And yeah, she it pretty damn good for 85, which she turned today.
She’s an amazing woman who inspires me every day with her courage, determination, and ability to prevail.
(She also drives me crazy on occasion!)
Until recently, I wished she could see me more clearly. But I’ve come to terms with her incapacity to do so, and, as a result, discovered unconditional love. What a priceless gift.
I’m grateful to her for being such an inspiring role model, I couldn’t have asked for better.
Like most of us, Patti faced tough life challenges.
She didn’t finish high school because she and her elder sister Jean both had to go to work to help support the family. Nevertheless, she became a highly respected and successful real estate agent who was (and still is) beloved by a wide circle of friends and the community to which she contributed selflessly.
Even in rough patches, Mom fully engaged life. Always. She’s been knocked down more than once: she lost two unborn children, almost died of pneumonia, and faced financial ruin as a result of my father’s addiction to gambling in the stock market.
She got up, dusted herself off, and kept going. She simply does not give up. If and when she got lost, she improvised, just as she does in the video below. Her connection to life is truly awe inspiring. I adore her energy, and am so thankful for it.
For last eight years or so, Pinkie Patti has lived with Alzheimer’s disease. It is an excruciatingly difficult journey for her, for me, and for the rest of her family.
The disease didn’t stop her from speaking her mind (even though it was slipping away), to the government of Iran here, here, and here in 2009. Nor did it prevent her from loving Danny Boy, or dancing with bears, being Irish on St Patrick’s Day, or wishing the world were a more peaceful place.
My Mom Patti created a beautiful life for herself, and she helped me do the same.
Now, her feisty nature has resulted in her being medicated into compliance, in an Alzheimer’s version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. She spends a good part of each day in a drug-induced slumber or stupor. If she knew, she would be wild.
(I abhor what is happening to her, and I’m doing everything in my power to ensure she can be awake and aware instead of asleep as long as possible. I may or may not succeed; but, like her, I will fight the good fight.)
But even anti-psychotics cannot quash Mom’s indomitable spirit. When she’s awake, Patti is feistier than ever, and she and I make the most of lucid moments.
True, she can’t dance quite like she did with me in 2008 when we celebrated her 80th birthday.
That summer we danced everywhere, including in the rain.
Now she kinda’ shuffles and sways, and that’s okay.
She’s still “movin'” as she would say.
And she still sings.
Oh yes. She still sings.