Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cheers, Pat

Every once in a while someone suddenly comes into my life and makes it better. And sometimes, unfortunately they leave just as suddenly.

Eleven weeks after my son Carson was born, I met Pat who was the new secretary at the school my girls were going to. She and her best friend Judy came to a PTO event and fell in love with Carson just as quickly as he and I fell in love with them. Pat and I became great friends. Because of this, I spent a LOT of time volunteering at the school to get to know her better. Eventually she became Granny Pat to my kids and Judy became Aunt Judy.

I shared a lot of laughter and even a few tears with Pat during the two years she was in my life. She helped me through some frustrating times with my oldest daughter (turns out we were both normal). If I ever needed anything, Pat was there. I could cry on her shoulder, count on her for some incredible laughs, always enjoyed her motherly hugs, and had a blast making fun of her Boston accent when she did announcements over the intercom.

Pat and Judy watched all three of our kids sometimes so Hubby and I could have some grown up time. We also shared the occasional rum and Diet Coke while hanging out at their apartment with their one friendly cat, one not so friendly cat, and Pat's soul mate dog, Lizzie.

Even when we decided to move the girls to a different school, Pat and I kept in contact. We still visited her and Judy at their apartment and loved hanging out at their pool with Pat's grandson, Matthew. Pat became like a second mother to me. She was one of the first people I told when I got pregnant with Maisie. She had UV phototherapy appointments for her psoriasis right next to my OB/GYN and we made our weekly appointments on the same days and times so we could chat.

She was one of the few people I knew I would miss when we decided to move across the state to Tampa the summer of 2006. I'll never forget getting a text message from her shortly after we moved: "I have colon cancer". She called me a few minutes later and after I spent five minutes yelling at her for texting such devastating news, we both cried. It was bad. The cancer was being stubborn and there wasn't much hope. Pat stayed as strong as she could and was determined to beat it.

Unfortunately with her getting so sick and me raising a fourth child plus getting settled in a new city, we lost contact. Pat was never far from my thoughts, though.

In December of 2007 my best friend Rachel got married. I was sitting at a table with our friend Terry catching up when Terry mentioned her kids went to the same school my kids were transferred out of. Pat's name came up and I was so anxious to hear how she was. Terry had no idea how close Pat was to me. In the middle of the reception, on my best friend's happiest day, I learned that Pat has passed away. I tried so hard to sit there and keep it together. Thankfully, Hubby was right there. He squeezed my hand and that was all it took for me to break down. I ran out of the reception hall leaving him to explain to Terry how much Pat had meant to me.

I remember running past the bride's mom, her friends, and everyone else standing outside. I collapsed on a pool chair and sobbed uncontrollably. Suddenly I saw a pair of black shiny shoes standing in front of me. I looked up and it was the best man. I choked out what I could about what just happened. He put his arm around me and told me how sorry he was for my loss. He also said there was a time for grieving and since he knew how close Rachel and I were, he gently explained this wasn't the time. Hubby came out and led me up to our hotel room so I could wash my face and fix my makeup. I took a few minutes, some deep breaths, and made my way back down to the reception. I had a smile on my face but inside my heart was broken. I walked to the bar and ordered a rum and Diet Coke in memory of my dear friend Pat.

Soon after, I contacted Judy and she felt horrible that I found out the way I did. She had emailed after Pat passed away but I never received it. She kept it and sent it to me again.

I have some wonderful memories of Pat and Judy. I loved them both very much. A little bit of Pat will always be with me, deep in my heart.

Cheers, Granny Pat. May there be an endless supply of rum and Diet Coke in Heaven.

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