"My Aunt Pat is a pearl-handled pistol that shoots brisket and sass." I deleted everything else.
She was tough as nails, and probably the most kindly defiant person I've ever known. Nobody could tell her what to do. My aunt got married, for the first time, at 58, when her generation's average age for marriage was 21. She put herself through college. She was a prolific artist. She was a vandal. She was, in every possible way, good trouble.
She would stand up to anyone, but knew how to pick her battles. She was a rebel, hell-bent on looking out for the little guy. She could cuss a blue streak. She donated to charity to a fault. She was a polymath. She could write a sketch show, play guitar, and paint you a work of art.
In true Texas style, she'd call you "darlin'" if she liked you; she'd call you a no-good sum'bitch if she didn't.
She'd golf and read. She had a 160 IQ. Half her life she spent defying every person that told her she couldn't do something, and when she succeeded, she'd spend the rest of her life helping other people to do the same.
My aunt was the classic broad. She'd have a drink but wouldn't get drunk. She'd fight you for the check at dinner.
She was punk-rock - even if she didn't listen to it, she was incredibly punk-rock.
At her hospital bed, I'd daydream about her waking up - her first words being something to the tune of "what in the hell is this bullshit?" She never woke up, but every nurse and attendant got an earful of who she was. "You're aunt sounds awesome. I wish I could meet her". I wish you could too.
My aunt Pat was more than just a member of my family. She was my sister, my mom, my father, and most importantly, my friend. I don't know how or when she became my friend, but she did, and easily. Just as she did with so many other people she met in her life, and brought in, and cared for, and inspired.
She was even friends with my friends, and just like me, none of them could tell you exactly when it happened. Suddenly you just... were.
I don't think I'll ever be as good a person as Pat, but I don't think she'd want me to be; I think she'd want me to be as good as a person as I could be - whatever that is. Regardless, I know that it's impossible for this person to somehow no longer exist, held-dearly and painted indelibly in the hearts and minds of all the people she knew, loved, and cared for.
She was an inspiration in my life to be someone I wasn't, but knew I could be. She still is.
The reason I don't want comments on this post, is because this isn't about me, and Pat can't read your comments. I just wanted you to know that someone like this - larger than life, bigger than brass - walked on this earth and shared air with you. Maybe you see value in that, like I do. I hope so, if for nothing else, to be inspired by a pearl-handled pistol that shoots brisket and sass.
Famliy will be having a Zoom Ceremony at a later date.