Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This morning at daybreak I lost my beloved sister-in-law Patty to a vicious and unrelenting bout of breast cancer. Three years ago she was sitting at her computer when she felt a lump under her arm...

Patty's life at 49 was fuller and more complete than most octogenarians I've met. She raised four beautiful children, who tragically she will never get to see long into their adult years (two sons and two daughters, ranging in age from 14-20).

The first time I met Patty, I'd gone home with my future husband for the first time for Easter. His family is huge, and I was overwhelmed. It's hard at this stage of insomnia to roll out the whole exchange of our forged friendship, but speckles of phrases sound like this: A Fine Balance; mixed china at my wedding in the Pre-Revolutionary barn she renovated with her husband of nearly three decades; New York City girls night which ended up as New York City stay in night with pajamas, Pride and Prejudice, and her two gorgeous daughters; a constant admiration for her boundless energy; her kitchen which oozed effortlessness and feasts, simultaneously; my confidant; my political twin; the older sister I never had; her wanderlust; her complete rounded life of selfless and often private volunteerism; the chickens she raised; the love and understanding she showed my son; the way she flapped her hands before she cried because she was so often moved to tears.

I have the rest of my life to be sad; for now maybe I'll try to focus on celebrating her and all she left behind. It reaches far and wide.


  1. I'm so sorry, Rachel, Jim & Jamie. I completely understand the loss of a dear loved one to cancer. Peace.

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  3. Poetic and sad-thank you for sharing your story.