Share a special moment from Patricia's life.

Your song was beautiful, Mom.

Shared by Benjamin McMillan on February 14, 2021
Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud, sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear
Just sing, sing a song

   This song, made famous by The Carpenters back in the 70’s was one of my Mom’s favorites. It was her go-to lullaby for calming us down as children and getting us to fall asleep. But it wasn’t until sitting down to put together these words and reflecting on my Mom’s life that I grasped some of its hidden meaning. My wife, Megan, likes to say that my Mom would “speak in poems”. Meaning my Mom had a habit of using very soft and roundabout words to deliver deep and meaningful advice or to deliver her strong opinion on something. But you would have to think about what she said for a while to get the full meaning. The same holds true with the words of this song and with my Mom’s life.

   My Mom was not shy of showing her emotions when it was warranted, but on the whole, she was probably the most joyful person you could ever meet. Always focusing on the good and happy things in life, never on the bad or sad things. She lived her life according to a specific set of priorities; “God” first, “Family” second, and “herself” last. This was pretty obvious to anyone that had the pleasure to know her. When faced with bad or sad things in life, she would just put those things in God’s hands, release the outcome, and then continue focusing the good in life, knowing that God was taking care of things in His own way and in His own time. There is even a little sign in my parents’ house that says, “Good morning, this is God. I’ll be taking care of all your problems today. You’re welcome.”

   My Mom absolutely lived her life to the full, while always making the things that she loved and that gave her the most joy her priority: her faith, her husband, and her family. And most of the time those things went hand in hand, like going to mass as a family (most of the time at St. Pats), saying the rosary every night before bed as a family (even when most of us were sprawled out on the bed or the couch half asleep), and subtly teaching us the treasures of our Catholic faith by humming or singing various church songs throughout the day while doing things around the house. That was the soundtrack of our youth. 

   Mom, thank you for your beautiful life long example of being a spouse, a mother, and a friend. You touched so many lives both in the Ottawa area and in all of the various pit stops that you made along the way; including West Virginia, Georgia, and Indiana. Every time you spoke with me, you made me feel like I was the most important person in the world and I am sure that many people would say the same. I know that you are now enjoying what you believed would be your reward for fighting the good fight, finishing the race, and keeping the faith. We love you and we will never forget you.

   I do want to take minute to say thank you specifically  to my Dad (Randy), my sisters (Nadine and Julianna), and my brothers (Greg, Lukas, Augustine, and Brendan), who really gave of themselves over the last 5 years to give my Mom the time that she needed to fight this fight, and ultimately make it peacefully to her eternal home. I also want to thank those in my extended family that gave of their time, talent, and treasure to help my Mom, my Dad, and me and my siblings through this difficult time and for all of the prayers poured out on my Mom’s behalf. 

   And on behalf of my Dad (Randy), and the rest of our family: Greg and Emma, Nadine, Nick, Shawna and Travis, myself and Megan, Anthony and Kym, Luke, Gus, Brendan, Julianna, and all of the Grandkids; I want to thank you all for taking time in the last couple of days to honor and celebrate the beautiful life of my Mom, Patricia McMillan.

Shared by Angela Maitland on February 10, 2021
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Maya Angelou
In my heart’s experience, as a niece in the Monaghan family, every Aunt is a second mother and every uncle a second father. Monaghan cousins felt love and belonging always.
Aunt Pat had a way of greeting her nieces and nephews in a manner unmatched. Whether only a week since seeing her at the farm the prior Sunday, months of being gone away to school or married and moved away and returned home the greeting was the same— once she saw you, you were the most important person on the globe standing before her. 
First, her eyes would light up followed by an enormous smile and her sweet and joyful voice would call out your first and middle name. Her cheeks warm and soft would touch your face and she would kiss your cheek while hugging you close. Monaghan Aunts are tiny little thangs, bending down to give Aunt Pat a big hug always made me smile and I was always so amazed how that tiny soft body radiated powerful love that warmed your blood and filled your heart with new vigor.

Second to the loving-presence-joyful-greeting Monaghan Aunt hug  is the Monaghan Aunt timing and phrasing of questions, the kind that make you say in your mind while keeping a poker face, “What! How does she KNOW this?!”

