120-We’re Going To Miss You Mama Bear…
I was quite nervous as I slowly rolled up to my lady interest’s home in Grand Blanc. It was a quiet sub, houses showing the similarities of a common builder but the lights were on and welcoming. I had no idea what to expect meeting her family, her parents especially made my palms sweat. After opening introductions, I realized that I was going to like this family—”Mad Dog” and “Mama Dosh” were the preferred and disarming titles for my bride-to-be’s parents. How cool was that? Less than a year later they became “mom and dad.”
Fast forward seventeen years to 1:30am on a Friday night. I was mostly asleep on this Fall night, beginning to let my mind wander off into dreamland, when I could hear Jen talking on the phone to whom I assumed was mad dog. I was startled to full alert status when I heard her say, “I’m on my way.” “I’m coming with you,” I announced as I heel-hooked myself out of bed and quickly got dressed. We rushed off to the hospital to check on Mama Dosh, who was suffering from unexpected kidney failure. What we did not know was that we would be saying goodbye less than 24 hours later.
What do you say about the original Google? Mama Dosh accepted me into the family with the gracious threat of, “They also call me mama bear. If you do anything to hurt my daughter, I’ll hunt you down and kill you.” I turned to Mad Dog for assurance and regretfully received, “She’s not kidding.” I had a healthy fear of Mama Dosh, especially if we were sitting down for a family game of Boggle or anything that involved words or language. She was a genius in proper speech and wasn’t afraid to weaponize it into letters to legislation to get things done on a larger scale than threats to her son-in-law. She was full of godly wisdom and I’ve gone to her for advice on more than one occasion. I’m pretty sure that Mad Dog was feeding me lines that were really flowing from Mama Dosh on the other end of the phone. Those two were inseparable, high school sweethearts and married a year after graduation, they did everything together—missions’ trips, wilderness adventures, leading small groups and Jimmy Johns (lots and lots of Jimmy Johns… so much so, Jimmy Johns catered her father’s funeral dinner without request, but just out of their relationship).
Mama Dosh led her three girls boldly, but humbly; training them to live life to the fullest and not to take crap from anybody, especially bullies. Jen spun tails of mom’s inspiration that seemed to flow naturally from Jen’s southern grandpa Harvel, who, chased down a car on foot full of teen boys bullying Jen’s mom waiving a pipe at his baby girl; or maybe she got her grit from her father’s strength as he pushed a piano up a staircase single handedly. Either way, Mama Dosh was able to hold her own when it came to justice and fighting for the underdog. The only counterpart more powerful than her soft but lightning-bolt phrase, “What do you mean by that?” was experiencing the Dosh girls “laugh attack.” We have yet to discover a remedy for the laugh attack and don’t plan on finding one anytime soon.
Apart from words and wisdom, mom was up for anything we kids ventured into, from adventure races to skydiving (dad was on a work trip in Brazil at the time, so he probably would’ve had some choice words had he known all 4 of his girls were jumping out of an airplane all at once). As a Foss, full of pride and competitive spirit, I quickly learned my place in the Dosh family, especially with mom… don’t get in her way during an intense game of Peanuts, or even a friendly game for that matter. She won almost every time we played, seemingly without much effort, her only excuse ever used in a close second was that she was competing with T-Rex for shortest arms in history. I held the Wii records for Wii sports, which had us all approaching laugh-attack territory nearly every time we were together, but mom exercised her mama bear authority when she picked up the ax in Guitar Hero and ripped us all a new one. Expert level in the bonus songs that our brains couldn’t even comprehend and mom was tearing up the guitar like it was just another day in the office. Mad respect mom.
Some of you reading this blog may be thinking it’s a little off from our normal tales of adventure but I just lost a part of my family and I know that some of you have experienced similar loss. Where do we go from here? The one thing you will never get from me is to give up or to turn your back on the Creator of the Universe. Jen mentioned to me just today that she’s thankful that this tragedy has not stripped her of her faith, and I have to agree. YHVH speaks to Isaiah in chapter 55:9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” We may not understand the world around us sometimes and why the cards fall the way they do, but in the end we can rest in the fact that God is still God, truth is still truth, and we can continue on.
Mama Dosh, thank you for taking me in as your son, I look forward to worshiping with you in Heaven someday… let’s not set that date too soon though.