Suzy Barile with Jesse and Pattie Brooks

Remembering Pattie Brooks

For months after my sister Pattie died two years ago Jan. 15, Tuesday mornings were the most difficult. I had talked with her on Monday night about her excitement in going with Jack the next day on his class field trip. "Call and tell me all about it," I said. Instead it was Joseph who called to say something bad had happened to Mommy and they were at the hospital. Gail and Warren comforted me and Warren drive me to Louisburg.

Why, then, did Tuesday mornings get me? Because it was her last on this earth. We often chatted those mornings as I drove to Raleigh and now my rides were made in silence. She had no idea that Tuesday would be her last, her death so quick and unexpected as it was, yet I have had a future of Tuesday mornings.

I shared at her memorial service how we were 15 years apart, so we didn't become friends, and not just sisters, until we were adults.While I want to stay sad forever, I cannot. She left three smart, good-looking boys who need to know her always and that is the role I have as Aunt Suzy. So what do I share today when they are 14 and almost 9 and 13? Here goes:

~ We called her Precious Pretty Pattie and Bebopper Marshmallow
~ She was so tough as the last girl with 4 older brothers that she played soccer on a boys' team
~ She had a smile that could light up the world and she used it often. Everyone felt special when she smiled at them
~ She drove a red Ferraro and taught Jen to sing "Born in the USA" as they cruised Cary with the top down
~ She loved pink sweetheart roses and triple chocolate cheesecake and General Foods hazelnut coffee
~ Her manicures and pedicures were out of this world
~ She loved a bargain, especially when the store paid her
~ She loved her family with all her heart, and most of all, she loved her boys - her license plate read "PB & the J's"

There is so much more, yet so little space here.

However, my favorite Pattie picture of all time is from when she was about 4. As I recall, I was going somewhere with my high school boyfriend and she wanted to go, but couldn't. I don't know who captured her displeasure on camera, but it came in the form of a crying temper tantrum, right there in the front yard of our home in Vienna, VA. Her head is thrown back, her long blonde hair flying all around, and her arms flung out in disgust. In the photo's background is my boyfriend, leaning against his car, arms crossed and a grin on his face. Guess he knew no one could resist our Precious Pretty Pattie, and she soon be going wherever it was we were headed!

Love and miss you, PM.