Aunt Pat had the ability to ask you how you were truly doing and gently talk about what was really important in your heart. Even in my adult life, from 3000 miles away, she would call and check in during the most timely moments of life.

Either standing and doing the dishes with Aunt Pat, cooking or baking, taking walks to the park, driving in the car, or sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea, she made time to talk about what was important.

I don’t remember everything Aunt Pat said, or did but I will always remember how she made me feel: Angela Catherine I see you, I hear you, you are important to me, I love you.

I’m honored to share common childhood experiences and memories of our precious Aunt Pat with all the many Monaghan cousins.

Observing her love and engage with each of us uniquely and then watch her show the same attention to our own children really is a treasured experience to share.

May Aunt Pat’s warmth, love and attention for others live on in us as her nieces and nephews.

My deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to Uncle Randy, the ten McMillan Children, their spouses and grandchildren, all of Aunt Pat’s sisters, brother-in-laws and brothers, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.

Our Aunt Pat

Shared by Riley Monaghan on February 11, 2021
I've been trying to think for days about what to write about my aunt Pat.

And I've really been speechless because how do you describe someone that meant so much to you with words. It's like how some say that saying I love you isn't enough, because everyone uses the word love, and that's how I've been feeling trying to find the words to say about my aunt Pat.

She was a mother to 10, yet still made her 426 nieces and nephews, as wild as they were feel loved like they were her own. We all knew she would do anything for us, and did do anything she could so we knew how special we were, and so she knew we were happy.

There are so many times I'll never forget, and can't expect everyone to read a novel (ask me about my favourite answer she ever gave me to a question for a good laugh), but to put into perspective how she was, everytime I visited her, I felt at home. Randeezy was the one always busting my chops for.... Well that's a novel in itself to try to name them all... But the reason they were the perfect pair, is how much they love their family isn't just a fact but something they always showed everyday (Uncle Randy showed it a little differently, but you knew it was out of love lol). 

From Cracker Barrel, to Chick-fil-A runs, to the constant hugs, to the "you got this Rilester," every minute you were around her, you knew you were so loved.

Then when it comes down to it, the easiest way to put it into words how much she meant, when the word love doesn't feel enough, as Shawn already mentioned was again something we learned from what our aunt Pat always told us. "I see you." She did see us. All of us through and through and loved every bit of us.

I can still hear her words & see her pointing her finger to me
"I see you Rilester"
Until I see you again Aunt Pat. I see you.

Aunt Pat

Shared by Shawn Hopewell on February 10, 2021
When I think about my aunt Pat I’m reminded of what a wonderful sister and friend she was to my mom and her siblings, what a great wife and partner she was for Randizzle, and that she was a beautiful mother.  Selfless and tireless her heart was never full.  When I was younger, it never occurred to me that she had 6 kids or 10 kids.  She gave her love and attention to all of us and never waivered when presented with ridiculous sleep over requests at the end of a long day.  We were blessed to have an aunt willing to share her life and family with us and she orchestrated some of our most cherished childhood memories.  Aunt Pat brought life to any gathering or occasion (and not just because she usually brought 11 people with her).  Her spirit and joy was infectious and evident in everything she did.  When I was younger, it was all I can remember wanting to do.  When are we going to Aunt Pat’s house?  She helped cultivate life long friendships with our cousins because she knew the value of family.  Years later a trip to Aunt Pat’s house was still the number one trip of the year.  Sometimes we would fly, sometimes we would drive.  Whether we had to go 25 kilometers, or 700 miles, or 1200 miles, it was a part of our lives.  It was a chance to reconnect, spend time with our cousins, and be apart of her home again.  She had the ability to take the aura of “the farm” anywhere she went and we were always excited to be apart of it.

Of all things, Aunt Pat had an endless supply of parenting experience.  It was only when I had my first child that I started to tap into this genius.  I believe we were in Indianapolis, revelling in some amazing hockey triumph, and I approached Aunt Pat for some advice.  What do I do with this child of mine?  Did you really cut the cord to the TV when we were younger?  Is it still ok to wash out mouths with soap? We laughed and laughed about the things she had done and things she had learned, but then I got serious.  Tell me one thing, of all tips, tell me one thing. Without hesitation she said, “Children are short, get down there and play with them.”  A simple and insightful comment that embodied her joy for life and happiness.  I’ve taken that lesson with me in my life and have joyfully crawled around my house for the past 7 years playing with my 3 daughters and thinking of my Aunt Pat.  She was right, children are short.

