Monday, December 19, 2011

Missing Aimee

Today is December 19, 2011. It's the one year anniversary of my father-in-law Terry's passing after a three year battle with cancer. But now it's something even more. It's the day after my wife died in a tragic accident.

Aimee, our daughter Rowan (3 1/2 years old), Aimee's mom Donna, her brother Justin and his wife Caroline and I all came down to the Florida Keys to have a celebration in honor of Terry's life. Part of what Aimee hoped to do was go scuba diving, something she's always wanted to do. Since Justin and Caroline had been diving for several months, they encouraged her to go, and yesterday Aimee took her beginning skills class. After she was finished, Caroline joined her and some other people and they went out for two ocean dives.

I don't know exactly what happened yet, but at some point after a dive, Aimee was back on the boat when it began to take on water and capsized. Aimee was trapped under the boat, and they were unable to rescue her in time.

Thankfully, Caroline was not hurt.

I don't know exacly what I'm going to do with this blog yet, but I was thinking that when I get filled up with emotion and anger and sadness and whatever, I'll post some of it here. I also want to ask others to post their thoughts and experiences here if they moved to do so. Blogger doesn't seem to easily let people log in our create profiles, but if you'll just sign your names to your comments, I'd love to hear from you.


  1. I've been in disbelief since reading Pat's FB post this morning about Aimee's passing. Seriously, I just cannot believe it. My heart truly breaks for Pat, Rowan, Donna, Justin and his family. One day, I'm reading about Pat's family vacation in Florida, the next, I'm reading about Aimee tragically dying. I have known Pat for a couple of years and met Aimee for almost the same amount of time. In October, I had major surgery and Aimee was one of the first people to reach out to my family and offer her help. Anything... Watching my children, getting us groceries, whatever. She displayed such a giving and selfLESS heart. Aimee and Pat visited me a couple of times recently and each time, she reiterated her offer to help my family however she could. I will miss her smile and caring spirit. Our church family suffered a HUGE LOSS today. But, even though I don't understand why God allowed this to happen, my heart clings to His promises that He is in control and eternity is so much bigger than the temporary life we currently see. I thank God for the HONOR of knowing such a godly woman. ~Joe Monto

  2. Please accept my condolences on your loss Pat. I am so deeply touched to read your blog today and I am so sorry to learn about the tragic accident which caused the death of your beloved wife. I pray the Lord will bring his Peace that surpasses all understanding upon you and your family right now in your hour of need. Praying with Joe for you and your family. May the Lord uphold you in his strength at this time.

  3. Thank you for setting up this blog Pat, Aimee always told me that writing down thoughts and feelings is a great way for healing.
    Throughout these few years I have gotten the chance to build a close relationship with you and your family. Aimee and I have grown especially close since I left for college and have been able to send emails back and forth frequently and spend one on one time with her quite often through visits on weekends. Aimee was an amazing woman of God and she just cared so much. She was a loving mom and wife and has taught me how to love with no bounds. I was inspired by her, I admired her as a woman I could look up to and try to grow up to be like. I cannot express how much my heart breaks for the loss of Aimee and for the pain your family is feeling. I will miss her forever and cannot wait to see her again in heaven. Rest in peace Aimee, I love you!

    <3 Sarah

  4. Pat -My heart is breaking for you and your dear sweet family. I can only imagine the shock, anger, and frustration(s) you might be experiencing. I am in shock as well, and at times angry that I won't be able to talk and see my friend, Aimee, at church or at our play dates. I am sad that Aimee will never know (in this earthly realm) how much she touched my heart. She loved the Lord and it showed. He was displayed in her attitude, character, and through her love she showed her friends and family. She loved you all very much, and it was apparent. When she came over for a play date, we had heart-to-heart talks, and she was always making sure to pour her love into Rowan and get down on her level and play. She inspires me to want to love more, and to be selfless and love others more. Just like Jesus. I am sad her earthly body is gone, but I rejoice that I will someday get to meet her in heaven. I will tell her just how special she was, and that she inspired me to be a better mother and person. "I will miss you Aimee!" -My love and prayers to your entire family. - Sara Thomas

  5. Our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers to your family. Aimee was an angel here on Earth as she is in Heaven. We love you and sweet Rowan. May God hold you tightly in His grip during this incomprehensible time of sadness.
    Nikki O'Brien and Family

  6. Though I've never met any of you, I cry with you brother.

    Father, be near.

    Dominick Antolino

  7. Pat,

    I have not had the pleasure of meeting you nor Aimee. I work on the 30HF team at World Vision and this is how I heard of your loss. My heart is broken for you and sweet little Rowan & I will be praying for you both as well as those who knew your beautiful wife. God stays close to those who are hurting, and there is no doubt he is with you now more than ever. Stay strong Pat and know there are thousands who are loving and praying for you and your family. Even those you've never met.

