Tuesday afternoon, I learned that Patrick had suddenly passed away. He was 30 years old. He is the father of three boys, aged 3 & under. He is the husband of Brittany.
To understand what he means to us, is to understand what Brittany means to us. For many years she was like a part of our family. She was an older sister to our children and a daughter to Amy & me. As she finished high school and entered adulthood, we wanted nothing more than for her to find the perfect man. She deserved to find the perfect man. She found the perfect man.
Patrick was virtually the male version of Brittany. He would light up every room he entered. He was funny, always smiling. He treated Brittany with the love and respect she deserved. He was truly the young man every dad wishes their daughter could marry.
Married just four years ago, Patrick and Brittany have three boys. With each one you knew their joy grew exponentially. I am not sure if I have ever met a couple better equipped to be parents.
When I learned Tuesday that Patrick's heart suddenly stopped beating. It was as if someone had changed the laws of gravity. For hours I could not really comprehend how this was real. How could this happen to a young man in seemingly perfect health; a father of three young boys, with a wife that was his perfect mate?
I told Amy on Tuesday, the last person on earth who deserves to endure this pain - is Brittany.
Today, I learned that perhaps the only person who could actually handle this pain – is Brittany.
Her strength through this seems super-human, and following today’s funeral, I am convinced it is.
The pain of losing Patrick will never leave Brittany, but her understanding of what Patrick meant to almost every person he met, has given her a peace that cannot be explained by the human capability to cope. She is the living testament to Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
About a thousand people attended today’s funeral. None could truly understand why this would happen, but it was undeniable to all – in only 30 years, Patrick lived a life worth living. His was an exemplary life.
Perhaps the greatest tribute I can leave him is to be a better father, a better son, a better brother, and a better husband – because in doing so, I will be more like Patrick.