Condolence & Memory Journal

I've been away from home for many years, but Aunt Patti, Steve, Cyndi, and Uncle John were so vital a part of my young life that I can't possibly relate here the wealth of happy memories that we shared and that shaped my character. Because Steve and I are almost the same age, he and I spent nearly all the years of our youth hanging out together. Patti, with her impish sense of humor, consistently managed to put a hilarious spin on our escapades. She had a sharp wit and a uniquely funny laugh. She was a smart woman and she wasn't shy about sharing her opinions. I was always welcome at John and Patti's dinner table a treat that I shamelessly exploited every Saturday night when, as a teenager, I ritually visited Steve to watch campy late-night Sci-Fi movies on TV.

When Steve and I were preschoolers, we didn't always get along and I was grateful more than once for Aunt Patti's sense of fairness. On my fifth birthday, my folks invited family and friends to share company, snacks, and chocolate birthday cake (my favorite). I was traumatized when Steve walked over to my tray table, looked me deadpan in the face, and before I could react, he reached over to my plate with one hand, grabbed my whole serving of chocolate cake and packed the whole thing at once in his mouth while still staring me in the face. I screamed like a Banshee and Aunt Patti almost instantly materialized, figured out what happened, lifted Steve off the ground by one of his arms and smacked his keester repeatedly whilst storming up the cellar stairs to take him home. Stevie laughed at her the whole time, but that was his sinister way. Thank you forever, Aunt Patti!

When I allow myself dwell on the things that I've missed about being away from home, not being around to hang out with Aunt Patti, Steve, Cyndi, and Uncle John is one of the things that stings the most. May God bless you all and deliver you from heartache.

Posted by Paul Helfenstein - Ithaca, NY - Family   September 04, 2019

Candle

Patti was a large part of my life growing up and is unforgettable to me. I cherish the times I spent visiting and the weekend sleep-overs at her house. My brother Paul would spend most of his time with Steve and Cindy would spend time with her girlfriends. Patti was fun-loving, she would spend time with me, playing games/cards, planting flowers, watching TV and cooking. In recent years, she would check-up on me to make sure I was OK in California with earthquakes and fires. Karen would exchange gardening/flower pictures between us. It made me happy to know we still had that in common.

As an adult, I can appreciate how she took time being involved with me when I was young...something we all should do, give time to other family members. I fear this family-trait is being lost since some of us move away, become self-absorbed and the elders pass.

For those family members thinking of moving or leaving to another state, learn from my mistake: It's not easy living away from the unconditional love and support of your family. You end up missing-out on what really gives meaning to life, YOUR FAMILY and enjoying each other while they are still around. Every time an elder passes, like Patti, a part of me dies and I'm not around to give/receive support. The weather might be nicer and the salaries higher elsewhere, but the cost of what you are giving up is far greater.

In this time of grief, let's not overlook how blessed we are to have great family memories and the loving family we do. Remember the elders, like Patti, who helped mold us into the people we are today. I'm a better man for having Patti in my life and although my heart is filled with sadness, I'm somewhat consoled knowing some of her traits live within me, my kids and others in the family.

My thoughts, prayers and much love go out to all of you. God bless.

p.s...Patti, if you are reading this, thank you for everything. You will always be a part of my heart. I Love You!

Posted by David Helfenstein - CA - Family   August 29, 2019

We are sorry for your loss! God bless you all in this time. Love Mark and Trisha

Posted by Mark Washburn - Winter Garden, FL - Family   August 29, 2019