When I started this blog I said I was going to be real. Everything isn't always wonderful... sometimes things just really really suck. This is real life, and there's something I've been going through lately and I feel compelled to share it.
Those of you who personally know me, know that we lost my aunt to cancer over a week ago. She had been fighting the battle for a very long time, and a few months ago she told us there was nothing else the doctors could do.
It still doesn't feel like she's gone, because she left such a lasting impression on my life. I often hear her voice in my head, laughing at something silly I did. Just like I do with my own mom, grandmother, and husband. I also do with her.
Her memorial service was very nice. It hit me like a ton of bricks as I walked into the sanctuary and saw the slideshow. I held on to my daughter tight, and proceeded to cry my eyes out. In that moment, I didn't care who was watching.
I've never been much of a public speaker... but something came over me this past week, and I knew that I had to speak at her memorial service. I didn't have anything written down when my uncle asked me if I wanted to speak, but with a few nudges from my sweet husband, I agreed to do it. He said I'd regret it if I didn't, and he was right. Traveling with a toddler isn't easy; the time I thought I'd get on the plane or in the condo to write my thoughts and memories down didn't happen.
An hour or so before the memorial service, we went to grab lunch with some of the family and my mom took the wild child for a little while. I sat in peace, for about ten minutes, and wrote. Later in the service, I got on stage and spoke.
It wasn't perfect. I stumbled a few words and ad libbed here and there. And there was so much more I wanted to say. So many more stories I wanted to share. But I felt this wave of joy come over me as I spoke about her --- as if she were there with me. There's no other way to explain it than that. I'm proud of myself. I'm proud that I overcame a fear of mine in a way I would have never imagined. All I wanted to do was make Patti proud. I think she would have been proud of me for speaking during such a difficult time for all of us.
Her one big request was that everyone would eat cake, lots of cake! So we did that!
This has been a long journey for all of our family. The last thing Patti ever would have ever wanted was for people to be inconvenienced or feel sad. But the problem is... this WAS sad. A world without Patti Jo IS SAD. But as I stood there at the service, hugging her daughter tight as we cried, I could hear her voice and see her face doing that smirk she always did, saying "Oh you guys! Don't do that!" --- and for a moment, I found comfort.
I'll be honest. Today has been really hard. I can't stop thinking about her.
Her final months were difficult; for her, her kids, her husband, and the rest of her family. We all rejoice that she is in peace.
Now it's time for us to heal.
SIDE NOTE: I keep getting questions and comments about why/how I brought my daughter all the way up to Maryland during such a hard time for the funeral. Patti loved Emaline so very much and would tell me how she would "give her hope" (because of all that Em has overcome).That is huge coming from someone who inspires so many other people! Patti helped me decorate her nursery, and was very involved (as much as she could be) in all things Emaline in the past year. I really couldn't imagine not having her there with me. A major shoutout needs to go to my husband for being my rock through this whole thing and entertaining our toddler all weekend because no, it was NOT easy. And yes, I am exhausted.