She gave us big hugs, smiled at us as we said, “See you at Christmastime!” and waved as we pulled away to make our flight. I can see her smiling and waving in the sunshine with our other family members. We didn’t know that was the last time we got to see Aunt Tricia in person; she passed away from cancer at the end of August. We are so thankful we got to see her when we went in June to my husband’s 20th high school class reunion! She got to snuggle our son, try to get him to fall asleep, hold him while his Aunty Lindsey made him laugh.
We returned to California for Aunt Tricia’s memorial service and celebration of life in September. Hearing stories about her made me thankful I got to know her and wish I could have had more time with her. I didn’t know that she was a huge pro-life advocate, prayed outside of abortion clinics; I wish I had talked with her about that. I knew she loved babies, but I didn’t know how much!
I’m thankful that we went to California as often as we have over the last four years. I first met Aunty Tricia when Stephen took me to California to meet his family two months after we started dating. I met her on Christmas Day at the family prime rib dinner.
My husband and Tricia loved to tell the stories about how he would lovingly call her “Aunty Stinky-Booger,” and how when she would babysit him, she would keep him up so late. She hoped he would sleep late, but NO—Tricia would say, “There would be this little blond head coming up to my bed saying, “I want some breakfast!” She had this high, squeaky, fun laugh that we miss hearing.
When she worked at a high-end grocery store in the Napa Valley, we would go visit her, and especially our last visit to see her, we had fun. She let us taste any cheese we wanted at the cheese counter, then we moved to the meats, olives, gelato, and even some licorice!
She fiercely loved her sons, her nephews, and her great-nephews.
After we told her we were having a baby, she was so excited!! She bought us some cute newborn clothes and these tiny socks that looked like shoes. One of the outfits was gray with a little crab on it, and it had a hat that had little crab eyes on it. Joel was so big as a newborn that he only wore it once, but he was sure cute!
I would text her photos of Joel on Sundays for many months.
Tricia met Joel on June 23rd, 2018. She wasn’t feeling well, so she came late to the gathering, and she was more subdued than I thought she would be, but she enjoyed holding him as he watched his cousins on the trampoline. We talked then, and she told me her doctor told her to work on her health, so she was trying the keto diet. (She sneaked a bit of a brownie).
Tricia seemed more normal when she came over later in the week. She told us about her new job, and how she was trying to convince a coworker not to have an abortion…it was a side of Tricia that I didn’t know. She held Joel for a while, while his Aunty Lindsey made him laugh. Then they both tried to get him to fall asleep, and they almost did!
We got to FaceTime a couple of times with Tricia when she was in the hospital, and even though her health was failing, she was the same wonderful person.
She would have loved her funeral Mass and the celebration of life that her family planned to celebrate her—with white and pink flowers, appetizers, and lots of talking. Here’s a photo that the cousins took all together:
She will be missed—her teasing, silliness, cheese samples, and especially her love. I guess God needed her up in heaven to snuggle all those babies up there and peek over the belcony to keep an eye on all of us.
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