Okay, I’ve spent the day looking at many pictures from Pat’s and my past.  What indescribable pain.

The night before Pat’s memorial services, all my extended family was gathered at my house (which is also my parents’ house) searching through my boxes of pictures for photos of Pat to display at the services.  It was a huge family process that I could not partake in.  Nieces, nephews, sisters- and brothers-in-law, brothers, sisters were all passing around stacks of photos to find Pat.  I know that all of Pat’s brothers and sisters and extended family were going through the same process down in Kokomo.

So, almost all existing photos of Pat have been found and displayed already.  Today, I went through the remaining pictures in the boxes and viewed my life with Patrick.  The remaining pictures were full of Pat’s memory–our wedding, our children’s births, our vacations, our holidays, our children’s developments.

Our wedding pictures really struck me.  I never put them in any special album, no scrapbooking pages.  Our wedding pictures had a familiar backdrop to pictures I recently viewed.  We were married at Little Flower Church with all our family and friends present.  Pat’s funeral service was at Little Flower Church with even more family and friends.

There’s a picture of my Dad doing a New Testament reading at our wedding.  Sixteen and a half years later there’s another picture of him doing a New Testament reading in the exact same spot, this time with the love and anguish of losing a newly-grown son.

At our wedding, Pat’s sister Mary and her children brought up the Eucharistic gifts.  At Pat’s funeral, his children and I brought up the gifts.  Most of his 41 nieces and nephews who dearly loved their “Uncle Pat” brought up daisies to place on his casket.  I just now looked at pictures from Pat’s funeral.  The suffering in the eyes of those who knew and loved him is tremendous for me.  Now I’m crying for the grief felt by so many people.

My sister Annie called me tonight and I completely broke down to her when I heard her voice.  Am I doing the right thing?  Should I be looking at pictures?  Am I experiencing the necessary feelings of the grief process or am I wallowing in grief?   I know time heals.  I also know that time erases.  Does getting better mean that I will forget?!!!  NOOOOO!!!

I’ve said that my kids have suffered enough.  Do they need to see their mother deteriorating?!  For their sake, I NEED to get better.

Looking through the pictures of my life with Patrick has certainly shown me that NOTHING stays the same.  This season of autumn is telling me that every single day.

I’m scared of what winter will show me.

This Post Has 3,137 Comments

  1. pbrunett

    Dear Nancy,

    I cannot imagine your pain because I’ve not experienced it myself. I have watched others close to me in your situation, and time does have a way of healing. My brother-in-law (Diana’s brother) died of cancer three years ago last month, which had a terrible impact on the family, especially Diana’s parents. They will never forget Duane, nor the pain of their loss, but you can see day-by-day their healing and ability to continue with the everyday activities.

    My wife’s family is very close and very supportive of one another, just as your family is. It is this familial love and support and your faith in God that will get you through this period. It might not be tomorrow or the day after, but I think that in time you will adjust to the “new normal” and the pain will subside – but the fond memories of Patrick will continue forever.

    You’re strong, smart and caring and surrounded by a great family – hang in there Nancy!

    Patrick Brunett


    My heart just aches for you. Don’t look for the “right” thing to do. There is no right or wrong. Just do whatever you can to get through the day. When looking at pictures or even remembering Patrick gets to be too much, back away. Just keep breathing deeply and loving your children. Everything else will fall into place because it just has to. It will. I check on you all the time and I don’t even know you. I’m just drawn to you because the love that radiates from this site is indescribable. Thank you for sharing your inner-most thoughts. I hope that it helps you.
    Betsy Wenz

  3. Pam Lawrence

    The build up of emotion knowing what sadness you are facing as you gaze through old pictures…then it hits and the dam breaks…flooded with tears

    Tears, tears, tears…why, why, why?

    But then…just like after a very heavy rainstorm, everything looks cleaner and brighter. You’ll realize that yes, it did happen, and no, they’re not coming home. But somehow that is now the new normal. And this will start to feel OK. You want to live through it and make it out the other end OK …and you will

  4. hathomas

    i love you so much nancy and am so sorry that you have to experience this pain! getting better doesn’t mean that you forget pat. pat will always be remembered in the bike fairs and nursing practice and paddlefests and friends and family. i think you are an amazingly brave and insightful person that is able to express your feelings, concerns, and emotions so well. time will unveil the secrets of coping and remembering simultaneously. i love you and am listening!

  5. shannonfay

    I’ve been thinking about you so much the past few days and just wanted to stop by and let you know that I pray for you often. You’re an amazing woman, Nancy. In the midst of your pain, in the freshness of everything you are dealing with, you reach out to make a difference in the world. You have impacted so many lives! You may feel so small and weak right now, but you are significant, and you are strong!

    Hang in there. Keep fighting to make a difference and in the mean time do what you need to do to take care of yourself as you continue to heal. Let yourself do whatever you need to to heal, and don’t ever think that you’ll forget. So much of who you are is because of who you and Patrick are as a couple. “What God has brought together let no man put asunder.” He will always be with you and your children. No one can take that away from you and no one can take away the foundation he has laid in your children’s lives.

    God bless you, Nancy. I pray you have a restful and healing week.

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