Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Speaking Out

This is the statement I made at Pat's Funeral:

As one of the seven from the Estes-Richer clan, I was invited to speak about Grandma Pat – but this may be a shocker – there isn’t a whole lot I can say that you don’t already know about this amazing woman.

Working in DC – I deal with quite a few hobnobbers. They have the cars, the bling, and in this economy – they still have their homes – but the one thing they don’t have is class. Pat had this in abundance. Class is making the people around you feel special. It’s bringing out the best in them – just by being around them. Grandma Pat is one of the few people who rocked this everyday. Just look around – we’re a classy bunch. Pat brought us together and made us look good.

When Dad met his soul mate a few years back – we merged the two families. That can be tricky. I’m sure you all have heard a few horror stories yourself. The four Richer kids are a tough nut to crack. But Pat jumped right in.

I can still remember the first time we met Pat. Walking into the house she shouted across the room, transcending the chaos that is our family to introduce herself. “You must be Jen – you’re the white one.” She had already met the dark one – my sister who has the advantage of tropical sun 12 months out of the year.
Done and Done, the deal was sealed. I found a kindred spirit – a fellow loudmouth. It didn’t stop there – from that point on we were treated as her own. Not a birthday went by without a card from Grandma and Grandpa. And those “no presents please” Christmas' resulted in two trees and five hour unwrapping sessions. Whenever Kim and I were catching up on the phone and Grandma Pat was within a five mile radius she was there grabbing the phone genuinely concerned with how I was doing. And this was by no means exclusive treatment. She did this with everyone. Look around there are at least a hundred of you she did this for – how exhausting.

On the flight here I finally saw the film Marley and Me. It’s about the relationship between a columnist, his family and an adorable Lab. At the end of the movie the newspaper man describes the impact the dog had on the family. He asks the audience how many people do you know that love you like Marley – completely, unconditionally and make you feel that special. Well I can confidently answer on behalf of my siblings; Grandma Pat did.

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