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For My Aunt Pat

Sunset June 20 2010I lost my Aunt Pat today. She was a pretty amazing woman who was far ahead of her time. She was always doing things her way, right from the beginning. I remember she was a big cheek pincher, I used to hold my face every time I would see her.

When she was young she was a great swimmer and ball player. Girls certainly weren't allowed on any baseball teams, but she figured a way. She already had short hair, she cut it shorter, bound her chest and tried out for the team under the her nickname Pat. She played the whole season, wowed them all. She got caught at the beach, when diving off the pier showing off her diving talents a few of her team mates came along and saw the crowds gathering. They caught a glimpse of a girl that looked just like Pat their team mate. Yelling out her name she turned, took the dive, landing in the rocks. She was rushed to the hospital and she almost died. The way she tells the story was the worst part about the accident was the jig was up. Her team mates found out she was really Patricia.  Ah well, on to her next great adventure.

My moms familyAunt Pat became a nurse and joined the navy. She was in training in Florida and fell in love, a place she would dream about for many years, and made the move with her family when she was in her 40's. A lifelong dream to move back, I was so happy for her that she followed her dream.

A few years before the move to FL her husband  was transferred from MA where she lived to CT, so she was here for a few years too. I always think of her when I see a Red Cross vehicle. She worked for the Red Cross, on the blood mobile. It was her favorite job. She went around to all the prisons taking blood, now that was a long time ago, we don't do that anymore. She had a million funny stories to tell about her visits to the prisons, that's for sure!

Christmas with Aunt PatWhen I was young, Aunt Pat played Santa Claus at the family Christmas gatherings. We all sat on her lap and I never knew it was her. She was perfect for the part, she was on the round side and had a twinkle in her eyes.  Every time I look at the picture with me with my brother leaning against Santa it brings a flood of memories.

Aunt Pat was married to the sweetest little man ever. She was not that tall but she was more than a bit on the portly side. Uncle Felix was small. He had a brother that was a professional jockey, and he was not that much bigger than his brother. I loved Uncle Felix, he was such a sweet, kind, gentle man. They were the odd couple to be sure. Everywhere they went they made friends so easily, both of them were outgoing, fun loving, always entertaining, always smiling and laughing. Uncle Felix was always helping everyone fix things, from cars to carpentry work. He was well loved and well respected and always, always busy!

Aunt Pat and Uncle Felix had two sons, both are still alive. The oldest was born with many health problems, he had a hole in his heart. He is cognitively challenged and so is his younger brother. My aunt fought long and hard, she wanted them mainstreamed. They went to regular schools in special classes. She fought to have regular rooms assigned for learning rather than the boiler room. She was a woman quite ahead of the times. She insisted they work meaningful jobs, the oldest got a job at a Florida hospital in housekeeping and was there until he had to retire recently for health reasons. The youngest had a harder time as he was hit by a car and had some traumatic brain injury. But work they did, earning their way in life.

My cousins the gangsta boysHer life was not an easy one. From the day she came home and told her very Irish father that she was marrying an Italian boy, (my grandfather was furious to say the least) till the day she died, Aunt Pat bore all that life had to throw at her with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. She was there for me when my mom died, we were able to laugh through the tears. Aunt Pat was a realist if nothing else, and was always open and honest. I will miss that, I will miss everything about her. Hospice sent us a minister for our service for my very Roman Catholic mother. He was all of about 5 feet, wore a blue polyester lesure suit and was so off the mark my aunt laughed the whole time. At the very end he asked for people to come up and speak with her, an elderly woman with bright red lipstick smeared on her lips and face, a turban on her head and big hoop earrings came forward and sang the worst rendition of the "Our Father" I have ever heard. My aunt and I were hysterical, trying so hard not to burst out laughing, she reached over and pinched me as hard as she possibly could. She said my mother would kill us if she could, which made us laugh even more. The tears were rolling down our cheeks, I am grateful people thought we were overcome with grief. That was Aunt Pat!

So today she joins her Felix just in time for Father's Day. I am sure they are hand in hand, all earthly pain and suffering a long distance memory. I am a bit sad, this is the end of an era. I remember the day we were at her brothers funeral, they had already lost a sister a few years before. She turned to my mother and said "when did we become our old aunts"? She was remembering how she thought they were born ancient and out of touch, always called them "the old ladies". She turned to me and with a smile on her face she told me that before I knew it, I too would be one of "the old ladies". Then she told me to ride it for all it was worth! I promise I will.

Good bye Aunt Pat, I will miss you, I love you, give Uncle Felix a big hug and kiss from me. And say hello to Mom from me, after you pinch her of course.

Aunt Pat

Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate

2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors

2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor


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© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017

 Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain

Comment balloon 26 commentsAndrea Swiedler • June 20 2010 09:03PM


Hi Andrea:

Sorry to hear about your Aunt Pat.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family...

Posted by Toula Rosebrock, Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township, (Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ) over 8 years ago

Andrea: What a lovely tribute to your Aunt Pat.. THat was a great and very interesting story about her.. Sorry for your loss. 

Posted by Kathy Knight, BROKER, ABR, CRS, GRI, SFR, SRES (Intracoastal Realty Corp) over 8 years ago

Toula, thanks. She would say we could always use a few more prayers.

Kathly, she was something else. You just couldn't help but like her, that's for sure. Thank you.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 8 years ago

So sorry to hear about your Aunt Pat, Andrea. Loved the old photographs. God Bless.

