Better Than the Magi...

12:17 AM Elizabeth Seckman 33 Comments

Bad people make for great headlines.  We are bombarded with so much bad news that we sometimes need reminded that beautiful, wonderful souls live among us. That's why I asked Patti to stop by for the holidays. 

Guest blogger Patti Roberts

When I first met Patti, she was Ms. Roberts, my son's first grade teacher. My little Cole was a perfectionist. He would get belly aches over red ink. Patti figured that out fast, so his papers came home with big smiley faces, stickers, and words of encouragement next to corrections. I mentioned to someone how special this lady was and I was informed...I didn't know the half of it. 

Patti is a special lady, but before I say any more...I asked her to share her story...

The Last Christmas Gift

The year was 1981. I was 29 years old; my sister, Carole, was just 34. It was my seventh year of teaching. Carole had had brain surgery to remove a malignant tumor on the second of January of that year. It was not to be that all of it could be removed. The tumor grew again; the cancer also went into her bones. She was at home (where she grew up) with her four children, her parents, and me for several months.

 In the early morning on the first Monday of October she had a seizure caused by the pressure of the returned tumor on her brain. The jerking, along with the cancer, caused her shoulder to break. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital where she was then transferred to OVMC. Surgery was performed on her shoulder. She stayed there until Dr. Rik Suyao made arrangements for her to be transferred to Wetzel County Hospital where he would oversee her chemo therapy and where she was close to family and friends. 

It was a time period that the wearing of gold chains was popular. With four children Carole could not see spending the money on herself for something as frivolous as a gold necklace. I had a job and a Kaufman's charge card. I was at the mall one day in October and decided that she would have her gold chain. I bought it and gave it to her early-near Halloween. I told her that it was her early Christmas gift...that I was too excited to wait until Christmas. When really I did not know how long she had left. I put it on her; it looked very pretty. She really liked it. A few days later her children and I added a charm holder and four birthstone booties to the chain. She was so very pleased with it and wore it with pride. It wasn't too long though that the chain made a rash on her neck, and it had to be removed. It could have been caused by the foreign chemicals in her body. 

 The days passed; she did not get better. Her condition worsened. We all knew it would be her last Christmas. The entire community pitched in to make this a good Christmas for her and her children. Dr. Rik told her that she could go home and make one trip to town to Christmas shop. We had a hospital bed for her, but her pain was too great. The morphine pills could not control it; she needed it by injection or IV. She went back to the hospital after only being home for 12 hours. She was more at ease there...where people could care for her easier...where she thought that she was not a burden on her family...where her pain could be controlled. 

 We celebrated Christmas there with her by decorating her room although she really did not realize it as she was always under the influence of her strong pain medication. Christmas Day came and went. We knew the end was very near. We said our good-byes to her. On December 29th at 7:32 pm she took her last breath when Jesus reached for her hand. The next day I took her gold chain with the charm holder and booties to Mrs. Ratcliffe at the funeral home so it could be placed around Carole's neck. It was buried with her. 

 It was my last Christmas gift to her.

What Patti didn't add...she raised those four kids. For years she worked two jobs: teacher during day; retail manager in the evening. She's retired now, but she's still the surrogate mom and grandma. She is the kind of person who steps up...to give,  to serve, and put others above herself. 
Guest blogger, Patti with five of her sister's grandchildren.
(Now she's a Great Aunt!)
Front row:Piper, Sydney, Patti, and Laney.
Back row: Avery and Colson
And since Christmas is a time for sharing, I thought Patti's story was perfect. Thanks Patti for stopping by and proving there is still much right in this world. 

Merry Christmas...and Happy 2013 :)


33 comments:

  1. What a beautiful, yet so sad, story, Elizabeth. Patti sounds like the most beautiful person and I totally understand why you wanted to share her story with us at this time of year.
    Merry Christmas to you and to Patti.
    x

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    1. Thanks Suzy. Merry Christmas to you too. :)

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    2. I just want to say that I don't know Patti personally, and we just became Euchre Playing partners within the past two weeks. I know from talking with Patti online that she is a wonderful person, and she did tell me about the kids that she raised. Patti I just want to personally say "THANK YOU" for being my friend and sharing this story with me. You truly are an angel sent down from heaven.

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  2. Patti does have a huge giving heart. Perfect story for Christmas. Congratulations to both. :)

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    1. She does have a big heart, and I'm guessing wings to keep it easy to carry.

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  3. Hey,

    I bet Carole is looking down and smiling if Patti is squirming with the Kudos being sent her way.

    Thanks for sharing, Liz. It's 2:46 a.m. over here and I needed a positive story about good people to end a long day.

    Merry Christmas to the Seckmans and the Roberts family, too :)

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    1. Merry Christmas to the Koopmans too. Hope you don't have any more long nights.

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  4. Patti was a blessing to her sister's kids!
    Have a wonderful Christmas.

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    1. Yes she was. I think they know what a special aunt they have.
      You have a Merry Christmas too.

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  5. This was so touching. I almost cried. Yes Liz amongst all the bad news out there you brought both heart and cheer today. Thank you.

    And a special thank you to Patti for being such a wonderful person and for gracing us readers with your presence.

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    1. We can always find the good among the bad, if only we look.

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  6. That was a great post. Thanks for sharing an uplifting story and message at a time most needed. :)

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    1. Thanks David. I know I was feeling pretty hopeless about humanity, but then I think of people like Patti and I am reminded that there are more good than bad.

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  7. A lovely story and beautiful reminder of love and selflessness. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. My pleasure Julie. And you said it right, it's selflessness. The world could use more of it.

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  8. What an amazing story--sad, but beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I have to go blow my nose now.

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    1. It is an amazing story about an amazing lady.

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  9. that was such a great story, thanks for taking the time to write about it and share it with us!

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    1. It was my pleasure to have Patti stop by. She is someone to look up to.

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  10. What a wonderful woman Patti is. And a lovely warm story to share.

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  11. awwww, way to make us cry. Those are lucky kids to have such a terrific aunt.

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    1. Sorry for the cry. Didn't want it to be a downer, but a reminder that there are people who are selfless and good. :)

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  12. What a touching, sad story. I'm glad I read about Patti's giving nature.

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    1. We will never have life without loss, but we can turn grief to triumph if we do the right thing.

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  13. Many thanks to linking in to my Countdown to Kitschmas.

    Cheers to a fab New Year!

    thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

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  14. Patti is an amazing person, it seems to me! I can't imagine losing a sibling that young. Then again I can't imagine it ever!

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    1. It's hard. It's like losing part of yourself, but focusing on what's important pulls a body through.

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  15. What an inspiring story of Patti. And also so sad.

    Wishing you a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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    1. Same to you Nas! I hope 2013 is a great year for you!

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  16. beautiful story. out of sadness, inspiration. thanks for sharing it!

    happy new year!

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    1. I find it very inspirational. Out of bad, good people can make positive things happen.

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