Steve and I both have extraordinary families. That’s one of the gifts of marriage… getting a partner, plus additional moms and dads, sisters and brothers, aunts, uncles and especially cousins. I seriously scored on this one.
Steve’s Aunt Pat has always been the cool auntie. She was to Steve and his cousins when they were growing up, she was to me, and she was to Kate and Alex. On Sunday she passed away peacefully, in her home, age 80 and 12 days. We were honored to be part of her final journey, and the experience of being with her in her final weeks were remarkable and life changing.
There’s so much more to write about Pat, and about this experience with her, and that will come later. She was independent and intrepid, and loved her cabin at Squaw Valley. The picture above is with her beloved sister, Louise, who would have been 91 on Sunday (yes, the same Sunday). Pat also loved ragtime music, playing the slot machines (and she was lucky!), thrift shopping, gardening and being with her family. She especially loved (LOVED!) her grandsons, Avery and Zeal, Chris and Christine’s sons.
Pat was so open and gracious about what was happening in her final month, partly because Chris made it possible for her to be at home, surrounded by people she loved. We were part of a few very special afternoons in her patio, reminiscing with her family about her life, which was a wonderful experience for all of us. We spent a few nights, as Team Pat, as they transitioned to inhome care. We were able to help comfort her, feed her, give her medicine and just be with her. I had a pretty funny afternoon with her two weeks ago, sitting in bed, taking selfie photos (more on that later). In the end, she was able to share stories and memories, along with a little wisdom. We were able to fill her with love and she was able to take it all in. At one point she said to me, “Well, except for the pain, this has all been a lovely experience. I think it’s going very well, don’t you?”
One of the stories I heard was how she called all of the little cousins her little peanuts, so they called her Auntie Peanut. Ah, the secrets that come out!
It’s not going to be the same, and some of this is going to be hard. But she showed us that there is always time for love.
Love you Auntie.