My dear dear friend Ralph lost his mom last week, and I went out to Chicago (I use the term loosely as his parents had retired to a town called Huntley, which Ralph tells me is the Algonquin word for “way the fuck out there”). Ralph has not lost his sense of humor.
It’s hard to lose a parent at any time. As we age, it means there is no longer a layer of a generation separating us from being elderly ourselves, or separating us from death. It’s a little shocking to look around and all of the sudden realize you are, in essence, the head of the family. I saw this with Ralph this week past. His father, elderly and defeated, his mother now gone and Ralph as oldest son stepped up to his new position as de facto head of the family with grace and strength.
Patricia M Walton was a loving wife and mother and a doting grandmother. Never one to dwell on the past, she looked to the future with strength and optimism. She always looked on the bright side, had a positive outlook, and kept smiling right up to the very end.
In 1958 Pat married Ralph S Walton and became a mother first on August 12, 1964 when Ralph V was born and on April 22, 1969 when Patrick was born. On July 12, 1997 she became a mother again when Eva Venus joined the family upon marrying Patrick. “Pat” became “Grandma Pat” when Ryan was born on January 24, 2002 and again on April 17, 2008 when Elizabeth was born.
Pat worked for several companies, including Garcy Corporation, NBC, Continental Bank, and American National Bank, from which she retired in 1994. When not keeping the rest of the family in line she could be found gardening, reading, working crossword puzzles, watching over the neighborhood children, and feeding birds, squirrels, and various stray animals. The world was Pat’s family and it is a better place for it.
In keeping with Pat’s focus on the future, we are comforted in the fact that she lives on in everyone she has touched. She is still with us in spirit, just not in body.
My heart went out to him as I was able to welcome him into a club I wish I did not even know existed, The Motherless. Sure, when you’re forty-something it sounds overly dramatic but no matter the disfunction(s) of our families, no matter our age, we love our parents and grieve them.
Now… if someone would just get married! It would be way more fun to get together for a wedding and not another funeral.