My Beloved Daughter,
Your Grandma Pat was an incredibly special person. Rarely ever did she speak badly about anybody. I only recall her ever arguing with your Grandpa Chuck one time (over your Uncle Kenny, I think). While Grandpa wasn’t particularly affectionate, she had more than enough for both of them. And she was always able to draw affection from him.
Patricia Ann Davis was born on February 1, 1946. It may have been February 2. You see, she was never issued a birth certificate as a child, so the first was the accepted assumption. In fact, she didn’t get her birth certificate until after GG died.
My mother was an adorable, affectionate child. Raised with her siblings in near poverty, she and her siblings gained a closeness that I rarely see in other families. Her imagination soared through her childhood and she loved to sing and perform for her family. When she was a child, GG and Grandpa Winfred were approached by a talent scout to take Grandma Pat to Hollywood. Despite the fact that it would potentially allow the family so much of what they needed, Grandpa wouldn’t allow his baby girl to be used in such a way and see her childhood destroyed. Perhaps he realized that it could have changed her into something else. She might not have grown to be the loving, free-hearted woman who we knew. And none of us would be here.
At fifteen years of age, she married Bobby Davis. The man was no relation to you or me but was the father of your Uncle Kenny and Uncle Greg. She dropped out of high school in the ninth grade to marry him. I think the marriage lasted less than three years. He was unfaithful to her, although she held him no ill-will in later years. After that, she was married two more times—to Tink and Jim—before finally meeting your Grandpa Chuck. I already discussed how they met in my last entry. I will add that the friend who introduced them actually tried to break them up. “I didn’t expect you to marry him!” the woman had told her.
Grandpa wanted to move in with your Grandma in 1970. Despite her three divorces, she had enough of an old-fashioned attitude to tell him that she wouldn’t do so unless he put a ring on her finger. So, on July 17, 1970, they went to the home of a Baptist preacher in Kennett, MO, and got married.
I was born five years later. She worked as a nurse’s aide up until I was born (and a little after), before quitting to be a stay-at-home mother and homemaker. As your Grandpa worked on the river for the majority of my childhood, I was with Grandma Pat all the time and, quite honestly, became quite a momma’s boy. Before we moved to Campbell, I didn’t really have any friends outside of school, so it was mostly Grandma Pat and me.
Over the years, every friend that I had grew to envy me for my mother. The woman had more love than any one person knew what to do with. My friends always got hugs and kisses when they visited. Your cousin, Trina, wanted to move in with us. Her mother wouldn’t let her but she spent weeks at a time with us in the summer. So did your cousin, Dan.
After your Grandpa Chuck got sick and wasn’t able to work anymore, Grandma Pat started working at an onion ring factory in Piedmont, MO. She worked there until she wasn’t able to work anymore. After Grandpa Chuck died, she and GG moved in with your Uncle Greg and me in Springfield. Then, she and I got the apartment in Nixa. Finally, we ended back up in St. Charles.
After Vickie and I got married, she moved into that mobile home with Aunt Ruth, then another apartment with your Uncle Kenny. The landlord there didn’t like Kenny, so the two of them ended up down in Puxico. Finally, Uncle Greg moved them to Poplar Bluff.
She came up to stay with us any time you had a break from school. She adored you so much. The last time that we saw her, you recorded that video of her dancing. You had no way of knowing the treasure that this video would turn out to be.
As of this writing, tomorrow will be the year anniversary of her stroke. On August 19, 2016, I ignored a call from your Uncle Kenny because I was too tired to answer it. Half an hour later, he called me on her phone, knowing that I never ignored her calls. He was a blubbering mess and I couldn’t understand what he was saying. Uncle Greg, also upset, finally got on the phone and told me that they had found her, vomiting in the floor. As she was able to give the paramedics her age, we thought it was a minor stroke. Vickie and I drove down and she was talking to us. The last words that I heard from her were that she loved me.
Sometime during that night, she stopped communicating. Another test showed that the left side of her brain was dead and the right side was dying. Greg and I tearfully signed the non-resuscitation order. Your mother, pregnant with your baby brother, drove you down to the Bluff to say goodbye. Then, on August 22, 2016, she left this world with one final breath that she took with a loud gasp as she sat up in the bed.
I pictured her giving Jesus more affection at that Pearly Gate than He had probably gotten from any other member of the Elect since His Resurrection. Then, she found your Grandpa Chuck, GG, and Grandpa Winfred and showered them with affection. And she’ll be waiting with arms open when we get there, too.
Brother Phil Tanner, the pastor who led your Grandpa Chuck and me to Jesus, preached her funeral, reminding us that we haven’t lost her. We know exactly where she is.
I see so much of her in you. Your imagination, love of singing and dancing and affection are all results of her influence. You uploaded that video of Grandma Pat to your YouTube channel. Millions of users are there, so she got her opportunity to be a star. That was the greatest gift you could have given her.