The Saints who walk among us
When we think of Saints with a capital “S”, we immediately think of very pious people who may even have done miracles. How about all other people who may be amongst us doing unbelievable selfless things?
One of them left us in May this year. My friend Patti was such an incredible selfless person. It is really hard for me to actually believe that she is gone. The very day I first met her in 2005 she made such a positive impression. It was our first day at evening college and I was getting to the university late. I had had an accident where someone unfamiliar with driving a stick shift car “bumped” into the back of my car. Patti was always so prepared for everything. She had headache medicine ready to go for me when I finally made it to our class..
In class she watched out for me. That was a great help especially since English is not my first language. Whenever I had mustered my signature screensaver look (e.g. clueless) she knew exactly how to help me. Sure, I would look out for her as well whenever I could. Being on the same working team together with her was always fun and you would know that the project would get done and it would get done 100%. Even my wife called her my college wife because we were that close working on assignments.
Another thing that always impressed me was how she used to volunteer cooking at a local shelter. Looking at her no one would have guessed that this was something that she would do. How many people do you know take time out of their busy schedules to actively do this for disadvantaged people?
While she was always concerned about doing a great job at work (she did nothing below a 100%), she was always very worried about family. Her husband Ben was always a great concern of hers. His health had its ups and downs and she was always there with good deeds and prayers. Her son probably was her biggest worry. I fondly remember how often we would talk in the parking lot after class about him and his future as well as his relationship with her. She was proud of him and loved him unconditionally no matter what happened. She had a really great relationship with her daughter. That made it really tough watching her being worried about not being there for her daughter’s wedding. Her cancer was moving fast. In the end she did not live long enough to be part of the wedding.
Closer to the end I had an opportunity driving her to a chemo treatment in Philly. Watching her do work on her laptop just to make sure work would go on was incredible. Even more heartbreaking was how she made sure that the nurses assigned to administering the treatments were ok and did not need anything. Was it not normally supposed to be the other way around?
Another thing I will truly miss is her uncanny ability getting all of our college cohort friends together at our usual water hole called McKensy’s. Whenever she would invite people they showed up and we had a grand old time. Boy, am I missing my old friend and her wit, laughter, and most of all her big heart.
She may not deserve the capital “S” in saint, but she ranks way up there. She and her family will be in my prayers tonight and I am forever grateful for having had the privilege of knowing her.
How many people do you have whom you look up to for inspiration? If they are among the living please make your gratitude known to them while you have the chance.