    My sincere and deepest condolences,
    Hilary Hilpert

  8. Pat,
    I am still in disbelief. I have been sitting in my cubicle remembering your wedding day, the first time I saw Rowan, and so many other memories. My heart is broken for your loss. Please call if I can do anything to help. I am happy to sit for Rowan anytime you need it.
    Love you,
    Laurie Humphreys

  9. There are no words, Pat. Just know that Aimee is in paradise and you will one day be reunited with her and our heavenly Father. Until that day, know that you are loved and there will be many answers coming in the years ahead to the many questions that you have now.

    God bless you, brother.

    Steve Bartlett

  10. Although Aimee and I were not close friends, I too have a heavy heart. I didn't attend school at Milan, but I went to alot of the programs and activities there, because my cousins went to Milan school.
    I always thought Aimee Richmond was the smartest little girl I'd ever met, and named my own 17 year old daughter "Aimee", after her. I remember how I excitedly explained to my husband why I liked the name before he agreed to let me spell her name in such a unique way.
    Aimee Richmond never knew of her "namesake", but every time my daughter reaches a goal, I think of her, and how she inspired me.
    I wanted to share this with you although Aimee never even knew. I'm sure she does now and is smiling down on her from Heaven, as well as you and Rowan. :)
    My prayers go out to you and your family.

  11. I only met Aimee at our all-Hyak reunion, Pat, but Mary had told me that she was sweet and nice and beautiful inside and out. Mary was, of course, right. Aimee was a lovely woman and the love she had for you and Rowan was evident in everything she did and said. It was wonderful to see you both so happy. I'm glad I got to meet her that one time.

    And how long have we been Facebook friends? A couple of years, anyway. And I don't think you've ever mentioned Aimee without referring to her as your amazing and beautiful wife.

    I hope this blog and the comments bring you some comfort. I can't begin to imagine what you're going through, but do know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers.

  12. That last one was me, Jen Vroom, FYI.

  13. Thanks so much to everyone who has posted here so far. As hard as this is, seeing the impact she made on people has its own special comfort.


  14. This news has left both Andy and me stunned. When a person passes it is always sad but losing Aimee in this way is tragic to say the least. It is not only how unexpected this was but even more startling the person that we lost. I am not sure Aimee knew the admiration that I had for her. She was one of those people that you wanted to be around because she made you feel comfortable in your own skin, was so much fun and had a smile that radiated. She was accepting, thoughtful and pure to the core. I know people are often idolized after they are gone but she was truly a person I admired in life. We lost a true light and I am so sorry for your loss. Rowan is a beautiful girl and I have no doubt that she carries her Mother's attributes with her. As someone who also lost my Mother at a young age, my heart aches for Rowan. As a Mother now, my heart aches for Aimee. As a friend, my heart aches for you Pat. Please let us know if there is anyway we can help support your family.

  15. Pat,

    I'm so, so sorry for your tremendous loss. My deepest sympathy to you at this time of sorrow. Although it's difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow. My prayers are with you, your daughter, and your family.

    Cindy Muelken (Polzin)

  16. Pat, I was just informed about this by coworkers and now I've read the blog. I'm stunned and saddened.

    I know that Nathan and Becky will want to know, so I've got a call in to them. They really liked you and Aimee and will be very sad.

    Please know that we love you and are praying for you!

    - Larry (& Darlene)

  17. Pat,
    We just got home from a mini family vacation ourselves...I am stunned and in disbelief. My heart aches for your family. May our Ever Faithful God surround you with His love and peace right now. Praying for you. Kathy G.

  18. Pat, stunning, My prayers are with you and your child. Amy was amazing, she was helping me thru a situation that i have not been able to resolve for my entire adult life and it was working. My daughter had babysat for you two and her heart is breaking for you. I actually had an appt tom at 6 and texted on Sunday to cancel. Holiday crazy. The best to you and your child. Sean B. Fox

  19. Aimee touched so many lives. She was a dear friend and partner in caring for souls. Her positive spirit and open heart have been a continue inspiration to me as I seek to serve people. It is still unreal, but I am grateful that I will see her again. She is in the arms of her Savior. She smiles with Jesus even as we grieve. Thank you Lord for the gift of walking with her!

  20. Pat and Rowan,

    Although we have never crossed paths, I knew Aimee through my cousin Emily Ginder Martin. During high school and after we shared many memories. Aimee taught me so very much about life and was such a kindred spirit. Her positive attitude and caring for other people continues to influence me daily. I appreciate and I am grateful for these lessons. May God's peace be with you and Rowan.

