It’s Raining…It’s Pouring

Since Patrick’s accident, Michiana has experienced some of the most beautiful summer weather I’ve ever noticed.  This week it started raining and didn’t stop until it reached record rainfall levels this weekend.

The last few months my family’s life has had that metaphorical record rainfall–we’ve seen pets die, Pat die, Carston die.  A few weeks ago a tiny baby squirrel fell from his tree nest at Joey’s feet and died after several long hours of our constant nurturing vigilance.

Since Patrick’s death, my father’s health has deteriorated before our eyes.  The kids and I live with my mom and dad.  My dad, Jim Fink, has multiple myeloma, and it was a couple weeks after Patrick died that we learned my dad’s cancer had suddenly spread throughout his body.

Since then, my dad has gotten weaker and sicker each day.  Patrick and my dad were very close.  My dad, as a retired physician, mentored Pat through his nursing/medical studies.  When my dad was in the ICU a couple years ago, Pat stayed with him through many days and nights to nurse him back to health.  My dad was devastated when Pat died.

Today, my mother, sisters and I had to candidly talk to my dad about his dying and end-of-life issues.  My heart is sick.  My family is exhausted with grief.

I found in one of Pat’s journal an entry of how much my dad meant to him and our family.  He writes,

I will always see Jim as my greatest role model.

Pat was expecting to graduate as a nurse and nurse my dad when his time came.  My dad says he wants to see the Cubs win the pennant and see the outcome of this presidential election.

This Post Has 2,208 Comments

  1. Kat Skipton

    Dear Nancy and Family,

    I just wanted to let you know that I’m still thinking about you and that I read your posts regularly. I am so sorry to hear that Dr. Fink has taken a turn for the worse, I have been concerned about him. If there is ever anything that I can do for you, please let me know.

  2. Mary Ann Annis

    Dear Nancy and Family,
    Just the last few days I was thinking of you, we met years ago (homeschooling connection) and I recalled your family was into Kayaking and I was looking for something to set up. You probably don’t remember me, however something about you always stuck with me, like I knew you somehow, or something familiar. Today I learned of Patrick’s accident, (reading a post ab bike benifit at HUB’s yahoo list) found myself here and very saddened for your famiy’s loss. Then reading this most recent post I think I have made the connection, I worked in Cardiac Rehab. could this be the same Dr. Fink. What a wonderful man.

    A reminder of how we are all connected. You will never know the ripple effect of Patrick’s life and actions, your father’s, your’s, just know we are all connected and with that all grieve with you and hope in some small way you feel comforted to know that many are inspired to live life to it’s fullest and to live it with respect and concern and time for others.

  3. hathomas

    i cannot believe i just wrote this letter. i needed to share with someone who would understand, someone i could communicate with. here’s my “victim impact letter” sent to the great internet abyss. nancy, i’m still listening.

    Dear Judge Chamblee,

    I am still numb to the feeling that Patrick is no longer alive, no longer breathing. Numb that I am writing a letter for the trial of his death, his killing. I often sat behind him in the classroom along with the 10 other students in our graduating nursing class. I cannot fathom the buzz cut hiding his skull and brain being crushed in by a car driven by a young man too immature to realize the permanence of his decision to drive intoxicated.
    I am not really writing to suggest a punishment. There are some things for which a person should not expect to be forgiven. This is one of them. There is no forgiveness, just sadness and coping. You find yourself, Judge Chamblee, in a position so profound. You decide the destinies of those around you every day. I consider you more apt than I to come up with a fair worldly punishment. I have not yet forgiven this man, however, do bear in mind, I remind myself daily that he still has no idea the impact of his decisions. His brain cannot even process it fully; I can’t process it fully.
    I am writing, however, to beg you to remember my friend, Patrick, as a devoted father, an exemplary and dedicated nurse, a loving husband, an engaged member of society, and a friend. What Shane McGee has done does not change Patrick’s past impact, only his future possibilities. Is it possible that one day Patrick would have saved your son or daughter? Your friend? Your sister or brother? Your mother or father? It is the reality that we are all connected, all linked. With the loss of Patrick comes the loss of others he would have saved through his work in the hospital and in the community.
    My loss? The loss of a father figure. I have not yet discussed it with Patrick’s family and those closest to me, but I really lost a father. He counseled and consoled, educated and encouraged, listened and liberated. I don’t know what could better embody someone I would call a father. Without his advice, I sometimes feel lost. His perspective, irreplaceable. He loved life and shared that love for life with all around him. Tragic does not encompass our loss.

    Hannah Thomas, BSN

  4. Julie


    Thank you for writing your letter. I think it was very good. I am not very good with words, so I really appreciate those of you who are. You did a wonderful job.

    Julie- Nancy’s sister

  5. Angel Konkey

    What a beautiful and articulate letter from Hannah! I hope that Judge Chamblee will be very moved by your remarks and make whatever the right decision is. I especially like your point that Pat’s past influence will never be taken away. As Mary Ann pointed out, Pat’s influence will have a ripple effect on his wife, children, friends, family, classmates, and community forever. I hope it brings Nancy and the children at least a little comfort.

    Keep paddling, Nancy, for you, your kids, and Pat.

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