Ann Patton

12 December 2017

Long before my mom had any idea that I might date and marry her son, she would always always tell me, "your godmother is the nicest person I've ever met" and after meeting her myself and getting to know her I have to wholeheartedly agree. One of the first things that struck me about Simon was how kind he was and after getting to know Ann it was obvious that he'd gleaned his thoughtfulness from his mom and dad. I don't tell you this to make her out to be a saint (although she wasn't far from it!) but to try in vain to explain that our loss is most certainly heaven's gain. My mom's older brother who was also a good friend and classmate of Ann's, died in a mountain climbing accident when he was 18. My mom was 16 at the time and Ann wrote her letters from college and suggested my mom might enjoy life with her at KU which is where my mom ended up. My mom will never forget Ann's kindness and the taking of her under her wing during such a difficult time at such a young age. Ann passed away last week and while she wasn't my mom she treated me like a daughter and our kids were so lucky to get the time that they did with her.

Grandma and toddler Julia

I struggle with getting gifts in time for my own kids' birthdays with the heavy-handed help of Amazon but despite having five kids of her own she would always take the time to send me a personalized birthday gift every year while I was growing up and continued the tradition with our kids/her grandkids even when she was fighting the fatigue and unpleasant side effects of chemo. I could tell countless stories of how selfless and thoughtful she was but we might need to change the medium from blog to book to even skim to surface.


I would be remiss not to share some words that more eloquent people wrote about Ann. Her parish priest included the following in the church bulletin a few years ago when she was rediagnosed with cancer ...

Personally, I find myself resisting more than conforming but I do know people who are singular in their pursuit of God’s will. One such person is a good friend of mine who has stage four metastatic bone cancer. This is her second bout with cancer and she is starting a long regimen of chemotherapy. Normally, in such cases, people ask me to pray for healing; often, through the intercession of Fr. Kapaun. However, my friend, although certainly open to healing and would welcome such an outcome, asked for one thing. Yes, you guessed it. Her request was that I pray that she “desire and fulfill God’s Will.”

This isn't surprising if you knew her in any capacity but I remember being humbled when I read this because my prayer request might look a little different and selfish in comparison had I been in her shoes. 



And finally I've read the following, written by her best friend Jennifer, several times over because it encompasses Ann and who she was so well. 

What was so special about Ann?  I pondered this a lot, especially in these last months as I encountered more and more people, from all directions, whose lives she had touched.  It is a good thing for us to consider, indeed, what was special about Ann.  We don't do this to canonize or idolize Ann; rather, we do it because it points us to God, who gave her to us and used her to bring others to Him.  If we live our lives in gratitude, if we love our families more, if we lift our hearts in prayer more often because of her inspiration, all glory to God.


Abe's baptism this past September

Ann had many wonderful qualities and talents.  However, I just keep circling back to the virtue of humility (I was going to put that in all caps, but that kind of defeats the idea), which is foundational in the spiritual life.  Ann was a quiet person, yet she had a profound influence on us.   She had such a regard for every person.  She saw the good in others and always sought to excuse their flaws.   As several have mentioned, she was "other-centered"--much more interested in hearing about your life than in talking about her own.  This was even true in these last months as the cancer monster grew larger and more ominous.  She worked actively to avoid being consumed with her own circumstance; I witnessed this so many times.  We would go from us discussing her funeral to her asking me about my weekend plans or workout class.  So typical of Ann! When it was so obvious that her health was only going to decline and her suffering was going to increase considerably, she reassured me with that beautiful smile and said, "It's okay".

As soon as we heard she was in her final hours we packed up and booked flights for the following morning but got a call that she had passed late the night before we left. We've been able to be here in Kansas with Simon's dad, four younger siblings + their spouses and families, and extended family for the funeral Mass and burial and will be here for the rest of year which has been a (chaotic because Patton kids!) comfort to everyone. Julia seems to be having the greatest understanding and hardest time with her grandmother's death but is grateful she has lots of fond memories of her to look back on. Thank you for your prayers and for checking in - Simon has been so touched and we appreciate you all so much!!

I want to figure out how to make this a printable because my phone picture doesn't do her calligraphy justice. I think it's such a beautiful prayer and Ann wrote this out just a few weeks before she entered hospice and asked that it be made into a holy card for her funeral (which was done!) ...


The blog might be a little quiet in the coming weeks but know that we all wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

70 comments:

  1. Oh, Grace. I am so sorry for your loss. She sounds like a rare soul indeed. Your family is in my thoughts.

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  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful woman. Lots of love to your whole family!

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  3. I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Please be assured of my prayers.

