Last week I was asked to write a memorial for my dear Aunt Patsy who passed away. Yesterday was her memorial service. Aunt Patsy was a God Sighting. I am very grateful for the times I had with her. This one is for Aunt Patsy and all the forces to be reckoned with out there. May the forces live on in us all!
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4
Who was Patsy Anderson? The first thing that comes to mind is her undying love for her adoring husband of 51 years, Charles (Buddy) Anderson. Patsy was a wife.
Patsy had three children whom she loved and adored. She was very proud of her older son, Charles Anderson Junior; and she loved Charles’ wife, her daughter-in-law, Gwen Anderson. Debby Willing (Anderson) was Patsy’s daughter and best friend. Debby passed away in 1998. Christopher Anderson was Patsy’s precious younger son. Christopher passed away in 1978. Patsy was a mother.
Pasty adored her grandchildren: Jill (Willing) Free, Robby Willing, Melanie Anderson, and Sarah (Anderson) Chismar. Patsy was also blessed with great-grandchildren: Jordan Willing, Ryan Willing, Zach Free, Adam Free, and Ben Chismar. Patsy was also blessed enough to become a Great-Great Grandmother to Sophia Lynn. Patsy was very proud to be one of the seven sisters: Alma Grant, Bonnie Kinley, Marilyn Durham, Dorothy Thompson, Carolyn Grant, and Cynthia Huegen. Patsy also loved her two brothers: Laverne Smith and Herbert Smith. She had many loving cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends. Patsy was a sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great grandmother, a cousin, an aunt, and a friend.
Patsy’s home-town was Johnston City, Illinois. But her heart also belonged to Saint Charles, Illinois, where she lived with her husband and kids for 37 years. Patsy was an active member, treasurer, and president of the women’s auxiliary for the Saint Charles VFW Post 5036. She was retired from the Kane County Sheriff’s office, a job she loved. Patsy was a proud member of The Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in Saint Charles.
Patsy Anderson was my Aunt Patsy. When I was asked to write something in memory of her, my first reaction was to say no. To limit who she was to words on paper almost seemed a disservice to her. Aunt Patsy was a force to be reckoned with.
When thinking about how to describe Aunt Patsy, “a force to be reckoned with” kept coming to my mind! I didn’t know why and wasn’t even sure what the phrase meant, so I looked up the meaning of “a force to be reckoned with”. In the Cambridge Dictionary, it says: “Someone or something to be reckoned with is difficult to deal with because that person or thing is strong or powerful…” I had to laugh out loud. THAT is my Aunt Patsy.
Her sense of humor was part of this force to be reckoned with. Some of my best memories as a kid were Aunt Patsy and my mom laughing. I will never buy pillows without thinking of the windy day she and my mom bought pillows from Speis Department Store in Saint Charles. We reached the parking lot, and the wind blew the pillows away. Aunt Patsy and my mom were laughing so hard, they could barely chase down the pillows. The laughter was contagious.
Aunt Patsy’s force to be reckoned with attracted about a million friends into her life. People would light up when she entered the room. Whether that would be her friends in Florida, her friends at the VFW, her friends at the sheriff’s office, her family, or the guy who fixed her computer. She was loved by so many people, and this was a force she carried with her.
I believe Aunt Patsy was probably BORN a force to be reckoned with. Her mom, Opal Smith, called her Lucy, and for good reason. I have heard and experienced many Lucy stories about Aunt Patsy, and I know many people would have some to add, especially her sisters. There was never a dull moment with her around. This force she also carried.
I also believe there are REASONS why Aunt Patsy was born with this force to be reckoned with. She lost her son, Christopher, in a tragic accident when he was 13 years old. This force Patsy possessed helped her through this tragedy. Most marriages would not have survived such a loss. But Patsy and Buddy Anderson’s love for each other was too strong a force to be reckoned with.
This is not to say it was easy. It wasn’t. One time Aunt Patsy told me that a minister at Baker Church in Saint Charles wanted her to talk with other families who had experienced the loss of a child. Aunt Patsy felt she wasn’t the person to do this. I can still hear her voice ringing in my head saying: “How can we help them when we are barely holding on ourselves?”
Looking back at that statement, I think we all know what she meant. I think a part of us is always barely holding on. Life does not seem fair. But it is the forces to be reckoned with that make it bearable and even delightful. It is the faith of the strong ones. It is the memory of their power.
The forces to be reckoned with that Patsy Anderson possessed help us to find joy and love everyday. These forces remind us to look at people and smile. These forces comfort us, make us brave, and tell us we can handle loss. These forces remind us to love our families, children, and spouses with all of our hearts and souls. These forces remind us to enjoy life, lie at the pool, and get a tan.
Thank you Aunt Patsy for the forces you brought with you to this earth. They are now a part of all of us. We will treasure these forces to be reckoned with as we make them our own. We will remember them and carry them with us always.
Patsy Anderson was so much more than the sum of the roles she played here on this earth. She was an aunt, a mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, cousin, and friend to us all.
But her spirit was too strong a force to be reckoned with. And thank God for that. Her spirit did not die. Her spirit cannot be destroyed. It lives on in all of us. It is in the wind, the rain, the stars, and the sky. It is in the flowers, the snow, and the trees. The forces of her spirit are what we truly loved. Although her body is no longer with us, her spirit reigns in our hearts forever. And that, Aunt Patsy, is a gift too precious for words.
Thank you and we love you.
Peace, Love, and Forces to be Reckoned With,
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