I’m going to miss my Aunt Pat and all the things she brought to my life, but her spirit and love will live forever in me, in all of us.  God Bless you Aunt Pat.

A Precious Aunt

Shared by Michelle Watson on February 10, 2021
Aunt Patty
Becauseof all the thoughtful things you did.
Because of all the warmth and love you showed.
Because you’re an Aunt who was dear in every way.
We Thank God for the gift of you and we will
hold in our minds, a precious keepsake 
of treasured memories entwined. 

Remembering your famous line “you pray for me

and I will pray for you”.Thanks for being so brave
in leading the way to heaven for the rest of us.

Until we meet again,
Much love & prayers 
The Watson Family

Mom's Devotion to Mary

Shared by Nadine McMillan on February 8, 2021
From Nadine: 

Mom prayed the rosary daily and loved our Blessed Mother. She would never miss a first Saturday mass or opportunity to attend Mass on a Marian feast day. There was a beautiful picture of Mary in every room of the house and a crucifix. If you got in the car with mom and the trip was more than 15 minutes, you could be sure we were saying the rosary. Rosaries could be found on her bed post and in most drawers in the house. She would also say about the rosary that it was nice she had 10 kids, they each got their own Hail Mary in a decade. She could pray for each one of them. You would often find her singing songs to Mary around the house. Her favorite statue of Mary was in the garden where she would plant flowers in her honor. Mom had a 4 foot statue of the Holy Family in the front living room all year round and at Christmas it was the focal point our Christmas tree. Growing up,  Our Lady of Perpetual Help was one of her favorite images that we would pray the rosary in front of at night. She loved that Mary held baby Jesus and his little sandal was falling off. As the mother of ten children and seven sons, mom was close to Our Lady as an example of how to be a mother.  She wore a scapular her whole life and believed firmly that Mary was waiting for her in heaven. I know that she is with her now. They have been dear friends for a long time.

From Luke: 

My mother used to have us say the rosary every day. We would usually say it on the way to daily mass. Sometimes we would say it in the evening around my parents’ bed. Without fail, she would always have us say the rosary with her. My mom used to say that Jesus could not deny anything his mother asked of him. That is why we always petitioned Our Lady through the rosary. When I was younger, my brothers and sisters would come home to visit. When it came time for them to leave, I would sneak away and say the rosary for their flight to be delayed or cancelled. My prayers were often answered, and my brothers and sisters would often get mad at me for this. I am certain my mother was happy by their delays. She loved nothing more than spending time with her children. The rosary is now a staple in my daily prayers and every time I say it, I know my mom is saying it with me.

Mary and Mom's Last Day

Shared by Nadine McMillan on February 8, 2021
From Kym and Megan about Mom's last day:

After hearing the information coming out of Canada over the last few days and especially Thursday night, Ben & Megan and Kym & Anthony independently of each other both felt they should offer a rosary for Pat. Around 7:30 on Thursday night the Holy Spirit moved quickly to inspire a family zoom call rosary amongst the Atlanta based family. After reaching out to each other, the rosary was set for 8:45.

We sent the link out at 8:30 and by 8:45 Randy, Shawna, Luke, Ben, Megan, Anthony and Kym were praying for Pat.  We did not know it then but at the same time in Canada Jane, Dorothy, Gerry and Gerianne were also praying the Rosary for Pat. From across two countries, we were all called to join in prayer together. Near the end of the Rosary, Luke received an urgent call from someone in Canada that things were not improving and we ended the call unsure of how the night would play out.

At 9:30 Ben was nudged by the Holy Spirit to drive overnight to Indiana and called Anthony to see if they could drive together. It’s not typical of Ben to make impulsive decisions at all so the decision can only be attributed to our Lady’s hand. They left Atlanta at 11 that night. Just around Chattanooga, they got the call from Randy. Nick called after midnight and they talked through the night and were able to be together during the most difficult hours.

