Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Roll the Dice

My husband had an aunt who died this year.  Her name was Aunt Pat.  She was in her 70's, sharp as a tack, liked to laugh, play dice, cards, sudoku, crosswords, swear a little and enjoyed her life even though it hadn't been easy.  She was married and had one son who eventually married and had a daughter, whom Pat loved to share her baking tips with.  Pat's husband had died in a tragic accident before her eyes.  In some ways it might have been the best as he wasn't the most kind husband to Pat.  And she was about the easiest person to be nice to that I've ever met.  My husband always had a special place in his heart for her as she helped him get a job - she would do anything for you if she could.  She's one of these people that has come into my life and I didn't need to know her life story - she and I had a connection.  She had such a great sense of humor - she was bawdy.  Anyone who knows me knows that this is right up my alley!  She had a sparkle in her eye and a hug when she saw you.  It's a gift to give someone that look when they walk in a room - to make someone feel so special.

When we found out that Pat had terminal cancer and she had 3 months to live, I decided we would try to see her as much as possible.  She lives a couple of hours away and it was late Winter so it was challenging.  My husband went to a family gathering with Pat and while he had a good time, it was bittersweet.  I called Pat's sister and made plans for our family to go to the next gathering a couple of weeks later.  We played dice and of course Pat won!  I know she enjoyed being with everyone playing one of her favorite games.  We kissed her goodbye and told her we'd see her soon.  A hug in the house was followed by silent tears in the dark ride home.  We managed to see Pat a couple more times - once at her tiny charming house, preparing for her departure, and another at her sister's place.  When we left Pat's house, she gave us a big hug and told my husband and I to take care of each other and our beautiful family.  I cry just thinking about it right now.   That moment when you tell someone goodbye is one that you don't forget. 

Pat died in Spring just short of her 3 month term.  She was buried with dice and some heartfelt mementos. (I had carried a set of dice in my pocket just in case she didn't have any in her casket.  The dice are still in my coat pocket.)  A week or two after the funeral a package arrived in the mail for my husband.  It was a book about living life to the fullest that Pat had the funeral home send out to the pall bearers.  It's a stunning moment to receive something from someone after they've departed. 

This weekend I had just fallen to sleep and I heard someone whisper my name.  I was startled and woke up.  I asked my husband if he had done it and he said he hadn't.  Very weird.  Today my son came home with a drawing with a caption on it.  He's 5 years old so his pictures need to have an explanation sometimes unless they are cars or trains.  The caption read, "Someone Special - Aunt Pat".  I asked my son about it and he said, "She died." I showed my husband and he was taken aback.  He called his parents and his dad (Pat's brother) answered the phone.  He told his dad what had happened and his dad said that we don't always give credit to kids for what they feel and understand.  Even more uncanny was that his dad had gone past the cemetery where Pat was buried today wondering if he would be able to find her plot (the ground was frozen when she died so we hadn't made it to the plot). 

Perhaps these events are random and I need to cut back on the chocolate before bedtime so I don't hear people whisper, but I really think it's just a great set of circumstances that came together to help us remember to live each day to the fullest and cherish the times we have with our friends and families.  And to remember Pat.  Miss you, girl!

1 comment:

Terri said...

I think I would have liked Aunt Pat, and Babi & her for sure would have had a hell of a time together!