Sarah's Words of Remembrance about Patricia Holmes

Words of Remembrance

Delivered at Patricia Holmes's funeral by her granddaughter, Sarah Woods

March 26, 2022

Good morning and thank you joining for us for us today. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Patricia’s first granddaughter, Sarah Woods. Reflecting on Grandmom’s life in order to write these words, while sad, was a pleasurable journey to relive the memories of her wonderful and well-lived life. There is a lot to admire about my grandmother, but what I admire most is her love for God, her love for family and her spark for life that was unmatched by anyone I ever met.

Speaking of sparks, Grandmom and Grandpop had a love for the ages. With those two, there was no beginning or end, they were just one. When Grandmom and Grandpop met, it was love at first sight. They met at a dance club called Chez Vous. Grandpop wrote a beautiful story reflecting on his life-long search for Patricia, which describes their first encounter perfectly. Grandpop states, “One minute after I got through the doorway, Patricia and I were standing face to face. She had been waiting patiently for me. It was utopia…After that the two of us became one person and we stayed that way”. This was the start of a beautiful love and a life-long partnership.

Their partnership produced two successful businesses, one bachelor’s degree and countless travel experiences. Grandmom, John and I were at Penn State at the same time. Instead of majoring in business, which would have been faster because Grandmom already had her associates degree, Grandmom (or I should I say Grandmom and Grandpop) majored in English. Grandmom said she wanted to experience the classics, understand the world and enrich her mind. We were privileged to witness Grandmom and Grandpop huddled together analyzing and writing essays on tales such as Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. They performed well and eventually graduated, at almost 80, beating John and I to a Penn State diploma by one year.

Grandmom and Grandpop’s great love led to 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren (and another on the way). Grandmom poured so much of herself into making memories with her family. One of her favorite activities was spending vacations in Ocean City with her children and grandchildren. She loved the beach, taking walks on the Boardwalk, playing shuffleboard, staying at the Tahiti Inn and most of all having her family all in one place. Grandmom certainly had her ‘Grandmomisms’ many of which we witnessed down the shore. We would be eating turkey sandwiches on the beach and what would come out of Grandmom’s mouth, ”Everything tastes better down the shore”. You could also count on Grandmom to let you know just how many days you had left on your vacation before you had to go back to work. “Patty Ann, just think, in three days you’ll be back to work.”

In many ways, Grandmom was before her time. She was taking videos and documenting life through pictures decades before the iPhone or social media came around. She has home videos from her wedding and her honeymoon, if not even earlier. For reference, she got married in 1959. That’s not to say that Grandmom didn’t have a cell phone, computer and iPhone as soon as they came out. She was more technologically savvy that most people half her age.

If you have ever been to Grandmom’s house you saw how every inch of wall in her dining room is filled with pictures of her children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren. From school pictures to graduations and weddings, it was all documented for her to see and appreciate each and every day. Another quote from grandpop’s memoir was “We will wait expectantly for the day that we are introduced to our first great-grandchild.” Well, they did that and more.

If you called Grandmom on Sunday, the first thing you could except to hear, before ‘hello’ mind you, was “What mass did you get to?” Grandmom’s whole life - her marriage, family, spark for life - are all a reflection of her faith and mirrored God’s love for us. Grandmom was very involved in the church as a Eucharistic minister and getting to mass for as long as she was physically able, at which point she started watching mass on TV. She said the rosery every day and loved when other people joined her in-person or over the phone. Emulating Jesus, she was very forgiving. She could ignore people’s faults and see the Godliness in everyone. The grace of God was reflected in all aspects of her life. It is what anchored her. That same strength will help all of us heal as we work through our grief over her loss.

Grandmom left each of us with a lifetime of memories that we will continue to treasure as we go about our days ahead. For me, it’s the little things I’ll miss, like when we would sit together and hold hands or she would say my name in her ‘sing-songy’ voice. Don’t worry, I won’t try to imitate it. These little moments were special, because we spent them together. Rest in peace Grandmom, until we are together again.