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  4. So much love being sent to all of you! She sounds like such a beautiful woman and that everyone who knew her was more blessed because of her! Prayers, love and hugs to you all, so very sorry for your loss.

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  5. I'm sorry for such a great loss. Many prayers for you and your family.

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  6. What a beautiful gift she was! Thank you for sharing. Mny prayers for your family during this difficult time of such a great loss. May He hold and heal every hearts sadness and may He swiftly carry her Home ❤️ hugs!

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  7. What an amazing lady! I am so sorry for you and Simon and the family. Thank you for sharing her legacy with us.

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  8. I am so very sorry. May light perpetual shine upon her. And thank you so much for sharing the St. Clement prayer. It is a true gift.

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  9. This is a wonderful tribute. Praying for you all.

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  10. I am so sorry for your loss. Your words about your mother-in-law are so sweet & wonderful. Thank you for sharing her with us.

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  11. Grace, I am so sorry for your loss. My father-in-law passed away in September, and it hurt. It hurt to watch my husband grieve and his family that I love so much grieve. It hurt to grieve so deeply myself. Please know that I am praying for all of you... that you can be a support to Simon during this time. I know how hard is to wonder how you can "be there" for your spouse during such a great loss. <3 This was a beautiful tribute to Ann.

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  12. Oh Grace, so sorry to hear. I can't imagine the loss. She sounded like a beautiful soul. I love the prayer; it's even more beautiful knowing she wrote it. Continued prayers for you both.

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  13. Grace, I am so sorry for your loss. I will pray for the repose of her soul and ask her in turn to pray for an easing of your grief. ❤️

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  14. What a great loss! Our prayers are with your family as you celebrate her life and remember her. What a great lady!!

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  15. What a lovely woman. Praying you and your family feel God's peace.

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  16. Thank you so much for sharing about her faith. The prayer is beautiful, and I will keep it with me.

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  17. Love this post & your blog. Praying for your family, what a treasure she sounds like! I have a small Etsy shop where I do hand lettered calligraphy signs. I’d love to make a sign for you with this sweet verse. If you’d like email me your mailing address & i’d Love to send it your way.

    Etsy shop : Dwelling Space
    IG : @dwellingspace

    Just so you know I’m a real person :)

    Best!

    Jean Raper
    Jmraper9@gmail.com

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  18. Wow - as you said your loss is Heaven's gain. She sounds like an amazing woman and what her friend said "we do it because it points us to God, who gave her to us and used her to bring others to Him." That is the highest of praise. What a gift - it sounds as if she lived her best life. Please know I will offer a Divine Mercy Chaplet for her.

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  19. Praying for you and your family right now, Grace. I have never heard the St. Clement Prayer and it seems absolutely fitting for your mother-in-law. What a beautiful and eloquent tribute you have written!

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  20. Wonderful tribute indeed. I would love a printed copy of her holy card if you ever did get around to printing. Such powerful words that I would love to hang in my home. Praying for you all through this holiday season!

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  21. I'm so sorry for your family's loss.
    Praise be to God for such a wonderful life lived.
    Praying for you all over what I'm sure will be a difficult Christmas. Wonderful that you can be together for an extended time.

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  22. I'm so sorry for yours & Simons loss. Prayers for all, what a beautiful legacy of faith and selflessness she left behind during the season of giving! Xo

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  23. I'm so sorry for your loss. My condolences to your husband on the loss of his mama, and to your entire family. You now have an angel praying for you in heaven.

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  24. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. What a beautiful tribute you have written to her. Lifting you all up in prayer❤️

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  25. That prayer- I will be trying to pray it every day from now on- thank you for sharing it. We are praying for you all during this time, I'm so sorry for your loss, Grace.

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  26. Grace - I'm so, so sorry for the loss of Simon's Mom. She sounds like an amazing person. We will keep all of you in our prayers, but especially Simon's dad. We send our love from Atlanta.

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  27. I am so sorry Grace, Simon, and family. This was beautifully written and I feel as if I knew her, even just a little bit.

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  28. I am so sorry for your and your family's loss, and hope that you find comfort in your own wise words that her presence and influence has brought you all closer to God.

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  29. I'm so very sorry for your and your family's loss, Grace. I hope you take your own words to heart about how she brought you all closer to God's grace -- and may that help you in this time.

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  30. This post is so beautiful. She exudes light even in these pictures. I am so sorry for your great loss.

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  31. I'm so sorry for your loss. She sounds like an amazing woman. Beautiful post.

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  32. Beautiful post and I’m so sorry for your loss .

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  33. Praying for Ann and for all of you. The prayer by St Clement is beautiful.

