Her Life

A Life of Love : Growing Up on the Farm

Written by Shawna 

On a cold winter Canadian day in 1955 a little baby girl was born, Patricia Florence Monaghan to her loving parents Roy and Mona. Her three older sisters, Jane, Dorothy and Kathy were excited for their new dolly to play with. Two more sisters, Rose and Joanne as well as 3 brothers, Kevin, Roy and Gerry would fill the small farmhouse their dad had built for them.
Growing up on the farm, as it would be referred to by dozens of nieces, nephews, grandkids and great grandkids, was surely hard work weaved with loving childhood memories. Pat would recount sneaking down to the dungeon like basement on Christmas Eve in search of presents and would carefully take the tape and staples off each gift to see what was inside only to wrap them up perfectly after her sleuthing. The true joy of those times, were found around the kitchen table, a small rectangle with a bench to fit everyone just cozy. A roast in the oven with fresh vegetables from the garden, ended with some blueberry buckle

Randy and Pat

Pat would eventually bring home boyfriend Randy, a city slicker from a small family who quickly became enamored by the loving chaos of the Monaghan gang. It didn’t take him any time to marry Pat and begin their own adventure.

The Six Kids

Living in Orleans with six spirited children, all close in age, that time was much about coordinating sport practices, baseball tournaments, 4H meetings, and of course, Sundays at the farm. Always. The precious time with siblings and 30 cousins. Aunt Patty had a way of making each of her nieces and nephews feel like they were her favorite. Playing football with uncle Roy, chasing after stray cats, or playing make believe on “the rocks” was the perfect sense of home that left an indelible mark on everyone.

The Four Kids in West Virginia , Georgia and Beyond

After a few years, came Lukas, the twins and Jules and a move to West Virginia. At one point Pat had kids living in Canada, US, Mexico, Spain and Italy. And once she got over her fear of flying, nothing could stop her. Rome, Fatima, Lourdes, would be immensely special trips/pilgrimages with lots of adventure like drinking limoncello from a styrofoam cup thinking it was lemonade. To happening upon a Canadian taxi cab driver in Fatima who would introduce her to Jacinta’s cousin and later attend mass with them. Her devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Joseph and the Divine Infant were the source of her steadfast faith.
Atlanta would become home at the “the White House” as she called it. Pat wore many hats as Marmi, spiritual director, home school teacher, chef extraordinaire, chauffeur, and the absolute glue that kept her family close together. She made holidays an irresistible haven that attracted her 10 kids home, year after year. The warmth of home cooking, late night bedside chats with peppermint tea and a slice of cake, were some of the unforgettable ways she loved on her kids.

A New Chapter in Indiana

The family would finally head to Indiana, a place beloved by Pat. The flat farming land reminded her of Canada, not to mention White Christmases again! It took no time to make the house a home moving in Dec 21st and having our first Indiana family Christmas on 25th. She loved her garden of flowers and the birds it would attract. She especially loved Cardinals and hummingbirds. She felt it a magical victory when they would come visit. Her long walks at Freedom park was something she looked forward to every day. Daily Mass had always been her routine and something she exampled to her children through their whole lives. She enjoy shopping trips with her girls, Nadine, Shawna and Jules, getting coffee and treats and often leaving empty handed but a heart full of laughs from a day out together. Her boys were her soft spot. She connected with her 7 sons on a personal level, Greg, Nick, Ben, Anthony, Luke, Gus and Brenny. They were devoted to her gentle ways, quiet example and constant generosity. The daughter in laws and son in law would feel the same love and care as if they were her own. She always found common ground to make you feel her genuine care.

Her Grandbabies

And then there were her grand babies. Grandma or big boy grandma as Logan and Noah would call her, was the most doting and hands on with her grandkids. The pure joy they brought to her, reliving her memories of her children through them was evident. They felt so special with grandma, baking buns or cookies, sneaking them jelly beans from her pocket, snuggling her cheek with their cheeks. Fewer things brought that much happiness to Pat. The love she embed in her children was manifested through their families. Love begets love and this legacy was the crown of her life’s efforts.

A Legacy of Love and Faith

Pat’s loving devotion to Randy was likely one of the things that defined her. She was his partner in the truest sense. The only one that ever called him Rand. From the days of cruising around in his Dodge Dart to flying first class to Europe, their adventures together were woven with love. Not absent of hardships and tensions, as with any relationship, these two were always on each others team; the priority - always the family and each other; the goal - a home of faith, hope and love; the bottom line - their love, sacrifice, and self giving were the bedrock of the family and legacy they built together

Mom's Last Five Years

In January 2016, mom suffered an accident which resulted in a severe brain injury. Over the next five years, she was in hospitals in Indianapolis, Atlanta and Ottawa. She was a fighter and defied all odds many times over. During her illness, she was able to meet two new grandbabies - Jack and Declan. Our family never left her side, caring for her and helping her stay strong and healthy. With the new reality of Covid 19, we decided to bring mom "home" with us to Jane and Lyle's house in March 2020. Mom enjoyed being at home again and hearing the birds outside, watching movies, listening to music and smelling Julie's homemade cooked buns. Mom was able to celebrate one last Christmas with us at home too. She passed away peacefully on Feb 4, 2021 at 11:54 pm surrounded by family, praying and holding her hands.