To say that Patrice Marie Haggerty (August 24, 1954 - July 3, 2016) was an exceptional human being would be a profound understatement. She was a devoted wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and grandmother. Her physical beauty was only humbled by her inner beauty. She loved and was loved. And all those whose lives she touched have an incurable void in their lives as a result of her death. Her sense of joy and humor are greatly missed.
In the fall of 2014, Patrice first started to experience the superficial symptoms of what would be diagnosed a year later as Creutzfelt-Jakob Disease (CJD) - momentary memory lapses, short bits of unprompted anxiety, slight weakness, slight decreases in stamina, etc. By the spring of 2015, these symptoms had progressed to a point where she was actively aware that she might have a neurological problem. And by the summer of that year, two CAT scans revealed the ongoing destruction of her brain as s result of the malformed prions characteristic of CJD. It was not until late summer that her diagnosis was confirmed and her hopeless prognosis became undeniable.
Despite her terminal diagnosis, Patrice made the most of what little time she had left. She bravely faced her impending death without self-pity, anger or regret. Instead, she gleefully ate all the ice cream and donuts that she wanted, making up for years of rationing such treats. Patrice often spent her final months laughing at the absurdity of her increasing dependence on others as the effects of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (brain deterioration leading to increasing physical and mental paralysis) took hold at an accelerating rate. In a November 2015 interview, she stated that the only real regret that she had was that she wouldn't get to see her then two year-old granddaughter, Emma, grow up (and subsequently never know her grandson who was born three-and-a-half months after her death): "I think I was too spoiled in my life; that's why I'm going soon."