Thursday, August 24, 2017

Marilyn Sue Patterson

My sweet grandmother, Marilyn Sue Patterson, passed away on March 16th, 2014. She was diagnosed with breast cancer about six months prior and decided not to pursue medical treatments aside from some holistic approaches. She had watched her husband, my Papa, battle cancer for nine years before it took his life and she didn't want to experience that again. I had a really hard time accepting all of this. Quite frankly, I was just to selfish to understand. I wanted her here on Earth with me. But she had already lived six plus years without my Papa and honestly, I think she was ready to be reunited with him. What I would give to go back in time and tell her I understand.

I lovingly called her "Branny" my entire life. When I was young, I couldn't say "Granny" like the rest of the grandkids, and it just kind of stuck. My Branny lived a beautiful life. She had a tough upbringing and always said my Papa rescued her from a hard childhood. They met when she was just 13-years-old in Pine, Arizona. She married him at 16 and raised five children. She was crafty, the BEST cook, and a celebrator of all holidays/birthdays/anything you were interested in at the moment. She championed my every interest. When my brother and I were too young to go to school yet both of my parents were working, my Branny would take care of us. I realize just how fortunate we were to have a grandparent like her watch and teach us. She was the ideal grandmother. I have the fondest memories of visiting her in Pine. She would cook anything we wanted and then tuck us into bed at night, by tickling our backs and telling us stories until we'd fall asleep. She was a strong woman full of faith, love, and kindness. She loved people and remembered the details of others' lives. She always wanted you to feel important. My Branny loved a good party. I remember her working the room at our wedding reception and open house in California. She was at all of my major milestones. You wanted her on your team because she was a force to be reckoned with. This is a woman who picked out her own casket so her children would not have to make that decision once she was gone. She always thought of others before herself. We learned after she died that the breast cancer had spread to her lungs and her liver. My mom was by her side when she left us. I flew home two days later and spent the week with family leading up to her funeral. Her obituary can be found here.

My grandma made it pretty clear she didn't want a big funeral. There were so many people that loved her and her family members wanted to honor her life. We had a small service on my grandma's property where family members spoke. So many had wonderful things to say about her and the life she lived.  My grandfather built this beautiful home before he died and he always loved this 10 acres of land they worked so hard to keep in the family. 

After the service, friends and family members gathered at the church for a luncheon. I really missed Scott as he was swamped with work the whole week. Troy and Kim McReynolds were so kind to come and show their support. It was wonderful to be with so many family members and celebrate my grandma's life. I knew she was there with all of us.

Memories of Marilyn Patterson from Kylee Knoles on Vimeo.

I took my camera to our family Christmas party three months prior to my grandma's passing. I interviewed family members about their experiences and memories with both my Papa and Branny. Then, I interviewed my grandma and just asked her a few questions about her life. Oh how I wished I would have sat her down and recorded her entire life history. I plan to do that with the rest of our grandparents. But I cherish the video I do have. We played this at the luncheon and I hope in some small way it honored her. I'm so grateful to have the knowledge that families can be together forever. I know I will see my sweet grandmother again, and oh what comfort that gives.

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