Maybe about a month ago I learned that a dear friend of mine had cancer and had been given a short amount of time in which to live. Patty was maybe in her late fifties (she has kids my age) and we had gotten to know each other well when we served together in our ward Primary presidency. She was my secretary and she was amazing. About halfway through our time in Virginia, her husband was made the Bishop and so then I was able to work with him as well. Patty was tireless and thoughtful and such a huge support for me and I navigated my first calling as a President of an organization AND had a baby AND worked through the stress of Chopper's injury and job loss and eventual move here to Texas. She was the only one who came to help me clean on the day the movers came -- probably because I said I didn't need any help when really I did! She told me stories about herself and her life that I treasure.
I found out about the cancer through her daughter, who posted online what was happening and looking for "submissions" for a memory book for Patty. It hit me really hard. In addition to being sensitive to these kinds of things lately, well, Patty is the first person that I'm really close to who has died unexpectedly. Unplanned. And not because they're old. Today I found out that she passed away earlier this week and it has hit me hard again. A wonderful blessing has come my way though -- I'm leaving tomorrow night to go to Utah for a few days (without kids wahoo!!) for my Grandmother's 90th birthday and I'll be able to go to her funeral!!!!! I'm just happy to have this opportunity to say good-bye.
Bishop Rich posted the whole story on Facebook so I've debated whether or not to repost it here and ultimately I don't think I will. It is his and Patty's story and he has chosen to share it with so many and I think its definitely ok to tell people but I don't think I want to share it here. But it is a story that practically screams about how much the Lord loves us individually, is mindful of us, and knows how to bless us even when we don't recognize the blessings or his care for us for ourselves. I struggle to remember every day that the Lord loves me and keep Aaron's death in that framework and Patty's story is a wonderful testimony to me of that. If you want to know the details, I'm more than happy to share!!