Dorothy Elizabeth Sellers Brinlee: a Eulogy

I don’t believe in Euphemisms, as they often lie and skew the truth.

I hope to give an honest depiction of who Grandma was, and to be considerate of everyone’s experiences with her, as the narrative swings from some of the darkest times to some of the happiest times of our lives.

What is important for us to remember in Grandma’s death?

I could tell you the stories she told me…

As a child, she once fell in the kitchen, catching herself on the hot wood-burning stove. Later that day, with bandages on her severely burned hands, she was given the easy job of guiding her family’s beast of burden, one of the gentler chores of their agrarian lifestyle.

Once, when she visited an aunt’s house with all of her cousins, they slept on the wooden floors of the kitchen, where it was most cool in the summer night. Later, she was awakened by the eerie sound of chains dragging outside, and upon looking out, she saw the appearance of a ghostly figure at the front gate of the property, seemingly trying to come in.

Before marrying her first husband, she spent a short time on her own in Houston where she attended vocational college.

What’s more important than these things is the expanse of her legacy. She was the true matriarch of our family: a consistent beacon along the barren thoroughfare of Highway 90. Regardless of how far we  traveled -- Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee -- there would always be a home for you in the muddy water of Louisiana: a place where she was always awake in the darkest hour, ready to welcome you home. She always had a bed for you, and she always had more than enough food for you. She had one of the most eclectic collections of things you’ve ever seen in your life. By the time you were ready to leave, you’d have more than a box full of some of the most obscure items you could purchase on late night television; jars of homemade preserves; and a handful of soft peppermints.

As wonderful as all those things sound, it’s only fair that I mention the reality: that though we loved her very much, Grandma was a very difficult woman.  

I experienced this firsthand in 1989 when I was left with Grandma along with my sisters, Vicky and Becky. Grandma became my mother at the age of 61. Growing up in the 90’s and the 2000’s with two elderly people (both experiencing mind-wasting diseases) was very hard. Because my sisters were older, they would move out before me, and I essentially became an only child. Over time and for an assortment of reasons I believe most of us can relate to, I began to severely resent her; in 2009, I left her house, blaming her for a lot of things. 

Over the next ten years, I would come home at least every 6 months to visit her. I would start to notice she was a little different every time. Month by month, as parts of her began peeling away, she became a new person over whom I was no longer able to hold any resentments. 

I was able to forget the mean things that she said.

I was able to forgive her.

We are forgiven with the measure by which we forgive.

If I could intercede on her behalf -- 

If in your heart there is any bitterness, resentment, or disdain for her --

I hope you can come to a place of true forgiveness.

I don’t believe in Euphemisms, as they often lie and skew the truth.

All of creation yearns for the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19),


It pleased God for the fullness of His deity and Godhead to dwell in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:19).

In death, Grandma stands before the Lord Jesus Christ

And in her death, I hope that you will consider where you stand with Him.

I hope you remember her in the smell of citrus – peelings of Satsuma – the bittersweet of cumquat.

I hope you remember her in the heat of a Louisiana evening, and the roar of the cicada. 

I hope you remember her face in the window above the sink as you stand at the end of the hall with the sounds of dishwater and country music during the latest hours of the night – 

I hope you remember her

On August 5th, 2019, a little more than a month before her 93rd birthday, 

Dorothy Elizabeth Sellers Brinlee --- Grandma --- My mother