  21. Dear Rhoads family- Our hearts, thoughts and hugs go out to you all for your recent loss of a terrific mom, wife and daughter in a sudden, tragic accident. We remember Aimee as a beloved mom with a HUGE smile and heart of gold that frequenly brought Rowan to our Gymboree classes. We cry along with your family as we remember what a great woman she was. Hugs to you all!
    The Gymboree Play & Music of Federal Way teaching staff (Miss Lucinda, Miss Anne and Miss Becky)

  22. Pat - we used to work together at WV, and saw this link through mutual friends on FB. My heart aches for you - I am so sorry for your loss. I know there is nothing I can say to provide any comfort during this hard time, but I just wanted to let you know that my thoughts are with you and I'll be praying for you and your little girl.

  23. Pat - You don't know me, I live in Tavernier, Fl. just South of Key Largo. I wanted to post to let you know how sorry myself and our community are to have had this tragedy happen to Aimee.
    Last night at our candlelight service you and your family were raised up in our prayers. May God be with your family as Aimee is with him now.

    In Christ,
    Gary Mace

  24. Gary,
    Thanks so much for the prayers and thoughts from your church and community. Through various channels, I've heard and seen a lot of support from people in the Key Largo area and the scuba diving community. It does really mean a lot.

    If you've read some of the comments on the various posts, you'll get an idea about the type of person Aimee was - compassionate and sincere to a degree most of us marveled at. She touched so many people, was such a sweet spirited person, went out of way to help people in need, and was an INCREDIBLE wife, mother, daughter, and sister. The hole left in our lives will never be filled. But even through this, I have faith that some kind of good will come of this. And make no mistake, we are so relieved and grateful that six others got off the boat physically unharmed (including Aimee's sister-in-law), and that the seventh appears likely to recover.

    Again Gary, I thank you for the support for me, our daughter and Aimee's family.

  25. Thank you for this blog, Pat.
    I read it weeping...
    I agree: Aimee was (and is) one of the rare few who truly shine and illuminate our lives. Her radiant smile, her honesty and optimism, her faith and compassion are truly unmatched!
    Aimee and I worked at Calvary Lutheran together, and we ran into each other about once a week. Seeing her smile, hearing her friendly words of greeting or having a short conversation about the challenges and joys of motherhood were bright spots in my day! Aimee shone like a star or a ray of sunshine! In the short time that Aimee and I had together, she impacted my life, so I can imagine how much more joy she brought to those who were blessed to know her better!

    I just heard the news, but will certainly be at the memorial tonight.

    Julia Corbett

  26. Dear Pat, just read about your loss. Best wishes for you and your daughter. Hope it helps to know we are all souls and as a soul, Aimee is still here although she left her body. Love, Elza

  27. I am so, so sorry to hear of your wife's death. I won't even pretend to know what to say other than you and your beautiful daughter are in our prayers. Kim

  28. Hi Pat
    I too have just read about your sad loss.

    I don't know what to say or if anything I do say could help but one thing I have experienced recently is the amazing amount of love that exists in our online communities and it is apparent both you and Aimee were and are truly loved.

    Aroha (love)


  29. Hey Pat, sorry to hear about the loss of your wife. I can't even imagine... I'm praying for you, bro.

  30. Dear Pat,

    I am reading this after seeing a post in our FB Ave group. I am at a loss for words. Your dear wife was taken in what seems to be a random and tragic accident. I am filled with a sense of sorrow for you and your young daughter as well as your brother, his wife, and your mother in law. Life is so unpredictable, so fragile, so random at times.

    I wish you comfort and peace. You will remain in my thoughts and prayers.

    Wendy Cobrda

  31. Dear Pat:

    You don't know me at all but I read of your wife's tragic and sudden passing in one of the Empire Avenue Facebook groups.

    Please accept my condolences. My first husband passed away very suddenly 10 years ago - so I do know what it is like to go from living your life one moment, and having it changed the next.

    I think you are right about posting to your blog and then being able to go back to read it. I still have all the cards and notes people sent to me, and I still find it comforting from time to time to take them out and read them.

  32. Pat,

    We are very sorry for your loss. We met Aimee several years ago when my wife and I decided to seek marriage counseling. We met with several counselors and felt that Aimee was the best fit for us. We would see her at least once a week and sometimes more. It was a very difficult time in our marriage as we struggled through the typical first year issues as well as other issues we were having. Aimee was great to work with. She helped us through some of the most difficult times we faced.

    Finally Aimee met with us a told us that we had reached the point where she had helped us as much as she could. She referred us to Brenda and Denny whom we started to see regularly for a couple years and still see today. We had a session with them this evening, which is how we heard this news. My wife and I were both shocked and saddened to hear what had happened.

    We just wanted to write and say what a great person we thought she was and what kind of impact she had. My wife and I have a strong and loving marriage that we continue to work at grow. Much of that credit goes to Aimee. If it were not for the work she did with us and referring us to Brenda and Denny I am not sure we would have made it together.

    Though we have never met, it is easy to tell by reading through this blog, that you are an amazing person and your daughter has a wonderful daddy.

    Brian and Deann Holliday