Monday, June 18, 2012

"Hi, Love. It's been six months, and I remember..."

Hello, my Love,
As of today, it's been six months since that dreaded Sunday afternoon you were taken from us. I still remember that day so well. And I remember the days leading up to it. I remember the red-eye flight from Seattle the previous Sunday night. I remember the exhausted but excited trek through the airport to get our bags and then the rental car, and how we forgot the carseat at baggage claim until we picked up the car, and had to go back for it.

I remember the seafood restaurant we all ate at on the first night, with the colored lights decorating so many of the boats docked nearby. And I remember the sangria they served that you and Caroline loved so much.

I remember all of us going to Key West for the day that Thursday, and eating lunch at the taco stand. I remember the pirate musuem and the Key West Aquarium we took Rowan too, and the ice cream we got afterwards.I remember our impromptu date night that night in Key West (thanks to Justin and Caroline and Donna for that). I remember you and I taking Rowan to feed the tarpon and then we bought that cross made of seashells.

I remember all the fun times at the pool. Shopping at Shell World. You and Donna and I taking Rowan to the playground. I remember us all eating the Key Lime pie you and Donne bought that Friday.

I remember Saturday, the day before you died, you and I and Rowan and Donna went to a 'beach' where the strip of sand was maybe five feet wide. The sun was scorching that day. The 'sand' on the bottom in the water was more like a gooey, slippery clay. And we had fun anyway. And I remember that after we all got back to the house, and everyone else was napping or otherwise occupied, we snuck in a little 'marital closeness' as you called it. That would be the last time we were close in that way.

And I remember the lobster dinner we made on Saturday night, and the incredibly sweet thing you had all of us do where we said something nice about the person sitting across from us at dinner. What an amazing gift that was during your last dinner with us here on earth.
Aimee and I during a trip to San Diego
If only I'd known that would be your last dinner with us.

I remember that up to this point, the vacation had been absolutely perfect.

That fateful Sunday, I remember you and Rowan and I cuddling in bed that morning. I remember sending you off to your scuba diving training session with toast with cookie butter for breakfast. I remember taking Rowan to play at the playground, and then swimming at the Aquatic Center. I remember seeing you and kissing you good-bye through that chain link fence between the pools and the sidewalk. And I remember that last glance before you left, that quick wave goodbye as you walked away...


I remember Justin getting that call a few hours later, and leaving in a panic. I remember waiting for an eternity for him to come back or answer my text or return my call. I remember feeling dread, and trying to stay calm.

I remember Justin finally coming in, crying and distraught and saying out loud what I feared in my heart, and I remember knowing that it wasn't a joke and it wasn't a mistake because I could see the police and pastor and victim's advocate standing outside the door, looking somber.

I remember feeling Rowan gripping the back of my shorts, and me knowing she was scared and confused, and my heart breaking for her.

I remember sitting her down and telling her a short time later what happened, and her bursting into tears and crying in my arms, and me crying as I held her. I remember feeling that this wasn't right, wasn't right at all, that if Rowan was to be raised by a single parent, that had to be you, my love, not me.

I remember someone made spaghetti for dinner that night, and no one ate hardly any, and Rowan noted that there wasn't a bowl for Mommy. Not because she thought we needed one, but she noted the difference. I remember I couldn't sleep that night, but was haunted with visions of you trapped in that boat as it sank deeper into the water, and you fighting to get out, and you couldn't, and finally your body stopped fighting and gave up.

I remember meeting with the team from the Coast Guard who explained what they thought happened, and that they planned to do a full investigation.

I remember Rowan telling her stuffed toy Ducky about your accident and death.

I remember packing up Tuesday morning, and stopping at the Aquatic Center on the way out of town, and crying at the fence where we had our last kiss. I remember the absolutely hellish trip back through that airport where only eight days earlier we'd been so happy and excited about the vacation ahead of us, but now were filled with despair about a life ahead of us without you. And I remember hating that I was leaving Florida without you.

I remember getting home, and being heartborken that you weren't there with us. And finally, I remember our dog Abbey looking at Rowan and I as we came through the door, and then sniffing the air for you, and then lowering her head and coming to me - she's a good dog, and she loved you, and she knew you were gone.

As of today, it's been six months since that dreaded Sunday afternoon you were taken from us. And I'll never, ever forget how much I lost that day.


  1. My heart aches for you - and Rowan - Pat. I can't begin to imagine your pain. These 'first milestones' since Aimee's death can be incredibly painful. Her tragic and senseless death must be (many times) unbearable for you. You continue to be in my prayers - for comfort and some peace as the next 6 months unfold.

    1. Thanks so much. It's like I told Justin recently. In the one hand, I'm starting to come to acceptance, while on the other hand I still can't wrap my arms around how big this loss is. No matter what, I know this is along journey.

  2. Your posts are always beautiful and heart wrenching Pat. You are so gifted in your writing - and sharing your thoughts. I always look up Missing Aimee to see what new perspective I can gain on what may be an ordinary day. Today - always remember to kiss my loved ones when we part - even if it's through a chain fence. Because I want to be able to remember the last kiss. Love you.

    1. Thanks Imelda. That lesson - always appreciate your loved ones - has also really stuck with me since Aimee's death. And I count myself as VERY lucky that I have no regrets related to her. No angry words, unfinished arguments, and we did in fact kiss each other good-bye that day.

  3. Dear Pat-
    I too regularly "check in" with your blog. There is some connection that you have touched in many and I come away with a simpler and real way to live.... learning to appreciate every moment and never taking anything for granted.

    Thank you for blessing us all with your heartfelt words and feelings.
    I imagine Aimee very proud of you with how you continue in her love and life's work.

    1. Kim, thanks for continuing to read. I am so honored by the fact that so many people are walking on this journey with me through this blog.

  4. my god.I;d forgotten just what the first month, six months, years were, ten years on , its Christmas and Fahers Day that knock us sideways...I don't really know what to say.... apart form, yes, I know, I hear ya....

    1. Thanks. I know there will always be hard days, and periods of grief. But I also know that one day I'll be able to look back and focus more on the happy times than the sadness of her loss (so a good friend recently told me).

  5. This is my first time reading your blog. I just read this, tears are pouring down my face. I'm a grief coach and you captured everything perfectly. I lost my dad 2 1/2 years ago. Those memories will remain, but the edges will soften and they won't cut so deep. I am grateful for having seen your words today. Thank you for sharing your rawness and vulnerability. Aimee sounds like an amazing woman and she will live on through you, Rowan, and your dear friends. Peace be with you.