wings and things

To my sister-in-law, Pat

on March 26, 2014

Dear Pat

I am finding it very difficult to believe you are gone because Anthony and I were just talking about you the other day, about your pink jacket, the fact that you made the effort to come 200 kilometers south for his 75th birthday even though you and your family had to go back to Perth that same night. You and Anthony sat next to each other all night and I was a teensy bit jealous!

Anthony and Pat2

And I remember your 90th – the joy of it, and your family, and your beautiful pink jacket, and how much you loved the photo I gave you of Anthony sitting on his motorbike with baby Ming. In amongst the food, frivolity, speeches and chitchat, you shone bright – always, always with a glint in your eyes, a mixture of wisdom and wit. And once again, you and Anthony sat next to each other.

The weekly phone-calls, before your hearing failed and Anthony had gone into the nursing home, were a highlight for us. Ming would answer the phone and yell “It’s Auntie Pat, you guys!”

I remember being a bit nervous of you when I married your little brother even though, at the time, he was 57 and you were the age he is now. It took you a little while to approve of me but, when you did, you gave me your full older-sister-approval and I learned how to answer you back!

Even though I never had a chance to tell you when you were still alive, I want you to know, Pat, that you taught me how to be assertive, how not to take nonsense, and how to love unconditionally. You also taught me the art of a brandy before salmon mornay – and the way you and John smiled at each other is an image that is imprinted on my mind forever.

I know, if I had tried to say these things to you in years gone by, you would probably have shrugged them off as sentimental because, like Anthony, you were/are pragmatic and that is one of your many legacies.

At your 90th, I was sitting next to Mary, the daughter who lived with you and she said, quietly, with her eyes full of tears, that it was a privilege to look after you. And, that day, seeing how much all of your children and grandchildren loved you, I wished for a moment that I had had more than one child.

One of the things I will miss most is those booming phone conversations you had with Ming, both of you shouting into the receiver so loudly that I could hear the whole thing. Your first question was always “How is Anthony?” and Ming and I would reassure you.

And remember that time you came to Glengarry Hospital, when Anthony was being assessed for a new medication regime? You created a bit of a scene with your “What are you doing with my brother?” The nursing staff loved you immediately!

I will miss you so much, Pat. And the first thing I am going to do, after your funeral, is to buy a pink jacket. My/our deepest sympathy to your beautiful children and grandchildren. You were – you ARE unforgettable.

Lots of love
Julie, Ants and Ming

52 responses to “To my sister-in-law, Pat

  1. This was a hard one to ‘like’ but there’s no other button option, so I ‘liked’ it.

    I am sorry for your loss Julie — and applaud you in the pink jacket! woo hoo!

    She sounds like an amazing woman.

    Many hugs my friend.

  2. mimijk says:

    Oh Jules, I’m so sorry…what a vibrant picture you offer us of your sister-in-law! A woman of substance and life and love. May her memory forever be a blessing…

  3. susanpoozan says:

    Lots of sympathy in your loss. She sounds a splendid person.

  4. Julie I’m so sorry for your, Anthony and Ming’s loss. She was obviously of strong and wonderful character. I hope for comfort for all of you her family in her love and memories she left with you.

  5. a lovely tribute Julie, as will the pink jacket be !

  6. What a special woman – how lucky you were to have her in your lives.

  7. What a beautiful tribute to Pat. I’m sorry for your loss Julie.

  8. jatwood4 says:

    Jm, my most heartfelt to condolences for your loss.

  9. Rhonda says:

    I’m so sorry Jules. I can hear how much she’ll be missed by all of you in your words. How is Anthony? Does he realize? She sounds a gift in your life my friend, and along with her pragmatism, your memories of her will keep you going strong when the time comes. You’re blessed with the love she left behind…open, honest, and real…xoxoxo

  10. ksbeth says:

    what a beautiful tribute to such a special woman. i am sorry for your loss )

  11. Jules I am so so sorry, loss of any loved one is so darn difficult, yet at nintey + years …what a full and joyous life she lived and what wonderful memories you have of Pat. It is so beautiful when one has a strong pramatic person to love and learn from they bring so much into our lives. I am sorry for the pain Pats passing brings to all of you but rejoice for the heavens getting such a beautiful angel. Love and hugs my friend xxx

  12. I am so sorry for your loss Jules and for Anthony and MIng as well. Your tribute is incredibly beautiful, a real love letter to the woman and her life. Huge hugs 🙂

  13. So very sorry for your loss, Julie. She was obviously a beautiful spirit, and it sounds like she lived life to the fullest. I know that she’ll live on in your memories…

  14. niasunset says:

    I am so sorry too dear Julie, beautiful soul never dies. Hugs and Love, nia

  15. Judy says:

    This is just another blow and I’m so sorry, Julie. I’m squeezing you harder with my hug. I don’t know what to say – there just isn’t any “pat” answer for this. (Sorry, probably not a good time for a pun, but I love to try and make you smile).

  16. Lovely homage. So sorry for your loss.

  17. Lynda says:

    Everyone needs Pat personality in their life. I’m so glad that you became such good friends, and sad that she will not be there to cheer you on. She will be missed for sure, but oh the memories! I am sorry for your loss.

  18. Beautiful sentiments Julie… respect and love in the words… Diane

  19. FlaHam says:

    Julie, that was the sweetest letter I have read in a long long time. Thank you for sharing it and helping us to know Pat. Please take care, Bill

  20. lensgirl53 says:

    A lovely tribute to Pat. I am so sorry to hear of her passing; God be with you and the whole family during these days of remembrance and grief.

  21. Trisha says:

    What a wonderful tribute you’ve written here. I am sorry for your loss.

  22. Sorry to hear of the death of your sister in-law

  23. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    Sorry to hear of your loss, Julie, she sounds like/was the most beautiful person imaginable and your tribute is most fitting and beautifully worded.

  24. A lovely tribute, Jules. So sorry for your loss.

  25. viveka says:

    A wonderful and love-full letter …. and I know that pink jacket will suit you so well.

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