Dear Pat

Dear Pat,

As I write this, I envision you dancing among the angels.. but in reality you are probably sitting in a tree stand with your arrow pulled back and your eye on a 10 point buck. Where ever you are, I know it’s a place more beautiful than here on earth. A place far away, past the clouds and among the stars.. a place where there is no pain or suffering.

I’m so sad to say I didn’t get to know you better over the past 20 years.. you were quiet and I’ve never been good at striking up conversation with people.. and so we just hugged hello and goodbye and went about our days.. and then Parkinson’s disease took over your body. And one day, as I was saying “goodbye and see you soon”, you replied, “not soon enough” and a piece of my heart broke.. because I realized that our simple hellos and goodbyes were more than just formalities.. you actually enjoyed spending time together. How terrible it took me 20 years to realize.

But despite all this, there is one thing I’ve always known about you and that is how much you loved my grandmother.

I remember thinking when I was about 12 years old how strange it was for my grandmother to be getting married.. who gets married in their 60s?! Turns out, lots of people and I was a naïve kid! But so many years later and I think you were the best thing that happened to her.. You made her smile like she was a teenage again. Together you went on so many adventures. You were her camping partner, car racing and snowmobile sidekick and, most importantly, her companion and best friend.

As Parkinson’s took over more and more of your body, I watched a love story that sad movies are written about.. one that I hope, if god forbid I am ever in the same situation, I can emulate. A love that never waivered, despite how difficult times had become. A dedication to a promise made many years before. “…through good times and bad… through sickness and in health… ’til death do us part…” You married one of the strongest woman I know.. she stayed by your side and took care of everything until your time to leave us all had come.

As you watch from somewhere among the skies, please be at ease. She will not be alone. We will continue taking her on those adventures (although probably not the car racing ones). We will continue to make her laugh and love life until you can be together again.

Now, drink all the Budweiser you want, hunt until your heart’s content, race your Camaro at the speed of light, snowmobile through the clouds and rest in the sweetest peace.

Love,

Jessica

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