehow you always knew the right words to say when I needed someone to lean on, you could always put a smile on my face even when I felt like crying.

Remember how I always told you that you were a special Mom, I’ve always known that, but now as I look back over the years, I realize just how special you really were. You made so many sacrifices over the years. I remember the times when you worked two jobs just to be sure your boys always had the best of everything. How you were able to raise three boys by yourself is a testament to just how special a Mom you were.

I just want you to know how proud I am and have been to be able to call you my Mom. I’m going to miss your beautiful smile and all the fun times we shared each day.

I could write a book about the great times we’ve shared together. As kids, I remember all of us riding the train at Six Gun Territory, all the times we would have cookouts at Little Talbot Island, standing waist high in the water with a string in one hand pulling in blue crabs.

As we got a little older, I remember spending weekends at the lake house fishing and skiing from morning till night.

And then there were the countless miles we’ve driven down the back roads of Georgia, having no clue where we were going or when we would be back, we stopped at every town along the way. As time past by, your memory starting fading a little and there were many times you’d say, I just want to visit my old home in Millen Georgia “just one more time”. You’re probably laughing about that right now because now you realize just how many times we actually went to see your home “one more time”, sometimes we drove there within weeks apart. But if was always fun. You loved those Georgia Pines.

I was reading through your Bible the other night, admiring all the notes you wrote, dating each and every one. You’ve had that bible for so long that it’s filled with little references you made along the way. I know you loved God, and I know God loved you, so as much as I will miss you; it gives me comfort knowing that you’re in Heaven now.

The last few years, I’m not sure who was taking care of who, I was suppose to be taking care of you, but the truth is you were actually taking care of me, and I will always love you for that.

Mom, I’m having a hard time ending this letter because I feel there is much more I should say. The truth is I don’t want to let you go. I’m trying to remember all the times you’ve told me this time would come, and how it wouldn’t be easy but as time passes it will become easier. Mom, I hope your right, because right now I really miss you.

So I suppose I should end this now, I want you to know that I will always cherish the times we spent together, no one can take that away.

Bye for now, I’ll see you soon.

With all my love,
Your son,



  1. May she rest in peace , she was so pretty.She is sure in a better place

  2. Dear Neil and Tracy,
    No words can help....just keep knowing that you will be together again.....you had an incredible Mom Neil! Tracy I also was this close to my MIL, and I know the void it leaves....I wish for easier days and always the good memories....Love, Sandy

  3. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman <3
    Love, hugs & prayers to you both!

  4. Oh Tracy, What a Beautiful & Heartful Tribute.... Dear Neil, I Hope & Pray that when My day comes, my son will feel just a portion of what you have expressed~ What a Loving Son, you have been, all for such a Wonderful Mother! Hugs to both of You

    1. tracy, I'm unable to leave a comment with out it being a reply to someone elses. not sure why your comment box keeps disappearing though.
      anyways, just want you to know that I had prayed for your MIL and you and Neil many times. I know shes in a wonderful place now and I'm happy for her. I hope the awesome memories of her love and kindness will sustain you well, until you meet again.

  5. What a beautiful letter Niel wrote. Such a tribute to the beautiful woman you both called Mom. My thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you during this difficult time.
    You were both blessed with such a wonderful relationship with her.

  6. Neil and Tracy, You were such wonderful children made even better by a god fearing Mother. I pray that the days will become easier to bear until you are all reunited.

  7. Tracy, so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Kathryn Costa