This memorial website is created for our daughter, Dawn Michelle. It is created to share her life and to share what an amazing woman she became. Please feel free to light a candle in her memory or share a story from the past.
Dawn was born July 17, 1969 on McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, Kansas and passed away suddenly of a heart problem no one knew she even had, on September 30, 2004 at the age of 35. Dawn was our 1st child, she was the 1st grandchild on Greg's side and my side, she was the 1st niece, she was the first of many things in our family. She was first to die, which is way out of order, a child is not suppose to die before their parents.
I have so many memories of my precious Dawn. Where will I ever begin? Her life is my memory. As a mom, we love our kids and every mom could write a book of all the memory's we hold in our hearts.
I was 19 when Dawn was born and I had previously done some babysitting growing up, but never had any experience with taking care of a baby, so it was all very new to me. She was born in Wichita, Kansas at McConnell Air Force Base. It was quite an experience to go through giving birth to a baby at the time, compared to now. I went into labor at about 10:00 pm on July 16th, the pains weren't real bad, but I was a first time mom, so I didn't know what to expect. I told Greg we better go to the hospital. We got there and they registered me and checked me over and put me in a room and said it will be awhile, and they sent Greg home. There I was in a hospital room, all by myself, in labor, never ever being away from home before in my whole life, and they sent Greg home to get some rest. They told him they would call him when I was ready to give birth. WOW, was I scared. The pains became stronger and they called Greg to come in. We had a precious baby girl, Dawn Michelle, 8 lbs. 1/4 oz, 21 inches long. A bouncing baby girl...from bonette to bootie, she's really a cutie...is what her birth annoucement read. And she was. Greg made the calls and could only come to visit on visiting hours. I could only have baby Dawn in the room with me for certain hours and I had to stay in the hospital for 5 whole days, because that's the way it was 35 years ago. Things have certainly changed.
Since Greg and I lived in Kansas and all of our family was back home in Minnesota, it wasn't like we had a flood of family members coming to see their 1st granddaughter or neice. But, my mom came down the first week or so and then my dad, and then Greg's mom and sisters. They were Dawn's first visitors.
Dawn had plenty of childhood sicknesses, she had ear infections, strept throat, which caused her to have her tonsils out at an early age, chicken pox. She broke her collar bone when she was "3". She suffered with severe migrane headaches since junior high school.
When Dawn started kindergarten, we were told that she was a social butterfly. She began at an early age to communicate with her friends. Sometimes that got her in trouble throughout her school years, because when she should have been paying attention to the teacher, she was thinking about what she could plan with her friends.
She started 1st grade at Cedar Manor Elementary School in St. Louis Park, MN with a teacher by the name of Ms Ortendahl. Dawn always said that her 1st grade teacher was the one person in her life that made her dislike school. Ms Ortendahl wasn't too fond of Dawn and I don't think knew how to handle children that were disruptive in class and loved to talk, so she reprimanded Dawn by keeping her after school and bringing her home. One day Dawn had gotten some new white shoes, it was when the clogs first became popular, Dawn wore them to school and evidently was clunking around in them and taking them on and off and Ms Ortendahl took and threw them across the room. Dawn told that story many, many times through out her life. She always said when she had children of her own, she would never allow them to have a teacher like she had in 1st grade.
Dawn had a shoe fettish at an early age, not sure if she got this from her Auntie's Renae and Ramona, always trying their shoes on growing up, wanting them to fit. Dawn had boxes and boxes of shoes throughout her life. She loved them. She loved her Doc Martins and flip flops and her ankle high black boots. I certainly think she passed this on to her daughter Alison. Everytime we go shopping, Alison wants to go to the shoe aisle, just like her mommy. If you gave Dawn money, she would be more apt to buy shoes than anything else. Dawn also loved her coach purses, which she always found at garage sales for great prices, she always was looking for a deal. She loved jewelry and makeup and painting her finger and toe nails.
Dawn's most greatest attribute I believe is that she had compassion for people. She loved people and loved to please people. She loved to listen and was always there for anyone that needed to talk.