Looking back now it is amazing to see that the events of the evening were guided by Mary’s hand. We all know that Mary’s intercession is especially certain at the hours of our death. What a special blessing from Mary, who knew that Pat would have wanted her children to be together and to have each other to lean on. Mary made certain this was possible even in the face of closed borders and a global pandemic. There would have been no way for Ben to have known how the night was to progress as he left Sharpsburg to begin his journey with Anthony to Indiana, but God knew.

Mom Always Tried to Make It To Daily Mass

Shared by Nadine McMillan on February 9, 2021
I would say mom attended daily mass for most of her life. The farm was a few doors down from St Isidore's and she would tell us how she would get her best dress on and head over to attend mass once she was old enough. When working downtown at the House of Commons, mom would often take her lunch break to go to mass at St Pats. After she was married and living in Orleans, she had 4 kids at home, so we would often walk to St Joseph church from Mockingbird for mass, which was at least a 5 km walk.  Once we got older and a second car, she would go to Divine Infant or St Patrick Basilica for mass. In West Virginia, mom would make it daily mass even with Luke and the twins as toddlers and Julie as a baby. In Atlanta, mom would attend Holy Trinity or Mary Magdalene every day. In Indiana, she loved going to mass in the small chapel at Our Lady of Greenwood. If something happened out of her control and she could not get to mass, she would say "Not a great day today, if I could not make it to mass." She always told us that mass was the most powerful prayer a person could offer. My mom had a simple a deep faith in God. Jesus present in the Eucharist was a great source of comfort throughout her life. In mass and recieving the Eucharist is where she said she found her strength. Over the last five years, my mom was too sick to recieve the Eucharist but I know that she had the spiritual strength to fight and defy medical odds because of the many years of daily mass and her close union with God.

Mom's Devotion to St Joseph

Shared by Nadine McMillan on February 9, 2021
Second to mom's love for the Eucharist and Mary, was St Joseph. She always had a statue of St Joseph in front of the homes we lived in. Nick, Gus and Brendan all share the same middle name - Joseph. In Orleans, we lived off of St Joseph boulevard and would often go to mass at the St Joseph church there. Whenever mom and dad needed to sell a house, Mom would make sure that the statue of St Joseph was front and center displayed in the front window of the house or by the front step. The old tradition to sell a house was to bury a statue of St Joseph until your house sells,  but Mom thought that was a bit ridiculous. She used to say that she did not think St Joseph would take too kindly to being buried. He would never sell the house if she did that to him! So she choose to put him front and center, on display. 

Mom Loved Praying the Stations of the Cross Together

Shared by Nadine McMillan on February 8, 2021
From Luke:

My mother loved saying the stations of the cross with her family. On most days at 3 o’clock (the hour of Mercy) she would have all of the kids gather around her on the couch to say the stations of the cross. We would use one stations booklet and take turns reading each station of the cross. Every Friday during Lent our mother would always take us to the stations of the cross at our local church. By saying the stations with us, my mother was able to do the two things she enjoyed most in this world: practicing her faith and spending time with her family. These moments saying the stations with her were special to us children.

From Nadine:
Mom always has us pray the stations of the cross from the same little booklet with pictures. Most of us know the words to those prayers off by heart. Growing up, she made sure we never missed praying the stations on Fridays, even if we were about to run out the door to do something. She said it only took 15 minutes and would pass the book around the room so we could all be involved. As an adult, I look back at all the devotions and prayers mom taught us to help us grow in our faith. She had a gentle way about sharing the faith, never forcing us to do things but just inviting us to pray with her. With mom, you always knew what she was asking you to do was for your own good or the good of your soul. She used to always say as a mother one of her most important jobs was to teach us to pray and help us get to heaven. 

Mom's Green Thumb

Shared by Nadine McMillan on February 9, 2021
Besides my mom's faith and family, flowers and gardening were in my mom's top three favorites. She would spend hours outside gardening and many more hours researching the best flowers for certain places around the yard. She would watch the sun to see how long it would hit certain places in the garden. Her greatest gardening accomplishment was the one she designed and created with love for her mother Mona at the farm, the summer before she passed away. Dahlias, zinnias, black eyed susans, roses, hydrangeas, mums, clematis, verbena, russian sage, lantana, sedum, lenten roses, butterfly bushes, geraniums, hibiscus and lavender were some of her favorite flowers in the garden. Mom always had a statue of Mary and one of St Joseph in the garden. Sometimes St Francis would also have a place. She always made sure there was a hummingbird feeder and red plants to attract the hummers to the garden. If you could not find mom in the house, she would be outside the house in garden. Each season, she would add pumpkins, scarecrows, easter decor and other items to keep the garden in the right season. She also always made sure she taught us how to garden along side her. She would say "Gardening is therapeutic." 

