Maw-Maw Patsy

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This past Sunday was a very sad day for us. Early in the morning, my dad called to tell me the news. My grandmother had passed. I knew she was in the hospital, but she was in the hospital a lot. My mom told me she had gone in early Saturday morning with a high fever. This was not the first time she had a high fever (105 degrees), or had been in the hospital. I was concerned, but not gravely concerned. I figured they’d either get it under control and send her home, or like last time, she’d be in for a week or two, then a little rehab to regain strength, then back home.

When the phone rang Sunday morning, I knew after the “hello” from my dad. He barely had to tell me. I knew. I could tell. And I was devastated. I rushed to the hospital, cried a lot and said my good-byes.

And from there the ball started rolling. Plans for services, burial and reception. It all happened so fast. Wake Monday evening and Tuesday for a few hours with service at 2, and burial. Reception for family at my mom and dad’s house. It was rough, it was emotional, and heartbreaking, but also a peace was felt, for Maw-Maw Patsy.

I had/have selfish feelings, wanting my grandma here with me, no matter how much pain she was in. She wanted to be here, and we loved having her here. I don’t want her to be gone. I want her here, sitting in her chair, reading and watching TV. I want to call her and ask how she is and if she wants visitors. To which she would not hesitate and immediately answer “yep, come on.” But those feelings don’t really matter. They are selfish and silly. We all know she is in a better place, in no pain, and with her parents and sister and others who have gone before her. No matter all that, I am sad, very sad. I can’t help but miss her already.

Tuesday evening, when it was all over and most of the family had left, I sat down by Pop. He looked at me and said, “4 days and she’s gone. It was only 4 days.” He’s right. It really was like a whirlwind. With a blink of an eye, it’s all over. Now it’s time to move on, but that is so very hard.

We have lots of plans for Pop, to try and keep him occupied and fed and not so lonely. He has taken care of Maw-Maw for 63 years. It’s hard to imagine moving on from that. I can only imagine his sadness. And I know we can’t take it away, no matter how hard we try. All we can do is keep in touch and invite, invite, invite him to be with us whenever possible. We can remember, talk about Maw-Maw and attempt to relive old times.

At the service, my sister and I read something we each wrote from deep in our hearts. It was so very hard to write about my grandma in the past tense, and it was even harder to read it in front of a crowd of family and friends. But totally necessary. Allison and I felt that we couldn’t NOT do it. We needed to tell everyone, all her family and friends, what she meant to us, did for us, and how she influenced our lives. The funny thing was, was that everyone already knew everything we had to say about her. She was such a wonderful, sincere, giving, selfless person. Family was her first priority and she worked hard at keeping her family close. Everyone she knew, knew all of these things. I decided to share (with my sisters permission also) our stories with the Garynation community because I wanted to make sure to preserve this memory of my grandmother forever. I know I could keep it in a box or on my computer somewhere, but this blog is part of me, my little piece of the internet that will be here forever. Just like my grandma will be with me forever.

My part:

Most of you know her as Patsy, Mrs. Patsy, Aunt Patsy or even Mom. But to me, my sister, my cousins, and all of my friends that she had ever met, she was Maw-Maw Patsy. She would not let any one of our friends call her anything different. She was the best grandma a kid could ask for. She lived to spoil us and we knew it. Candy anytime we wanted, playing in a barn on haystacks, riding horses, fishing in their pond, 4 wheel riding, eating in bed, swimming parties at her house, watching EMU run around their yard, anything we wanted to do, she was up for it. Rotten, we were at Maw-Maw Patsy’s house. And I can’t even start on Christmas. It was a dream at her house.

Maw-maw Patsy was the grandmother of all grandmothers. She supported us immensely throughout our grade school and high school, and was at almost all of our sporting games. Everyone knew when she was there, she was the loudest in the crowd, yelling (usually at the referees), cheering and whistling. She knew all of my teammates and most of my friends, because it was important to her to know them. She wanted deeply to be a part of our lives, and it showed.

