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by Erika Southey

The Parentals (adopted)
Photo by: Erika Southey

In loving memory
Patricia Thorburn Anderson

31 May 1934 – 12 December 2017

A Toast

“Cheers God!” Two profound words that would change my life forever.

Let’s raise a glass to one of the most extraordinary individuals who changed lives by injecting them with her signature brand of humour, chastisement and wisdom laced with doses of love.  She certainly changed mine.  Our relationship went from aunty Pat to mom Pat. ….. and off-course Granny Cat.  No one could hold a telephonic conversation with my cats the way she did.

Patricia Thorburn Anderson, born May 31, 1934 became a legend among everyone who knew her.

Her legend went beyond social media, her favourite shops to the heart of many homes across the globe.  That was evident; in several eulogies read. Wife to dad Andy or Vernon as she sometimes called him, mother of three to Carol, Steven and Jean; her family flourished around her to seven grandchildren – all whom she loved and was proud of.

She was very sharp and could see through many things and people.  Yet, she chose to show love to all and sundry.  “Only a fool listens to one side of a story my child”, was one of many nuggets she shared with me.

She didn’t jump on a bandwagon of doubt and judgement – she questioned me before she’d give her opinion on what her thoughts were on my latest screw-up, plan or thoughts.

One consistent thread of her life was LOVE.

A visit over a cup of tea was never complete without one of Mom Pat’s famous anecdotes.  With every anecdote; there was always the proverbial ‘moral to the story’.

On this occasion she illustrated ‘childlike faith’.

Third cup of steaming tea accompanied by her famous ginger snaps; she started to tell me.

“Well Erika, I didn’t know much about how to pray and if it was okay to do it with a glass of wine in the one hand and a cigarette in the other, but I prayed anyway”.  She accepted Jesus as her Lord and Saviour when she was 38.  Newly born-again, her journey with the Lord started. She had a direct connection to the Throne Room.

She could bring her anecdotes to life; as illustrated in this example of many.

Carol; mom’s youngest daughter was in hospital fighting for her life.  A baby, Carol was born with a heart defect and needed an operation.  Needless to say, this was a scary and extremely worrying time for both mom and dad Vernon (Andy).

“Well God, you know my child is sick and dying.” “You say if we ask You for something – You do it”

I could picture her raising her wine glass to heaven while closing the prayer: “Thank you. Cheers God – AMEN”.

It took some composure to swallow my tea quickly, not choke and spurt it out on the table while laughing.  Not exactly what I would think this elegant dame would say.

It took some time to get over fits of laughter and onto cup of tea number four.

Conversations ranged from light-hearted to serious.  What I mostly appreciated about her was; that she got me, spoke ‘Erika’ and that I could cover ten topics and she’d keep track of them as I jumped from one to the other and back.  She would add her own couple of topics and we spoke for hours.

Photo by: Erika Southey

She understood my passion for cricket and astronomy, handled my awkwardness and eccentricity.  Especially cricket.  AB de Villiers and Sachin Tendulkar could never do anything wrong.  You just didn’t go there.

This is not about me, but about Mom Pat and her unique flavour she brought to lives.

This blog will share special moments through the eyes of those whose lives she changed, impacted and improved.

She said; “you don’t have to be anyone special to make a difference – be yourself”.