Dawn and I had a very special Mother-Daughter relationship, one of which I thank my mother for. She taught me how to be a mom and it carried on through the years to Dawn. Dawn and I talked everyday for 35 years. We had late night talks when she would come home at night after being out with her friends. She would call me on the phone everyday, some days as often as 5 times in an hour. Not kidding. I miss those calls and her precious voice. Dawn spent a lot of time at our house with the kids, even if it were to just drop in and say "hi". She would stop in with the kids after school for a minute and then when she was ready to go, the kids wouldn't be and wanted to stay. I miss those times. If Dawn was planning an outing with the kids or something, she would always call and say, "Hey do you want to go with us to...wherever they were going." She always included us in her plans with the kids. I miss that.
Dawn loved her family. She loved all her grandparents with all her heart. She loved her cousins and became so very close with all of them. And she loved her sister.. and wanted the best for her and was so looking forward to seeing her be a mommy and just couldn't wait to be called Auntie Dawn.
Most of all Dawn loved her children. When Dawn and Charlie were married they made a comment that they were probably not going to have kids. They were going to just raise dogs. But Dawn became pregnant with Taylor and motherhood set in and a mother is what Dawn became. She wanted to be the best mom to her kids. And she would always tell me after the Lord, my kids come first, my kids are going to be #1 in my life. She made that happen, she put her kids first and instilled in their hearts things that some children don't ever ever get to experience. She loved her kids with all her heart. She took them to church, Sunday School, and Youth Group because she wanted them to know the Lord and to grow up with a faith in Him that would help them through life. She took on a job that was flexible with the kids schedule, so that she could be to every school event and sporting event and wouldn't miss one. She saw to it that the kids went to a school that they would get the best education. And if anyone would mess with her kids, she was by their side defending them but at the same ttime teaching them that they have to take responsibility for their own actions too. She loved to talk about her kids and Taylor and Alison were. without a doubt, her #1 priority.
It makes me sad beyond words to think that Dawn left this earth in an instant, without a warning or a sign, without a last word to any of us, not a goodbye, not a hug, not a kiss, not a touch, not an I love You, Ill see you later, she just simply was gone. As heartbreaking as that is to all of us...the worst heartbreak in all of this is that her children found her that night. They didn't get that last hug or kiss or touch or her precious words of "I love You". They found her unresponsive that evening...of September 30, 2004, a sight that no child should ever have to see or go through.
I believe that Dawn is in heaven with all the angels, singing and or signing the songs of praise to the Lord. I have a very hard time understanding why she is there. I have a hard time believing that she is so happy there knowing that her children are here without her. I believe she is here with us, in out hearts, probably crying with us and laughing with us and going through all are other emotions with us. I believe when we get to heaven with her all our questions that we have as to why she was taken from us here on earth will be answered, but I also believe that when we are reunited with her and our Lord Jesus, those questions and the why's will not matter. What will matter at that time is we will be together once again.
THE DAY DAWN WAS TAKEN FROM US.....
I want this memorial site to concentrate on Dawn's life instead of her death, but also feel that I need to tell what happened the horrible night of 9/30/04. When thinking and writing about all the memories Dawn left behind, it still brings back the memory of the worst day of my life, the day she left us. Yes, people can tell me that she is in heaven rejoicing with the angels and smiling down on us, which I'm positive that is true, but the worst of it is, her dad and I want her back here on earth smiling along with us.
September 30, 2004 we received a phone call at about 5:30pm from Taylor, her 10 year old son, screaming that something is wrong with MOMMY. That voice has stuck in my head and I can't seem to erase the fear and terror in his words. I immediately told him to call 911 and hung up and preceded to call 911 myself just to make sure he did. The dispatcher said,"yes, he managed to call." I called her sister, Diana to let her know what was going on and then Greg and I were out the door and on our way to the unknown. That ride to Dawn's house was the worst and longest ride we had ever taken. I remember how on edge I was, thinking, "oh, I'm sure everything is okay." We were in rush hour traffic and it seemed we couldn't get there fast enough. I kept looking over at Greg to see any kind of emotion, but he showed none. I kept saying to him, I'm sure it's okay don't you think? He just said, "I don't know." I truly think deep down in my heart, I knew it wasn't okay.
