Sunday, January 15, 2012

The miracle of love

I struggled with what to name this post. There really isn't a silver lining to Aimee's death. No 'upside', if you will. It just sucks, period. But that doesn't mean there haven't been some really good things that have happened over the past four weeks.

First of all, people came from everywhere to be a support to us. When we (me, Rowan, and Aimee's family) all got back from Florida, we were in shock and an incredible amount of pain. And there was so much to do and take care of (for me, at least, there still is). But we were not without help. God no. I got home at about 2:15am Tuesday night, and by 10am the first visitors arrived at my house. And with the exception of Christmas night, I wasn't at home alone (not counting Rowan) for the first two weeks. People brought food. People brought gifts. People watched Rowan, ran errands, cleaned up my house. There were people everywhere, and even more who wanted to help but couldn't because they were too far away or there was nothing left for them to do. I tear up just thinking about how well we were loved (and still are, I know).

Then donations started coming in. We asked people to contribute to one of two causes in lieu of flowers (see here for what the options were), and people responded with generosity that would have made Aimee proud. I know I was and am deeply touched by peoples' response. But it hasn't just come from our friends and family. The story of what has happened to our family, and the type of person Aimee was, has touched people who never even knew any of us. The result? To date, $2400 has been donated to World Vision and nearly $5000 contributed to Rowan's college fund. And as I indicated, some of those contributions have come from people we've never even met. Amazing.

Some of the stories are truly wonderful. Like when I opened an envelope I received from some folks in Florida who heard about the incident through local sources and send a card and a check. Or an organization I had worked with years ago but had no contact with since who heard about it and sent a check, plus a book for me to read to Rowan about a child who loses a parent and wants to know what heaven is like so they'll know that their parent is ok. Or the company that my mom works for, who also made a donation in Aimee's honor. Today I picked up a quilt from my church's office that one of the women in the church made for her.

Then there are poeple like Sarah, an old babysitter of Rowan's who watched her (for free) so many days those first two weeks so I could gets things done, even though she had her own grief to deal with (she was good friends with Aimee, plus had a number of other tragic losses in her life recently). Or our friends Nancy and Buck. They watched Rowan a couple of times, plus Nancy was really there for Donna on anumber of really key situations, such as when she went in to view Aimee's body the day after the memorial. And then of course my family, who practically moved into my house in shifts the first week and helped me with, well, everything.

Then there are my colleagues at work. Right off the bat my boss told me, "Don't worry about anything. Your work is covered. Your pay is covered. Take care of yourself and let us know how we can help." My work is getting done and I'm still collecting a paycheck while I try and put my life back together? Hell, I don't need ANY more than that. They gave more anyway. The entire organization chipped in to start paying a cleaning serice to help me out for a bit. Um, yeah, I do like where I work, thank you very much.

Finally, there was Rowan's preschool (St. Nicholas Montessori), who knew I'd need more childcare and was losing nearly half of the family income. So they offered to take Rowan up to full time (she was going three days a week) plus as much before care and after care as I needed, at NO COST. (I thought it was at no ADDITIONAL cost, but when I made my payment this month I heard about it later - they don't want me to pay.)

I could go on and on. So many people rallying around us in so many ways. I've mentioned some here, but there've been many more (Debbie, Pat & Nikki, the folks at Three Trees Yoga Studio, staff and members of Calvary Chapel South and St. Luke's Lutheran, etc, etc, etc).

I would never, ever wish for something like this to happen, but it did - I can't change that. But at least I had just a huge amount of support coming from all directions. I am humbled at the amount of love I've received. I am EXTREMELY grateful to so many people, I've accrued debts I can never repay but which I promise to try and pay forward if I can.

On behalf of Rowan and myself, and all of Aimee's family, I humbly thank each and every one of you. May God richly bless you all.


  1. Thanks as always for sharing your journey, both the highs and the lows.. I can physically feel the love that is surrounding you and Rowan.....suzanne

  2. I'm glad so many people are helping you Pat. I can't imagine having to go through what you are going through without help. I spent most of last year dealing with my parents estate, including trying to get their house ready to sell, after my mom died in Dec. That was more than bad enough. Also, I was wondering if you had contacted Social Security to see if you would be able to get benefits for Rowan. I would think because Aimee worked that she would be covered. Just a thought. I hope you have a nice week. Watch out out for the snow.