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  34. Thank you for sharing. This is beautiful & you've got me near sobbing. What an inspiration and a loss. I'm so very sorry!

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  35. what a legacy, may her memories bring you comfort during this difficult time.

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  36. What a wonderful tribute to your mother in law and godmother. A true hero and a godly woman to model ourselves after. I am so sorry for your loss.

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  37. Such a beautiful tribute. My prayers for you, Simon, and your family.

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  38. So sorry for your loss. I will keep your family in my prayers.

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  39. I'm send you, Simon, and your family lots of love and light during this difficult time.

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  40. This is such a beautiful tribute. Normally, I am bawling my eyes out during a post like this, but your words were so positive, endearing, and even hopeful. I find myself smiling at the thought of Ann, the wonderful woman, and all she touched. God bless you, Simon, and all of Ann's family during this time. May the warm memories be comforting and healing. Take care.

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  41. I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to a lovely woman. Many prayers for the whole Patton family as you mourn your mother-in-law.

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  42. I'm so sorry for your loss. These words about your mother in law are such an inspiration. "If we live our lives in gratitude, if we love our families more, if we lift our hearts in prayer more often because of her inspiration, all glory to God." Would we all strive and pray to leave a legacy like hers!

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  43. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful legacy she seems to have created.

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  44. My condolences to you, Simon, and your families. I will pray for eternal rest for your mother-in-law, and for you in your grief. It is so, so hard to lose a parent and she sounds especially wonderful.

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  45. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

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  46. I am so sorry for your loss, it sounds like she was a wonderful lady.

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  47. I am so sorry! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family

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  48. I'm so sorry for your loss - she sounds like an amazing gift to all who knew her. Prayers for her, her husband, and your whole family.

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  49. She sounds wonderful and I am sorry that you all have to continue on without her in this life until the next. That prayer is awesome, and one I had never heard of before, thank you for sharing!

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  50. I'm sorry for yours, Simon's and the family's loss, Grace. Such a beautiful person. Thank you for sharing the holy card prayer. I love it.

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  51. I am so sorry for your loss. She sounds like an absolutely amazing woman. I'm keeping you, Simon, and your entire family in my prayers.

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  52. Sweet Patton family, I am so sorry to hear of Ann’s passing. Grandparents are incredibly special. Im glad you get to stay and spend time with your family during the holidays. It’s so hard being far away at times like these. Take care and know that so many people are thinking of you all. <3

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  53. What a beautiful prayer. So sorry for the loss in your family. Best wishes.

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  54. Prayers for Mrs. Patton and all the family and friends nearest and dearest to her.

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  55. This is so beautiful. I am deeply sorry for your loss. May we all be a little more like Ann. I'm praying for you all and hope you can find joy and peace this Advent and Christmas season despite your grief! Xoxo

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  56. I am so sorry for your loss. Sending many love and prayers. May the souls of the faithful departed for through the mercy of God, rest in peace. <3

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  57. I read this a few days ago and have been thinking about it since. I've had an extremely difficult week with my small children who have disability and Ann's prayer is sticking with me. Thank you for sharing it and for sharing this part of your story. I know that it's hard to share our sorrow on the Internet. Sending lots of love your way this Christmas.

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  58. Julia looks so much like her beautiful grandma. Hang in there. That's all you can do right now. We lost my mom unexpectedly 2 years ago. I've found peace with her passing but I miss her. Everyday.

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  59. Beautiful prayer that I will add to my rotation when my mind is too tired/distracted to focus on its own. When I pray it, I will inevitably remember Ann and her "other-focused" nature. What a kind tribute to an incredible, soulful woman. Peace and love to you, Simon and his father and siblings, and all who mourn with you.

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  60. She sounds like an absolutely amazing woman, one who blessed all who knew her. Cherish this time of being together. I pray there will be much joy & laughter in the midst of such sorrow.

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  61. The one the Lord loves is home with Him. May perpetual light shine upon her. Peace and condolences to all of the Patton family.

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  62. Sending such love to the Patton family.

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  63. I was so very sorry to hear the news from my mom. She also described Ann as incredibly kind and wonderful. I didn't want to bother you because I was sure you guys had a full plate of things to deal with. Love and prayers to all Pattons...:)

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  64. I’m just reading this post now, but oh how glad I am that you posted it. What an incredible example to all. And what a gift to have her in your life. Thanks for sharing her handwritten prayer. It made me cry and feel the Spirit. Thanks for sharing light and love.

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  65. What a wonderful lady. I am sorry that you all lost her.I lost my sister 12/16 to Breast cancer also.They both put up a good fight.

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