Friday, December 23, 2011

"Daddy Look! Mommy's home!"

I arrived home from Florida Tuesday night (actually 2:15 Wednesday morning), and things have been a whirlwind since then, so I haven't had a chance to write. But it's been good, no, great having so many friends and loved ones here in person and in spirit. But now, late on Friday, I have a little time to take a deep breath and share one of the hardest moments since we arrived home. And it was within the first minute.

Aimee's car
Before our trip, whenever I'd have Rowan in my car, we'd look for Aimee's car in the driveway as we pulled in. So if I was bringing Rowan home from school or the store, if Aimee's car was in the driveway I'd say "Rowan, look!" And she'd see the car and say, "Mommy's home!"

Before I go on, I need to tell you that lately, when Rowan says something incorrect or wrong, she stops herself and says, "Oh, I'm just being silly" or "I'm just kidding." I think it's her way of not being wrong, playing it off as intentional silliness.

So back to coming home. When I was pulling into the driveway late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I saw Aimee's car in the driveway (we'd taken mine to the airport). Of course, I didn't say anything about it to Rowan. But when I got her out of her car seat and started carrying her towards the house, she turned her head and saw Aimee's car. "Daddy, look! Mommy's home!" As she turned back to me I saw the almost immediate correction cross her face as she realized that of course Mommy wasn't home. Before I even had a chance to respond, she said, initially with just a small smile, "Oh, I'm just being si-" The 'silly' was cut off as she suddenly burst into sobs, dropping her head onto my shoulder. It was the hardest she'd cried since when I first told her about Aimee's death by the pool of the vacation house in Florida.

We stood there in the dark, cold driveway for a few minutes, both of us crying next to Aimee's car. I whispered to her that it was ok, that I missed Mommy too. I acknowledged her being sad, and told her I was sad tjust like she was. And after a minute she gathered herself together, looked at me with the same look she'd given me after I told her about Aimee's death initially, and we went inside.

Has it been hard to be at home?
I've had a few people ask me if it's been hard being back in the house. There are pictures of Aimee everywhere. Her clothes and other personal effects cover the house. We bought the house together, painted it together, made it a home together. Has it been hard to be here?

Strangely, no. I don't know why, but seeing all of her things hasn't had an impact on me. I can look at photos of her and not break down into tears. I unpacked the suitcases from the trip today and washed her clothes with mine, and it felt no different than washing clothes two weeks ago. I don't know why this is, though I think part of it is that I'm still somewhat in a state of shock. But in any event, being here in the house is not difficult, at least not yet. And I'm relieved by that. Because this is Rowan's home too, and I want her life to be as normal as possible to the best I can make it that way. Same schedule, same routines, etc. The biggest thing in her life has changed - her mommy is gone - so I want as much else in her life to be stable. That includes her home.

Now, we'll see what happens after the shock wears off.


  1. Dear Pat,
    I know that God is giving you his incredible strength right now because...Rowan needs it. In His time, he will give you the times to release and break down...because you need it. And when you do, we will be there in spirit, prayer and person.
    Nikki O'Brien and Family

  2. I'm so happy Rowan had you Pat. You are such an amazing dad, and she absolutely adores you. We are all still praying for you both! Love you guys!

  3. I appreciate that you are using this blog as a way to work through things. I am crying right along with you reading about Rowan's reaction to seeing the car.

  4. After each of your posts with my heart aching I go to Him who is The Healer and Restorer and lift you and Rowan up in to His light. I'm sure all who know God are moved in this way. It is His Hand on you that mellows the pain. His word advises that death has no sting and you are experiencing His Truth first hand. Keep close to Him and keep Rowan safe in the shadow of His wings. You are blessed to know God in this way Pat.
    Loving you. Praying.

  5. Pat & Rowan........
    As I sit here this morning, reading the blog, I think back, to years of what seems so long ago, and I know Rowan has (not had)a wonderful kind loving mother, Aimee will always be with Rowan, no matter where the little gal is at, same with you Pat. My heart breaks for you all, I will always keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. There is a precious Savior...who came to save us all...with the gift of eternal life. Aimee is with him now...and as a community of believers, I pray that you would know we lift you and Rowan up. May the love that is Christ surround you, comfort you and give you hope. May Aimee's love and light be very present to you as you celebrate Christmas. Her wonderful gifts of love, laughter, mercy and grace. She is with you always...and forever she shall remain in all of our hearts. God Bless You dear Pat and Rowan.

  7. I am so sorry this happened. I've never been on that boat but I have heard nothing good about it. There is a lot of finger pointing but unfortunately, that won't bring your wife back.

    We are discussing the tragedy on ScubaBoard:

    Pete "NetDoc" Murray

  8. Thanks so much for the sweet and encouraging comments everyone. I am definitely comforted reading these at the end fo the posts.

    Pete, thanks for sending the board link, although one of my sisters, in a quest for more info, found this the day after the accident. I couldn't read it at first, but I read a bunch of the posts a few days ago. I did see that people knew about the problems that boat had well in advance, but hindsight bears little relevence at this point. In any event, it was nice to see how close-knit the community there is, and how this incident seemed to really impact people there. We do truly appreciate all the heartfelt condolences that have been offered there to date.