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The Passing of Three

Updated on October 16, 2015

A Walk Down Memory Lane of Lives Well Lived

It Does Sometimes Happen

They (whoever “they” are) say that death comes in threes. It’s strange how sometimes it does happen that way, for over the last month, three people in my life are no longer with us. These three, life molding folks, have touched and affected my life in many different ways. From just the day to day, routine, common things to those momentous, noteworthy events … that makes up our lives.

Generation to Generation Strength

The first part of May, my daughter-in-law’s Grandmother passed away. While I was not especially close to her, I did know her and was around her some over the last ten years. I actually knew her better, through my daughter-in-law, than personally. She has shared stories about how this strong woman influenced her life in countless ways as she was growing up and then into her adult life. The way Grandparents do.

My daughter-in-law is an important member of our family. I love and respect her endlessly. I feel a thank you should go to her MawMaw. In a "round the family" way, the strength, humor and the sticktoittiveness she has, is in part, because of her MawMaw. She was always there throughout my daughter-in-law's life. They are a family of nurses, that it began with MawMaw. She was a nurse, her daughter was a nurse and both her daughters are nurses. She nourished the development of this matriarchal family into the women they are today.

A big Thank You to MawMaw. Because you took your role to heart, my son is more complete with a loving and supportive wife and my grandson has an awesome mom!

Simple Country Farm Life

Always something to do to keep the family busy!
Always something to do to keep the family busy! | Source

One, Two, Three

Later on in May just a few days apart, two other special people left this world.

Friends Become Family

Miss Sadie had been in my life more than fifty years. Her family and mine forged friendships as farming neighbors during the 1960’s in Arkansas. She had a house full of five daughters and one son. Our home was filled with five brothers and sisters. Her oldest daughter has been married to my oldest brother for 52 years. Our families have shared our lives.

Countless hours of just being together as friends around the tables in each of our homes brought us together. Sometimes those “table meetings” where simple country meals with lots of home grown vegetables, cornbread and ice tea. Sometimes those “table meetings” where other activities. Back then we didn’t have all the techno things households do now… and you know, somehow we made it through ... those "good ole days"! Our lives and time were filled instead with laughter, imagining the future, telling ghost stories, homework, quilt making, playing games, creating wardrobes, making donuts, potato chips, science projects and whatever else might be going on in our lives at that moment. You can be sure, with that many folks there was always something going on! Without even realizing what was taking place we grew our relationships with each other during those “table meetings”.

Along with those “table meetings”, our families shared in chores too, such as tending gardens and harvesting the results of those labors. Coming from that rural background, I learned to sew early on and for many years would always save my fabric scraps and give them to Miss Sadie for her quilt making. Seems she was always working on a quilt, either for someone in particular or to be used in raffles. Her beautiful creations are scattered all over the country.

There have been long periods of time when I would not see Miss Sadie. Whenever I would, she always treated me like one of her own, from accolades to scoldings, she kept me on my toes. The last time I saw her she was in the hospital, very weak and frail. I had not seen her for a couple of years. My younger sister was with me. At this point, Miss Sadie’s mind was not always clear. When the family asked her if she knew who we were, she looked me over and said, “well, that’s Trishee”. No one but Miss Sadie ever pronounced my nickname, Tricia, like she did. Then she turned to my sister and said, “oh, that’s Mary’s baby”.

Mary was our mother. She and Miss Sadie were faithful friends and always doing something with each other and often for someone else. In fact, the day Mother died, the two of them where having a yard sale. Miss Sadie was about to celebrate her 80th birthday. It’s comforting to know that a close friend, like Miss Sadie was with Mother when she suddenly left this world.

Miss Sadie was a simple, no frills kind of woman. Small in body but with a huge heart filled with love for her family and friends. She was not a monetarily wealthy woman by any means, but she gave to others in ways that have no monetary value, because memories of a life shared, are worth more than gold or precious gems. Miss Sadie was a “diamond in the rough”. She was strong and tough. Much like a diamond, waiting to become brilliant, so she could shine when she made her final trip into heaven. Shine on Miss Sadie!

