My Sister Doti
After spending a couple weeks in Austin, Texas with my friends, I hit the road in mid-December and headed straight back to Portland because I wanted to spend Christmas with my sister Doti (pronounced "Dotti"), who lives alone in Bellingham, Washington north of Seattle. Doti and I are very close and I've spent almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas with her.
After leaving Austin, I wanted to get to Portland as fast as possible so I stayed on the Interstates, and after four 10-hour days of driving, I reached Portland. I called her house from Portland and left a message, saying that I'd be coming up for Christmas. As it turned out, though, she never got the message.
A few days later while I was still in Portland, I learned that my sister was ailing so I drove straight up to Bellingham, which is about six hours north of Portland. Doti had apparently been dealing with a number of health issues recently, though she hadn't told any of her brothers about it because she didn't want to bother us (which is typical Doti). In fact, we'd heard about her health issues from her neighbor.
Doti and I spent Christmas Eve in the rehabilitation facility in Bellingham where she had been staying. I thought she was going to recover, but a few days later she took a turn for the worse and in early January, and at her request, she was transferred to an in-patient facility called the Bellingham Hospice House. Throughout the month of January, I spent 10-12 hours every day with her in her room at the Hospice House, assisting her as much as I could while health declined. She passed away on January 28, 2017 while I was at her bedside.
Doti Leu was the most loving and gentle spirit I ever knew, and she was also my best friend. She could be particular at times but she was always incredibly positive and joyful, and many called her "a walking angel." No one who knew Doti ever said a bad thing about her, and her loss has left a tremendous void in my life -- and in the lives of so many other people who knew her.
I've created a new section of my website that I'm dedicating to her, located at: ExtremeGeographer > Doti. I've posted several stories, videos and photos of Doti there, so please take a look.
Above: Doti in 1955 at age 10, in 1968 in California at age 23, and in 2001 in Bellingham, Washington.