Pat’s class of accelerated nursing students are graduating this Sunday. The kids and I will be there to receive the diploma in Pat’s place.  Back in May, Pat had the opportunity to wear a cap and gown and participate in IUSB’s main graduation ceremony, although he wasn’t really done with his nursing yet.  He chose to take part in the ceremony so our kids could witness it and see how his hard work paid off.  This Sunday is his “real” graduation.

With nursing classmates Delora and Becky
With nursing classmates Delora and Becky

This is one of the hardest aspects of Pat’s death. We’ve been living with my parents for the last 3 years while Pat worked his darnedest to excel in school. He spent many hours away from home to ensure he didn’t just “pass”–he was determined to become a very knowledgeable nurse. We were counting down the days to graduation–it was so close, we could almost touch it.

One of Pat’s last emails expressed his excitement to get a regular nursing job, possibly working weekends or nights, and have lots and lots of time to spend with me and the kids! I couldn’t wait either–it’s like the last 3 years were our family’s sacrifice for what comes after Pat’s graduation. We were kind of on hold, waiting to restart as a regular, independent family.

It’s all been taken away from me and the children. All because someone chose to drive after drinking too much.

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  1. Paul_Jenny

    Hi Nancy,

    I am excited and proud for graduating. It is a bittersweet feeling though. I will miss Pat being there to go through it with our class.

    I must admit I had trouble focusing after Pat left. I felt myself going through the motions of everyday life and not getting done what I knew needed to get done. If it were not for my wonderful wife and the thought of Pat's inspiration, I would still be floating through life. I could here Pat asking me what the heck I was doing. His words of encouragement in my mind helped me to re-focus and make it across the finish line. Pat was more than a friend, he was an inspiration to me. I will treasure both.

    Peace and respect,


  2. Pam Lawrence

    Hi Nancy,

    What an amazing tribute…Patricks picture on the hearts of his classmates. I am continually moved by the details of your story.

    I am also a "non-conventional" student. 43 and in college to make a better life for my family.

    We have made many of the same sacrifices I'm sure you have made in the past 2 years.

    Money is tough to come by, but I really, really, really wanted to provide funds to help Tommy and your kids get that tree I suggested.

    I'm excited to tell you that my 9 year old daughter Caitlin has solved the problem.

    We are planning a garage sale and it was her idea to donate the money to you for that tree, so it's a deal! We will send you the check C/O Key Bank.

    I truly wish I could do more, but in our little way, we get to help.

    I hope you had lots of smiles today.

  3. Adam Fink

    Aunt Nancy,
    I love you so so so so much. I have spent so much time praying for you guys ever since the accident. I have been watching the videos on youtube. When I watch them I start crying. I love you guys so much and remember we are always in your hearts.


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