The Passing of My Mother, Defender of the Vulnerable

My mother defended me always.

She defended the vulnerable all her days.

As a child, my mother grew up with an abusive father. I didn’t know this until I was almost 60 years old.

I had been studying abuse for several years and then we had a talk. The grandfather I knew was my grandmother’s second marriage. He was good, kind, and gentle. He was an absolute dear of a man.

But the father my mother grew up with until she was 16 years old was abusive. Controlling, entitled, and unfit to be a husband and father. He left that year for a job in Canada and didn’t return.

My grandmother proceeded to finish raising her five children without aid, working hard and showing her children a mettle that would forever form them.

My mother, who watched her mother suffer – as she did herself – under the toxic husband and father, would be a resilient and loving person of whom all who knew her spoke praises upon praises. She became a feminist of the kind that recognized women have value. And she had grown up seeing that value undermined at every turn.

My grandmother would go on to be a publicly elected official and serve her community for many years.

My mother became a writer who celebrated the people of her community for many years as a journalist. Then finally, in her waning years, published a book about an elected official who had gone against the political grain of his community, including Macarthyism, to support the vulnerable.

My mother, who defended me, even when I was indefensible, passed from life in this broken world this week. I will miss her deeply but know that she sought to raise her own five children to use their gifting to seek the good of their neighbor as she did.

I pray that I will defend the vulnerable as she did . . . if only half as much.

A Tribute to My Mother:

Our friend and hero Charlotte Dehnert passed away this fall. We want to honor her memory by sharing the brilliant story that inspired the creation of the Bookmarked community. Charlotte was a local author who entered the library with the great news of publishing her book Lester Callaway Hunt: He Put Wyoming’s Bucking Horse On the Map, a Biography. She presented her book to the on-duty librarian, Ami, hopeful for help in getting the word out. Ami saw an opportunity and began to organize around the idea that the literary artists who call Wyoming home deserve to be celebrated. Bookmarked Literary Arts Festival was born so that Charlotte and a state full of hopeful, blossoming Wyoming authors can have a cheering section waiting to welcome any new creation they are ready to share!

Ami Vincent, Director and Founder of the Bookmarked Festival

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