In January of 1953, my sister Patsy came into the world, two weeks late and weighing nearly ten pounds. My mother delivered her in a record forty-five minutes with only a martini consumed earlier for pain relief. The first two children, my brother and I, had light brown hair and blue eyes. This third baby was to be named Jeannie, as in “I Dream of Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair.” One look at the new baby with a full head of black hair and brown eyes and that name was discarded. She was nameless for a week, and they finally named her Patricia after a friend’s daughter.

Patsy was a happy, outgoing, very social kid. She made friends easily, much more easily than I. She spent many hours at other people’s homes, deciding that the tension in our family was not typical and that she could do better. She hitchhiked through Europe after high school with a close friend, even going to Morocco. I never got to hear the details of that foolhardy trek. She went to college, finished nursing school, got a Master’s in Public Administration, and spent her working life in Kaiser Permanente as an executive.

Two years ago today she died in her sleep, the way she had hoped, after a lengthy and ultimately fatal third bout with breast cancer, a disease she endured for twelve years. I was able to FaceTime with her shortly before she died and we had a final connection of tears and laughter. She said that she would wait for me and that we would see each other again. Her faith was rock solid, and I borrowed some of it as we talked.

Losing Patsy, the only sibling I had any connection with, was a great loss. But her struggle had utterly worn her out and she was more than ready to go. Peace dear one.

28 thoughts on ““Remembering”

  1. Such a lovely and heartfelt tribute to your younger sister. I have never had siblings, so will never know the pain of that loss.
    RIP, dear Patsy. Enjoy your well-deserved rest.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  2. What beautiful memories, Elizabeth. I’m so happy that you were able to have some closure — May your fond memories of Patsy last a lifetime.


  3. Beautiful tribute and memory of a life well lived. As someone who lost two sisters to cancer, I understand too well. Bless you. May your good memories always bubble to the top.


  4. I do remember reading in a previous post about the death of your sister from breast cancer, Elizabeth. The sadness never completely goes but the terrible pain passes and you can remember the good times. My mom is a breast cancer survivor.


  5. I think it’s nice that Patsy said she’d wait for you before she passed away. My mother said the same thing to me the day before she died, which was a bit comforting to me. I also remember reading about Patsy; it sounds like she was a wonderful person and sister.


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