People’s words stay with you, long after they have departed. I will never forget my Aunty Tish, for having a timeless sense of fun, for calling everyone “tiger”. Her personality was a bright light, which cast no shadows. She didn’t possess any maliciousness, only love.
You say many “goodbyes” over a lifetime. Friendships come and go. Friends who stay with you throughout your life are rare, especially if you move around a lot, as I have done.
People who have stuck by me on my journey throughout the years are very special. I have to remember not to take them for granted. If you’re one of these, I just want to say “thank you”, I know I haven’t always made it easy for you.
My Aunty Tish was one such person to show unwavering love. I was just a sulky teenager, when I first met my Aunt, in her hometown of Montreal, Canada. The love she showed me was, and always has been, completely unconditional.
Born on 29th February 1940, she reached the age of 73 only having celebrated 18 birthdays. Her early years were overshadowed by the advent of the Second World War. I can’t even begin to imagine what that was like. She was a loving older sister to my Mum, who was born a year after the end of the War.
A caring and supportive person, Tish was possessed with an awesome insight into other people’s lives. As my Mum said, you could never keep a secret from her. Like my Grandmother before her, she appeared to have what people mythically call a sixth sense.
I think it was simply that she focused on other people and their concerns, rather than being self-absorbed. She had great empathy and understood her family well. I have a lot to learn from her life.
My Aunt had many struggles during her lifetime. She lost her battle to cancer, but she wasn’t defeated by it, because she never let it change her. That’s what really matters, and that’s how I will remember her, for her inner strength of character.
In loving memory of Patricia Van der Pant,
who wore many hats, including Mother, Grandmother, Sister, and Aunt.
Born on 29th February 1940 in England –
Died on 2nd November 2013 in Ottawa, Canada