Wow.  Each morning I wake up with a renewed wound and fresh shock that my Patrick is not here.  He’s really not coming back, is he?

Lots of painful reminders surrounding me:

  • His piles of clothes as they come through the laundry.
  • His textbooks and school folders stacked neatly in our small room.
  • His well-known pick-up truck sitting on the driveway, naked without his “Destroyer” kayak on top
  • The utter silence of his voice in this house each and every day
  • His fitness training calendar/journal left unfinished with unmet sessions of running, paddling, lifting, swimming
  • Even the darned toothpaste tube!  All 6 of us crowded in one bathroom each night to brush our teeth.  Somehow, that tube was always straight and easy to dispense.  The last few weeks we have nothing but a crumpled mess of a tube.  Pat was diligent about those little things.
  • My daughter’s constant, “Why?!”,  “Why did he have to leave us?”
  • My son’s sobbing comment, “I’m going to live most of my life without having a Papa.”
  • All the hospital bills coming in…

It’s ironic that right now any vivid picture of Patrick, things he said, ways he’d hold me or the kids–I have to push away out of the sheer pain–but I know in a year or two those very same images I will be striving to bring to mind, to never forget.

The last few days I have been carefully reading through every single card, email, and comment that I have received from everyone Patrick knew.  Reading each one is sincerely uplifting.  So many of you care so deeply.  It means the world to me.  I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am to be able to lean back on this tightly woven spirit of friendship, concern, and support.

If anyone has good memories to share–anything even little, please add them to the comments!  I really want to know how Pat was everywhere, with everyone.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Sinane

    Nancy, let me share some of my memories of Pat. We were all at my parents’ house for some holiday and all the kids – my two, Andrea’s two and your four – were in the attic. Being accustomed to my two kids, I was a little dizzied by the noise and activity of eight all together and bustling about. While I was having trouble following the conversation while also tending to the kids, Pat seemed fully concentrated on and mindful of both. The grownups were talking about education (Eric about Chicago Public Schools, you and Pat about home schooling, Andrea and Jed about their kids’ private school). Pat was thoughtful, sharp-minded and reflective about all of his comments and questions. With his arms crossed, he would nod, gaze down in thought while simultaneously scanning the doings of the kids. He was totally engrossed in the conversation; but the instant some brouhaha went on with the kids, he was instantly there, talking firmly and clearly with the kids, navigating an appropriate solution.

    At Paddlefest several years ago, I just remember being impressed with Pat’s command. He was, once again, so aware of and responsive to EVERYTHING around him. He was directing things, organizing things, and also so tenderly responsive to any kid around him.

    My most vivid memory of Pat was his involvement with us when Dad was dying. Actually, I can’t separate out Pat from you with that experience as you were both so present, available, concretely informative and supportive in every way. I remember his hug every time he came to visit us at the hospital – strong, almost holding you up knowing that you wanted to crumple. He also listened intently to the medical situation as well as our emotional state, nodding, patting a hand and really, really listening. Then, at just the right time, he would ask a question and then explain some aspect of Dad’s medical care. I recall at one point, he was next to Dad’s bedside, looking down at him. Pat put his hand on Dad’s (Dad was paralyzed on his left side and could barely speak at this point). It’s still so moving to remember this… I felt like there was a flow between them. Pat taking in the full measure of my Dad, sending him whatever he had. And Dad was calmed and sent Pat something as well. A mystery.

    At each of these times, I see a man who was attentive to everything around him, bringing both a commanding presence and calm as well. This is what I remember.

  2. Norton

    Nancy, It has been a while since we talked! Unfortunately, it is under these circumstances that I am corresponding with you.

    Pat and I went through the Bricklayers apprenticeship together, as you well know. Even though he always seemed so serious once you got to know him he liked to have fun just like the rest of us.

    I don’t know if you were aware of the fact that Pat and I talked about starting our own company for a while. Due to both our devotion to our families we knew it would limit our time with them. So we didn’t. Family is much more important.

    I remember working on your roof over a holiday weekend, helping Pat brick a house on 23 so he could get it done. It was always about family with us.

    We always had fun when we worked together. Pat was a good man and a good friend.

    My families thoughts and prayers are with you.


  3. carolann19

    Nanvy and kids

    I can not imagine the pain you are experiencing but I can share with you my thoughts. We go to class and wish he was there. We speak of him often, especially the funny thins he said or did. I think this helps us deal with our feelings. Each day I think of him and check this site to see how others knew him. It reminds me that he was great. One time I missed classed because my son isaac was sick. I emailed the class to let them know where I was and Patrick emailed me back and told me to make him well so they could go on the river. Isaac is three. I always felt like he cared about each and everyone of us in our own way. I think back about some of the last conversations we had. It seemed I was always giving him a hard time about something, but he alwasy laughed and dished it back. He took my chair at the begining of the last class we had together and I made fun of him the rest of the time. He was so wonderful. he always wanted to know if the group wanted to study together and sometimes we did. But each time we would get off task and talk about a million other things. Patrick would stay for a bit and them tell us he needed to go study. ALthough he knew we would get off task he always offered to study with us. Nancy we are all lucky to have known Patrick becasue he has made each of us a better person. He will live on in all of us!
    Carol Valdez

  4. carolann19

    Sorry I wrote Nanvy instead of Nancy–sometimes I just can’t type

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