Spring came early this year to Cleveland. In fact, it has been here for weeks if the evidence of snowdrops blooming in my garden is to be believed. So I am technically late signing on and I wish I was later, because my reasons for signing on now are not happy. I did not want to open the season this way.
I am selfish when it comes to reasoning why spring is here so early. Despite the fact that this early spring affects millions of people country wide, I am fairly egotistically certain that the reasons for this environmental anomaly stems from very personal events. For example, that because my husband is not here to keep me warm on cold nights, there have not been as many cold nights. But I know logically that Mother Nature does not make such exceptions for people like me.
My Aunt Patty died last week and was memorialized today. In this modern world of cheerful pink ribbons and triumphant 3 day walks, it is easy to believe that we have breast cancer beat. After all, almost everyone knows someone who had it and lived. So it is a shock when you find someone who gets it and does not survive, especially when that someone is someone you hold dear.
Aunt Patty was my husband’s aunt. She was the kind of woman that on paper you should hate in a typical female jealous of perfect women sort of way. In short, she was the varsity captain cheerleader of the grown-up world. She had everything… incredible looks, money, fabulous style, a happy marriage and perfect, beautiful children. To top it all off, she raised those perfect children through childhood and teenagedom in a house with an absolutely white living room. Who does that except for someone you cannot be and therefore should despise?Â Â Except you could not hate Patty. Â Not even a tiny, little iota. Because along with all of that perfection came a soul that was kind and always made you feel like you were an essential part of, not an intruder into, her perfect world. She made everyone feel like that and everyone loved her for that.
And you don’t have to believe me on that. The proof is in the roll call pudding, so to speak. Her wake and funeral were full of evidence of her life of grace and kindness. I am not exaggerating at all when I say Â there was a line out the door and down the block to get into her wake and the church (a very large church) was filled shoulder to shoulder. There are famous celebrities who have had fewer people come to mark their passing.
When I think of Patty, I will forever think of cut flowers wonderfully arranged and always beautiful. She always had them in life and was surrounded by them death as well. One could have mistaken the funeral home for an indoor garden for all the flowers that were there sent by people who were mourning her passing.
So spring came early to Cleveland this year. I think that the whole of the universe came together to make sure that my Aunt Patty got to see one more spring. No one should have to die in winter but we do not get to make that kind of choice because the world is more important than one human being. But I’d like to think that while Mother Nature cannot fulfill this for everyone, for someone as special as Patty, she made an exception.
Welcome, Spring. Goodbye, Patty. We will miss you. The world is not as bright without your smile.