“Step up and be someone you want to be” – Miss Pat
A woman of stature, Miss Pat (as I have always known her) beams her light into every room she walks within. She is the first grandmother to be interviewed by me because she is kind, she is familiar and she is patient as I tread along this new path. She has known me since I was in high school and she (and her husband) were one of the few people who sent my mother a card when she was dying of pancreatic cancer.
She holds a special place in my heart, always. I want to honor her in the only way I know how – through words, through a small piece of her story – and open the door for you to know the power of the matriarch, strong with love, changed and changing as she grows older along with us too.
Our video call lasted a few hours. It was filled with laughter and joy and sorrow and tears…and triumph. And that’s the story I choose to tell you today. Her story of victory from the humbleness and wisdom to get on her knees to ask the Divine a single question.
“Since I was 20 years old I’ve never been on my own. I became a wife then a mother and helper and then a caregiver when my husband became ill with cancer. Women go through many stages, but a caregiver to my husband was something I didn’t expect. It changed me.”
“I was in a rough time of my life in the past few years. I was more concerned with what others wanted me to be. I was on a merry-go-round and I couldn’t get off. I wasn’t receiving and was keeping busy. The kind of busy where you’re just distracted with your children, your grandchildren, your friends, your everyone but you. I couldn’t keep going that way. I wanted everything for everyone and was helping, but I wasn’t taking time. Lord, I knew I needed to get off that merry-go-round…
One day when I was sitting in church I asked God ‘Who am I right now? Show me who ME is. Show me who You created me to be.’
I asked God to show me from the inside out…but when you ask, you better get ready for the answer – He ain’t playin’ with you.
I had to learn to tell people no…and it was a hard lesson. If I was confused or felt guilt, I would stop and ask God ‘show me when to say no and when to say yes’ each time someone would ask me for help. I stood up for myself and stopped caring what a person may think. It was a tough love to learn but it was filled with love and compassion.
I began to be still and enjoy myself.
I changed my hair. I started wearing bright colors full of light and are joyous. They make me feel alive.
Now I say, ‘THIS IS PAT and I like me.’
You see, I didn’t want to live the life of other people anymore. I know I’m still learning at 65 and every day I should be learning because life is a journey, but as long as I have given my best and done what I can – that’s all that can ever be asked of me…”