I don't remember the exact date, Elizabeth was only a couple of months old and I had flown with all three kids to visit my parents before school started. As customary, I made the drive north to Alabaster to visit my best friend and let our kids play together for the day. Funny, Peyton and David, although only seeing each other maybe once a year, have formed a bond and friendship that I hope will span their lifetimes just like ours, and Peyton looks forward to these visits as much as I do.
On the day we were set to visit, Tamara had an obligation arise, so Pat came up to visit with me and help watch the kids. I can't say anything spectacular happened that day, there was no feeling of the impending loss that would occur less than a year later, or deep philosophical conversations about anything in particular. Mainly, we sat on the couch together chatting. Pat cooed over Elizabeth, we both fussed at Tamara, even though she wasn't there to defend herself, about the state of the kids' rooms and we folded laundry.
Pat had been intwined in my life since second grade as my best friend's mom, but this was the first time we had spent a significant amount time together as adults. She was a little short of breath, but that was the only indication of the battle she was enduring. Just a normal day, but now one that is forever seared in my memory.
At one point, Madalyn wanted to follow the boys around the neighborhood, but Pat wouldn't let her go. She impressed upon me that I had to watch over Elizabeth more protectively since she was a girl. I can still picture Madalyn leaning into her as Pat played with her hair.
Eventually, Tamara returned and I packed up my three kids to head home. To be honest, I couldn't help when I first arrived to be a little annoyed that I wouldn't get the hours I craved to gab with my best friend, but by the end of the day, I found I had quite enjoyed myself and as Tamara often mentions, the peace that Pat exuded.
Today, Pat would have celebrated her 66th birthday, much too young to be taken from us. I know though, she's there, praying for her family and friends, cheering them on and probably still fussing over the state of her grandchildren's rooms. I love you, Mama Tew!