Monday, January 2, 2012

One last date night

On December 14, the whole clan drove down to Key West from our vacation house just outside Key Largo. The weather was gorgeous and the drive went pretty smoothly. We took two cars (neither rental would fit all six of us), which later would turn out to be advantageous to Aimee and I.

After arriving and eating lunch, we split into two groups. Donna, Justin and Caroline went to the Hemingway House, while Aimee and I took Rowan to a little museum about the history of the wrecking industry on Key West and then to the Aquarium. Both places offered a cool experience.

The museum used actors to share information about the historical significance of wrecking and salvage of ships near the Keys. Above the museum was a tower than went quite a ways up, offering great views of the town and the water. Rowan had fun ringing a bell up there, and the really strong breeze up there only slightly dampened all of our enthusiasm.

Aimee & Rowan outside
Key West Aquarium Dec. 14
The aquarium stop started with an employee standing outside with a large turtle that Rowan could touch, and I took Rowan's and Aimee's picture with it. Inside we were part of a tour that included everyone getting to pet the tail of a shark, feed some of the fish, and a simulated tide pool with real sea creatures that you could pick up and hold. These includes conchs, starfish, and others. Rowan had a blast.

We finished our tour with a stop at an ice cream shop, while the other group grabbed some key lime pie, and then we rendezvoused. It was as we walked back to the cars that I had an idea...

Aimee & I on a date night in Key West, Dec 14
"Hey Rowan," I asked. "Do you want to ride back with mommy and I, or with uncle Justin and aunt Caroline?" To my delight, she chose Justin and Caroline. They agreed to look after Rowan until we got home so Aimee and I could stay and have some time alone. So everyone else went back in one car, and we stayed behind for an impromptu date night.

We went to a seafood place for drinks and appetizers. We followed that with souvenir shopping (and buying a bunch of delicious fudge to take back to everyone else). Finally, we walked along the water and our gazes alternated between the street performers and the sunset. In other words, it was the kind of carefree fun that came so easily to Aimee and I when we were out together. It was a perfect date night.

It was our last one.


  1. Pat,
    Thanks for being so open about your memories, emotions, and faith throughout this painful tragedy. You should know that you're touching people well beyond your immediate circle of family and friends. I'm a co-worker of Justin's. My wife and I, and our church in Bethesda MD, have been remembering you in prayer.
    Your openness reminds me of some Christian friends who started blogging when their daughter was diagnosed with a terminal disease a couple years ago. Different situation, but similar demonstration of faith in the midst of grieving. It might also encourage you:
    God bless,

  2. I'm so glad that you did have such a great last date night with Aimee - it's a good reminder for me to live each day more intentionally for sure.

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  4. Pat,

    I want to thank you so much for sharing yours and Rowan's memories, and time with Aimee. I have never had the chance to meet you or Rowan but I do know that Aimee was such a proud wife and mother. Through your stories of happiness like your last beautiful date night, I now see why every time she mentioned or spoke of you and Rowan her face couldn't but help light up like a ray of sunshine and that smile of hers spread from ear to ear . I hope you know what an inspiration you are to me and so many. Even without knowing you I now you and Aimee both shared amazing strength and courage. You guys are in my prayers everyday. God is for sure surrounding you and Rowan with his angels and I know for a fact that Aimee is one of them.

    Ayisha Hendrix

  5. I see true joy in Aimee's smiling face. She KNEW you loved and accepted her completely and she felt safe in your love. You gave her this gift that all women want and very few ever know. In fact most women I have known don't even think this is truly possible. I guess that includes me. But when I see this and read this I am so encouraged.