Posted by Michele Miller ~ REALTOR®, LMC, HSE, CHS, SRES, CMRS, 'Helping You Make the Best Move" (ERA Key Realty~Worcester County Realty Group) over 8 years ago


I am very sorry for your loss. It sounds like your Aunt Pat was an amazing and determined woman!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 8 years ago

Andrea, must be the Irish in me...I love a good celebration.  You have celebrated your Aunt well in this post... The best of all women are "before their time".  Thank you for sharing and celebrating her life.

Posted by Deborah "Dee Dee" Garvin, C2 Financial (C2 Financial) over 8 years ago

Love the old black and whites. Mentor, one of them in your life and others lifes was Aunt Pat!

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 8 years ago

Thoughts across the miles....Pat sounds like an awesome woman....and you celebrated her life here well.

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 8 years ago

Andrea, I am so sorry for your loss.  Your Aunt Pat sounds like a wonderful woman who was way ahead of her time.  I know you will miss her. 

Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) over 8 years ago

Andrea, your Aunt Pat was an amazing woman, and I am sure she will leave a big void in your life.  I am sorry for your loss, but hopefully she has gone to a far better place than what we have here.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 8 years ago

Michele, thank you. I have a box of photos to go through this week from Aunt Pat. I want to take my time and relish each and every one.

Richard, Aunt Pat was really quite amazing. If I could only be a little bit like her...

Deborah, LOL, she loved a good celebration too. And if it was a funeral, it was to be a good Irish one. Always a smile, even while she was in so much pain. Thank you!

Andy, she told me that only once in her life did they owe any money, that was the first house they bought. After that they paid cash for any other homes, and always for cars. Didn't believe in credit cards, loans, etc. She was quite amazing all the way around and a very good mentor.

Sally, thank you, she really was very special.

Marchel, thank you so much. I know how hard she worked all her life bringing up her boys in a world who would have preferred to put them away. She was amazing.

George, thank you. I am sure she is in a far better place now, without pain, and with her Felix!

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 8 years ago

Andrea!  That is a wonderful tribute to your aunt, and sorry to hear about your loss at the same time.  She sounds like a very adventurous lady, so much life and fun.  She sounds like those you can only see in a movie or tv show.  You take care!

Posted by Rita Fong, Realtor - Marion Arkansas Homes for Sale (RE/MAX REAL ESTATE TODAY, Executive Broker 901-488-9590 ) over 8 years ago

What a sweet tribute to a remarkable woman.  How richly your life was blessed by your Aunt Pat.  So sorry for your loss, you're in my thoughts and prayers today.

Posted by Janna Scharf, Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene) over 8 years ago

Rita, thank you. She was quite the woman, and always with a smile.

Janna, thank you. Her sons need the prayers, I wish I was closer, but have a cousin who lives in FL and is there to help.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 8 years ago

Hi Andrea, so sorry you lost your Aunt Pat. She was an amazing woman and should be a role model for all of us!

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) over 8 years ago

Andrea it truly sounds like your Aunt was a beautiful person. I am sorry to hear about your loss.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 8 years ago

Andrea - Your Aunt Pat left you with many memories that will be with you forever. This story and the cherished photos are testament to a woman that knew how to live life to the fullest. Take care. I will be thinking of you and your family.

Posted by Judy Jennings, Broker - The Lanterns at Warren Woods - Ashland MA (The Green Company) over 8 years ago

Andrea, sorry for the loss of a lady that had such a strong influence on you as your were growing up. We all have an Aunt Pat or an Uncle Felix in our lives. Prayers and wishes to your family and yourself.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 8 years ago

Jackie, she was amazing. And very funny. Thank you!

Bill, awesome and way ahead of her time. Thank you.

Ed, I think we all do have one, and they are so special. Thank you.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 8 years ago

Andrea - What a wonderful story about your Aunt Pat!  It is so rare that we have a person unafraid to live so fully.  I know she will be missed by your family. . .How could she not be!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 8 years ago

Andrea..What a lovely tribute to a lovely Lady ..I am very sorry for your loss...

HelpfulHannah  your friend in Philadelphia

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) over 8 years ago

Andrea - Just a Beautiful tribute. Gotta love our old-school relatives as they pushed us to where we are. Enjoyed reading your toast to Aunt Pat. Sorry for your loss

Posted by Claude Cross, Charlotte NC Homes For Sale (Homes By Cross, Inc. ) over 8 years ago

Myrl, she was one interesting woman, always lived by her own rules. I loved her very much, thank you!

Hi Hannah, thanks so much. I will have a spot in my heart for her always.

Claude, they are amazing, aren't they? As I get older I remember more and more of what they told me about life, and they sure knew what they were talking about. Thank you!

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 8 years ago


I am so sorry for your loss.  Your tribute to your Aunt Pat is wonderful. 

Hugs to you,

Ann Hayden in Wildwood, MO

Posted by Ann Hayden, (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri) over 8 years ago

Hi Andrea ~ So sorry to hear about your aunt.  You've done such a marvelous job describing her - she sounds like a hoot - just wonderful. There are so many lines in this post that I just love and will stay with me. 


Posted by Elizabeth Bolton, Cambridge MA Realtor (RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA) over 8 years ago

Andrea-I am so so sorry about your Aunt Pat.  What a great post and as always I love the family pictures.

Posted by Debbie Walsh, Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036 (Shahar Management) over 8 years ago