Someones Junk Can Be A Treasure To Someone Else

Old stuff... Used stuff... Good stuff....New stuff...  Just Lots of Stuff!!!!
Old stuff... Used stuff... Good stuff....New stuff... Just Lots of Stuff!!!! | Source

Acceptance Leads To A Lifetime of "Table Meetings"

A few years later, I met Henry. This was a completely different situation and type of meeting. I was soon to become his daughter-in-law. In thinking back, I really don’t even remember when we did meet. I was a busy soon to be bride and not too concerned with the prospective in-laws. Just that I wanted to be sure they approved of me. As in-laws go, he was a good father-in-law.

As a young homemaker he always gave me a sense of accomplishment after being in my home, whether it was for a quick visit or a dinner. Henry loved good food and loved to eat. The first time he ever sat at my table, being a new homemaker, of course, I was nervous because the in-laws where coming for dinner. After eating double portions of most everything, he pushed his plate back, leaned back in his chair and couldn’t stop with the compliments. I will always cherish the feelings that swelled up in me. I don’t think he had any idea how important that was to me. It gave me confidence to create “table meetings” very often in my home. That experience made me realize, how something simple, like a meal, can be the center of good fellowship and growing relationships. The real value of life!

Anyone who knew Henry at all, soon learned he liked to swap and deal with any and all kinds of "stuff". Once in while he would call me up and say, “I found this .. so and so .. and thought you might could use it”. Sometimes though, when I would visit them, I would just shake me head when he’d show me his latest find and ask him, what he was ever going to do with that particular item. He’d reply with a sheepish grin, “well if I don’t use it, I’ll trade for something else”. He could have written a book on trading and bartering.

Ten years after meeting Henry, I became his ex-daughter-in-law. But I can truly say I’ve never been treated as the evil “X” in law, from any of the family. He was Pawpaw to my two sons. They enjoyed their times with him. I do regret there was not more times with him. But that’s one of the sad realities of a divorced family. It sort of happened naturally, since my family was close by, we spent more time with them.

Henry was one of those men that can have a loud bark but is all soft on the inside. It took me a while to figure that out about him. He was a member of that generation of people, who believed in hard work and always being there when someone needed a hand. He could be strong willed and opinionated but would listen to my side of things too.

There were occasions that would come up and I would call Henry to discuss whatever the issue was I was dealing with at the time. I could always be truthful and honest with him, even if we did not agree completely. It was important to me to get his opinion. As anyone who knew him knows, he was never a man who was bashful to give his opinion.

How thankful I am, I got to visit with him briefly just a few days before he passed. He had been quite ill for a good while. I had not seen him for a very long time. Though he was very weak and his voice was low, we engaged in conversation for a few minutes and he looked me in the eye when we spoke. He told me he was ready to go home. He was not referring to his earthly address but his home with his sweet Jesus. I have to say his Homegoing celebration a few days ago was a good send off. Many, many folks there and Henry was in the midst of it all. So many memories, flourishing around as they do, at times like that. Henry would have been pleased! I could just see him, grinning that mischievous grin of his.

They Will Be Missed


No Explanation

There’s really no explanation why ... death sometimes comes in threes. It’s just one of those quirky life things. It doesn’t make any difference in the long run why it happens that way. I just know this … I am a blessed person to have known these three people. My life is richer and better in countless ways because of them. My memory banks are swollen with many tidbits of precious times together. And as I reminisce in those memories, I come to the conclusion, that each of these three individuals, who did not know each other at all, have helped form me and my family, into who we are today. They will be missed by all who knew and loved them.



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    • PaisleeGal profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Materna 

      6 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Denise .. so glad you enjoyed my little story. Your comment "re-frame out own identities" in the last sentence is a good way to state what takes place when this kind of thing happens. I may have to borrow that some time.

      Thanks for taking the time to share my memory lane trip.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      6 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I enjoyed your trip down memory lane! I know that a lot of people say that death comes in threes. It is interesting how that works sometimes. When we loose those that we love, it can be a bit overwhelming, especially when there is more than one at a time! Being able to talk about them helps us to deal with our emotions and to re-frame our own identities in relationship to these individuals.

    • PaisleeGal profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Materna 

      6 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Peggy, Thanks for the warm comments. I appreciate them very much.

    • profile image

      Peggy Browning 

      6 years ago

      I loved this piece, PaisleeGal. I do believe what THEY say...about the passing of three.

      I am pleased that you had three people of whom you thought so highly.



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