Many helped Dottye celebrate her work developing the educational program at SECU Family House in Winston-Salem last night with a retirement reception that included guests from many parts of her life. Family and friends spoke and wrote remembrances about their dear Dottye.

The sisters from Farther Along hosted the reception for our Dottye, and someone asked if all of us shared the last name, FartherAlong, since we had written it on our name tags after our first names as if it were indeed a surname. Yes, we do.

And we continue to share in the journeys each of us travels, the good with the not-so-good, the sorrow with the joy. For last night, we loved toasting the joy in this segment of Dottye’s journey. The last line of our acrostic “Farther Along” toast was  Grateful to be with you as you go Farther Along still, Dottye. We are grateful for you and your journey and ours with you.

Carol Henderson, leader of our Farther Along writing group and author of Farther Along: The Writing Journey of thirteen Bereaved Mothers, wrote this:

Such a lovely retirement party and great to see many of our Farther Along sisters and to meet and reconnect with Dottye’s friends and family.

Dottye did an amazing job at the Family House, bringing nursing and other students together with the families of those in the area hospitals—so that the medical community could see up close the impact of illness on the entire family constellation. And she did much, much more. Family House will really miss Dottye, but maybe we’ll get a bit more of her. 😊🙏

In the early years, our Farther Along group looked back often at the enormity of what we mothers had lost. Now, as we’ve grown in friendship, writing, and years of sharing, we have become a deeply rooted community of sisters—through joyous births and adoption, wildly lively retreats and trips as well as devastating fresh losses and illness and other shattering changes.

Through it all we have grown into a sheltering grove, standing tall, roots deep, offering each other ballast and shade and opening our collective branches in a canopy of shimmering hope and love.

May anyone who visits our blog find some small comfort here and feel free to share your stories with us.

Dottye with hats at piano

Some of Dottye’s Hat collection provided decoration for the retirement reception. 

Dottye with cape and crown

Dottye wore a crown and cape as her son and daughter honored her with stories.

Peggy, dottye, beverly, hats, flowers

Beverly decorated with flowers from her gardens and Dottye’s hats. Peggy, Dottye and Beverly with hats and flowers.

Karin and Glenn

Karin and Glenn confer about the stories they will share about their mother.

Birgit, German daughter

Birgit, “German daughter” and Anni, her mother-in-law, traveled from Germany to surprise Dottye on this special day.

Dottye, Kathy Carr

Dottye and Kathy Carr, director of SECU Family House. Family House received donations from many for the educational program in Dottye’s honor. Proceeds from the book Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers also go to Family House, and Farther Along presented a donation too .

MOnica,Barbara, Kathy

Julie, Beth, lemonade


Above and below: Behind the scenes, Farther Along sisters put finishing touches on the party’s food and drink. Monica, Barbara and Kathy help with food preparation and Julie and Beth prepare beverages. Other family helped too: Hope, Sandy Bud and Blaine.

Sandy, Bud, Blaine, Peggy

Barbara, Carol, Kay

Carol Henderson, leader of the Farther Along group with Barbara and Kay.