The minute we turned the corner onto 28th Street I saw the red lights flashing in front of her house. I remember feeling sick and not wanting to even drive up to the house. We drove around the block like we always do and had to drive past the house before we could park. I remember all kinds of people standing in front outside, with Taylor and Alison. I remember getting out of the car and walking down the sidewalk toward Taylor and Alison who came running to me. I remember hugging them and being asked if we were the parents. Then someone came down the steps and said "We couldn't save her." Greg said "What? What do you mean you couldn't save her?" We couldn't believe what we were hearing, we didn't want to believe it!!!! At that point, time stood still---Our Dawn, no, no, no, it can't be!!! She was gone.
What happened?? They said," whatever it was, it was catostrophic, because she was gone instantly." They told us we couldn't go in the house because they were treating it like a homicide. I remember sitting on the steps with Taylor and Alison and asking, "where are we going to live now?" I don't remember my response. I remember someone coming up to ask me if we wanted to donate her organs and being unable to answer or think. I remember calling my mom and telling her, Dawn died. I remember Diana and Chad walking up the steps not realizing at that time they already knew that Dawn was gone. I remember the paramedics finally bringing Dawn out in a red body bag and we just stood there and watched. I did not get to see her and oh how I remember I wanted to, they recommended us not to, which has haunted me to this day. Why didn't I insist on seeing her. We watched them drive away with my daughter. I would never see my daugher again. Taylor, asked his grandpa, is this a dream? Grandpa Greg answered, "No honey, I wish it were."
From that point on, I remember we went into her house, I remember going into the bathroom to see if there were any signs of what had happened, but there was nothing. They had come and tried to revive her and couldn't and cleaned up everything. What happened from that point on is pretty much a blur. The last day of Dawn's life and I can't even remember. I know that family and friends came and people were called I was sitting down in Dawn's office looking for phone numbers. What? Was I in shock???
The days that followed were pretty intense. There were funeral arrangements to be made and decisions to be made. Everything was too overwhelming. Family members were a blessing as they seemed to take over.
Her funeral was an expression of everyone's love for her. Dawn made an impact on a lot of people's lives. She had a big heart, my daughter, and why was it that it was her heart that broke? To this day, I will never, ever understand, WHY!!!
I wish... / Alison Ankney (Daughter)
I don't know how to describe in words how much I miss you...You see me everyday struggling to live my life and go through my day without you really being here by my side. I don't know what I am going to do knowing in my head right now tha...
5 Years Ago Today - 9/30/04 / Mom
Dear Dawn My Daughter
How can it be five years? It seems like "forever" and "yesterday" all at the same time. I remember thinking days and months after you were gone...how I wished it would be farther down the road.&n...
September 7, 2009 Missing You Always!!! / Mom
I'm sitting here today remembering.... remembering....remembering YOU! Carrying you for 9 months. 40 years ago...waiting for you to be born. Then when you finally came into our lives what a beautiful journey we all had together for 3...
Happy birthday Dawn... / Aunt Louise Maidment (Aunt)
Been thinking of you so much this month...remembering your 40th birthday.I'm SURE we would have given you the best party EVER!!We had Joey's grad party and we got you a cake made your mom and dad cry..didn't mean to do that just did...
Season of Many Feelings / Mom -. On October 11, 2008
SEASON OF MANY FEELINGS
Autumn is here once again, as it comes every year, and with it comes my falling tears. This time of year is the hardest of all. My heart is still breaking, once again it is fall. Memories once so vivid are s...
Missing you Always and Forever - 9/29/08 / Mom Read >>
Now that I'm gone, remember me with a smile and laughter. And if you need to cry, cry with your brother or sister who walks in grief beside you.
And when you need me, put your arms around anyone and give to them what you need to give to me.
There are so many who need so much. I want to leave you something. Something much better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I've known and loved or helped in some special way. Let me live in your heart as well as your mind.
You can love me most by letting your love reach out to our loved ones. By embracing them and living in their love.
Love does not die, people do. So, when all that's left of me is love, give me away as best you can.
P.R.I.O.R.I.T.I.E.S (a picture with this saying was hanging in Dawn's house) She always said "My children our my #1 priority."
"A HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW IT WILL NOT MATTER WHAT MY BANK ACCOUNT WAS, THE SORT OF HOUSE I LIVED IN, OR THE KIND OF CAR I DROVE....BUT THE WORLD MAY BE DIFFERENT BECAUSE I WAS IMPORTANT IN THE LIFE OF A CHILD."
Taylor & Alison, their last Christmas with their mom.
Note from Dawn to Taylor and Alison - June 22, 2004