Mom Loved a Beautiful Sunset

Shared by Nadine McMillan on February 9, 2021
From Julie:

When I was two years old my Mom and Dad moved our family to Sharpsburg, Georgia for Dad’s new job. They search for weeks to find the right house. One of mom’s greatest sticking points was that you had to be able to see the sunset from the house. She loved sunsets and never missed watching it set every day. Even when we moved to Indiana, Mom would gather us together to go on an evening walk to watch the sun set over the cornfields outside our neighborhood. Mom used to tell me that sunsets were God’s last gift to us at the end of the day.

Mom's Connection to Cardinals

Shared by Nadine McMillan on February 9, 2021
Mom would get excited every time she saw a cardinal. A cardinal in your backyard in Atlanta was a rare thing, so maybe it reminded her of Canada. Cardinal red and Mary blue were always mom's favorite colors. A Christmas ornament or blanket or puzzle with a cardinal was something mom would not pass up the chance to buy. Mom loved her garden and the birds. She was always looking for a better bird feeder, if it meant bringing more cardinals. When one would appear at the feeder, she would call us all to the window to look. The grandbabies soon learned that grandma was fond of cardinals and they started spotting them when out with her on a walk or from the window at the house. For the past year, when mom was sick, we have had two cardinals sitting in the tree outside her window. Everyday they were there. After she passed away, Nick found a saying that we had never heard before..."When cardinals appear, angels are near. " Apparently, the old saying goes that when God sends a cardinal to you, it is a sign from heaven that a loved one is watching you. Mom's sisters commented how cardinals were chirping outside their windows all day, the day after mom passed.

Mom made the Best Homemade Buns

Shared by Nadine McMillan on February 9, 2021
At the family gatherings, mom was always asked to make the buns. When the grandkids would walk in the door, mom would make sure there was a freshly made batch of buns sitting on the counter. She had mastered the art of making the buns in about an hour. Whenever anyone asked why they tasted so good, she would respond that it was the love that is put in baking the buns. She would stop whatever she was doing and spend an hour kneading and making the buns. It was her gift to whoever would walk in the door to visit. She passed on that art to Julie and Lukas, who can make a batch of buns that rival mom's. It was a talent she learned from her mom. Grandma and the girls would sit around the farm table making buns for any family gathering. 

Saint Names and Her Children

Shared by Nadine McMillan on February 9, 2021
From Julie:

Mom’s Catholic faith was particularly important to her. When it came to the saints, mom had a great devotion and appreciation for their power to intercede on the behalf of those who offered up prayers to them. Mom gave each of her children the patronage of some of her favorite saints by naming them after her favorite saints. She named her firstborn son, Gregory Adam, after St. Gregory the Great. She named her first daughter, Nadine Geralyn, after St. Gerard Majella. She named her second son, Nicholas Joseph, after St. Nicholas of Myra and St. Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus. Mom had a great devotion to St. Joseph and blessed three of her sons with his patronage. She named her second daughter, Shawna Maria, after the Blessed Virgin Mary. She named her third son, Benjamin George, after St. George of Lydda. She named her fourth son, Anthony Bernard, after St. Anthony of Padua and St. Bernard of Clairvaux. She named her fifth son, Lukas John, after Jesus’s disciples St. Luke and St. John. She named her sixth son and one of her twins, Augustine “Gus” Joseph, after Saint Augustine and St. Joseph. She named her seventh son and her other twin son, Brendan Joseph, after St. Brendan the Voyager and St. Joseph. She named her third daughter and last child, Julianna Maria, after St. Juliana Falconieri and the Blessed Virgin Mary. She taught her children that they always had a multitude of saints watching over them and guiding them through life. Her children have cherished the thoughtfulness and love that she put into choosing our names and have carried on this tradition with their own children. 

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