At 4 am on November 11, we received the phone call we had been dreading; Aunt Pat had left this world behind.
She spent her last night surrounded by family who could do nothing but watch as she clung to the last flickering embers of life. Twenty-four hours earlier she had been given what amounted to a death sentence by her doctor – the man entrusted with her care, yet he had only made a few brief visits to her hospital room – and she had to convey the news to those who had been holding out hope for a miracle.
“He said I’m not going to get any better.” were her exact words, a sobering reminder of how quickly we can be brought down by a simple sentence.
I don’t know how to properly honor Aunt Pat; how can I use a few words to pay a fitting tribute to someone who lived a good, clean life and raised a family? She always had a smile at the ready and she jumped to my defense whenever my wife or daughter would tease me. Aunt Pat acted like my biggest fan and I’ll always think of her whenever I wrestle with the many challenges that accompany parenthood.
She valued family above all else; she was the prototypical mom, always there to babysit, cook, clean or juggle a million other duties at once. Her sibling bond with my father-in-law was a sight to behold. How many sisters and brothers can claim they hung out every day in their golden years? They were inseparable.
Nothing will ever be the same in our family; her absence has left a void that cannot be ignored. Still, we were blessed to have known her. I don’t think it was mere coincidence that she left us on a day reserved for honoring heroes.
Godspeed, Aunt Pat, we love you.