All these memories are so wonderful, but I cannot help but also remember the hospital visits starting from when I was very young. From surgeries to staph infection to high fevers, she was no stranger to hospitals, emergency rooms and intense pain. And you would never know she was in pain, because she was happy, kind and present all the time. She always made it through her fevers and pain. Always.

She had more lives than any doctor could ever predict and you all know that. Maw-Maw Patsy was a fighter. But I feel in my heart that I know why she fought. She fought for me. For my sister. For Pop and my parents. For her mother and her sisters. She fought to be with all of us. She loved her family and friends and truly loved being a part of all of our lives. It is so admirable how someone can put everyone else ahead of themselves, ahead of their own struggles and pain, because their relationship with you is so important to them. Relationships were important to her, and we knew it.

For the past 10 years or so, I have had an email reminder to call her every Wednesday at 11 am. And I did it more often than not. I didn’t know the impact it had until my mom started telling me that Maw-Maw Patsy told her of all of our 1 to 2 minute weekly conversations beaming with pride. She loved hearing about our lives. I realized that all those years she was working to build a lasting relationship with me were paying off. She taught me to respect the relationship she built, and I learned how important those little phone calls were. They put a smile on her face, and she knew I was thinking about her. Just like I always knew she was thinking about me.

Maw-Maw Patsy made an effort to know me, be interested in me, and involve herself in my life. I can only hope to be half the mother and grandmother she was.

My sisters part:

It was really hard to put into words how I feel about Maw Maw Patsy.  My entire lifetime was influenced by her and to put it into a few words seems like not enough.  She was one of the most selfless people that I ever have known.  She was a daughter, a sister, a mother, a grandmother and a friend who left a lasting impression on those of us who were lucky enough to know her.  She taught me, my sister, and my mom how to be better mothers and grandmothers by her example.  She started traditions with us that my mom does with our kids and that we will do with our grandkids.  She would put herself and even her pain aside to make memories with us that we will cherish forever.

Pop and Maw Maw were married for 63 years. They are a true partnership. They took care of each other and displayed what it takes to stand the test of time.  She was just a teenager when they got married and started making memories with a family right away.  Her boys were her world and then their families became an even bigger source of pride.  She truly lived to see us grandchildren grow up and she got to do it.  We have said more than once that Maw Maw had 9 lives and I even think 9 is too small of a number.  Many times she was so very ill and every time fought through because she was not done.  She wanted to see us grow and mature and start our own families, and she was there for all of it.  Just last week she saw my son crawl in her living room for the very first time.   My sister videoed it and you can hear Maw Maw in the background saying, “look at him go, he is doing it, I can’t believe it”   As happy as she was to see it, she worried that I would be upset that she saw it before me.  However, I wasn't at all disappointed, because I knew that it made her just as happy as it would have made me.  I am proud for her and now it is moment I will never forget.

My Pop is a man a few words and if you know Maw Maw you know she is not.  She didn't hesitate to tell you how she felt, share her wise advise, give you her opinion, and also let you know she loved you.  Every phone call I ever had with her as an adult ended with, “Luv you Hun, Love you too Maw Maw.”  No one intimidated her and she made sure they knew it.  Many of you saw her in her "unofficial official" referee shirt at our games over the years.  I cannot think of a more fitting title.  No one had to tell her she was boss, they knew it, we knew it, and so did she.  She was funny and feisty.  It was what we loved about her.

The memories that we all have of Maw Maw Patsy are unique and treasured by all of us in our own way.  To me she is the best role model for a grandmother that I could have ever had. Maw Maw is truly the strongest person I have ever met. She gave us as the generations who follow her something to strive to be.  Someone who can make the people in our lives feel as special as she made us feel.  She taught us what unconditional love was all about.  She has a special place in all of our hearts and we should be thankful to have known such a special lady.  If only everyone was as lucky as we were to have a Maw Maw Patsy.  We know you are watching over us and still beaming with pride at what we have become.  Thank you for making our lives far more special than they could have ever been without you.  We love you.

Looking back at what I wrote, I could add so much more. She was such a wonderful person, I really wish I had more time with her. I miss her already. 

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This was a few years ago, and there are 5 generations here! My great grandma Dorothy, Maw-maw Patsy, my dad, me and Marielle.

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