Friday, March 26, 2010
We received some very hard news last Tuesday, March 16th. Chris' brother, Patrick, died from a heart attack at the age of 34. Shocking does not quite describe the magnitude of the news as it hit our hearts and our minds. Tears, twisted stomachs, eyes that stare in disbelief, unable to form words with our normally fluent mouths. Our hearts felt like they were twisted and torn apart as the reality of the situation sank in.
We flew to Orlando, Florida where Chris' family was gathering at Patrick's apartment to mourn the loss of their son and brother and plan his memorial.
Needless to say, it's been a very difficult time with waves of heartache sweeping over each of us at different times. I'm writing a few posts on this blog to share with you my precious memories of Patrick, my brother. Although I'm technically Patrick's sister-in-law, he always made me feel like his sister. And to say "brother-in-law" sounds far too distant for the heartache that I feel inside.
My most cherished memory by far of Patrick was when we took a trip to St. Simon Island, GA in the fall of 2003. Chris, Jeanne (their mom), Steve Bailey (also lived with us), Patrick, and I all went down there to meet with a family who was interested in learning about Chris' Make It Count Association for speaking about decision-making regarding drugs and alcohol. Patrick was moving into our home at the time and had many external pressures and circumstances that had backed him into a corner. While we were visiting we came back to the hotel to re-cap and to pray for the organization. We sat in a circle holding hands and while we prayed Patrick began to cry and began to ask Jesus to come save him. He told God that he knew he couldn't live this life alone without Him anymore and that he desperately needed Him to come into his heart and his life. He surrendored his life to Jesus.
In the days and months that followed Patrick got a tattoo on his back of a sunrise, symbolizing that he was now living in a new day. A new life for him. A life with God.
And he played a song over and over and over every day. The song is listed below, called Only You by David Crowder Band. This song will forever remind me of Patrick and of his heart toward God.....to worship only Him.
It is witnessing this experience that gives me comfort in these current days with Patrick no longer being with us on earth. I have hope and peace in my heart knowing that "to be absent from the body is to be present with God." So I know that Patrick is now with our Lord and living in His light, life, and peace. May I be able to hold on to this image as the waves of pain crash over me when I feel the pain of missing him - missing his voice, missing his wit, missing his opinions, missing his face, missing his laugh, missing his hugs.