We are supposed to be celebrating another big birthday in our family this year. While I'm sure that Patty is celebrating it in style this year, as she has for the past 6 years...in heaven with Jesus and her family and friends who have also gone ahead of us, (and I'm sure it's an absolutely magnificent party)...but she will be sorely missed here on earth today.
Patty passed away on April 27, 2003, after a valiant, 2 year battle against breast cancer. Since I was just a year and a half older than her, she and I were quite close. In fact, I have another sister, Connie, who was born exactly one year and 4 days AFTER Patty was, and the three of us were all very close, and were always referred to as the "three little girls" growing up.
I come from a very large family, having 4 other sisters and 3 brothers as well...and though I dearly love all of my siblings, none were ever as close to me as Patty was. We shared a room for a few years at home...where we told each other our deepest and darkest secrets...and swore we'd never tell a soul. We giggled the nights away, or at least until Mom or Dad yelled up the stairs to be quiet. Once we were over 18, we ended up sharing an apartment along with a friend of ours. During those days, we took care of each other. If we wanted to go out, or needed groceries, and one of us didn't have any money, the other would say, "That's okay, I'll buy." We never, ever kept track of who "owed" whom. We just didn't care. As adults, she taught me a lot about Christianity...even though she was the younger sister. I always knew where to go when I needed advice and an advocate, who would be in my corner, no matter what. Even though in later years, she lived a few thousand miles away from me, she was just a phone call away.
Patty was a wonderful sister, daughter, friend, wife and mother to 11 children. Yes, 11 children. I'm praying today for her entire family, for all of her children, for their health and welfare, and that while they remember and celebrate their mother today...that they would also remember the importance of staying together as a family, and lifting up and supporting each other. Happy Heavenly Birthday, Patty!