Recently, our family lost our dear Aunt Patricia Hillis. Last Saturday night, at the age of 83, the Lord took her home to be with him. On Thursday, many of our family gathered at St. Columban Church in Birmingham, MI, to say good-bye, and Beth and I were incredibly honored to read the Prayers of the Faithful at her funeral mass. There is definitely a hole in our solid and loving family with her passing.
Even though she was our aunt by marriage to our mom's brother, Elmo, she was a Hillis "sister" long before Beth and I showed up on the scene. Every birthday, even in the most recent years when her health was declining, a thoughtful card arrived with a lovely handwritten sentiment. She was a woman who understood the power of the written word. You see, Aunt Pat was a product of the Greatest Generation, and while Uncle Elmo served our country in Europe during WWII, they corresponded regularly through letters. On the last night of her life when it was obvious that the end was near and the last rites had been administered, Aunt Pat's daughter (our cousin Peg) pulled out these precious letters and read them aloud to her mother. Imagine leaving this world, headed for heaven to the husband that you lost so long ago, and listening to your firstborn child reading those beautiful words from so long ago. What a way to go!
Yes, Aunt Pat will be missed. Her daughters Peggy and Cathy already feel her absence in their everyday lives. And we, those she left behind, will forever cherish what a special woman she was to each and every one of us.