It's about love

I have fought the good fight, 
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.

Now there is in store for me 
the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge
will award to me on that day . . .

​                    2  Timothy 4:7
  If you're reading this, you must want to know more about Patrick.  That makes us very happy - because we want so much to tell you about him.  

 Deciding how to move on after losing someone dear to you - especially a child, is tough.   In our particular case it feels like we just got him to the starting line.  To him life was an adventure waiting to happen and he was eager to go out there and live it.  To see his smile, ruffle his hair, place my hand on his chest and gently shake him, telling it it's time to get up, tell him to stop texting, smile when I see him ride well - knowing he's filled with excitement and pride.  These are just some of the things I miss about him.   But then there are all the things he hoped to do but never got the chance;  chasing his dreams, getting married, having kids, meeting his birthmother. . . .   
Put a wrench in my hand and I know what to do but speaking/writing is not my forte - what you read on these pages is my best effort to briefly tell about a wonderful life.   

The First act: it all starts with his birth mother

My wife and I were trying to have kids but it just wasn't happening, so we started to talk about adoption.  God opened the doors and a friend at church knew of a young women who was pregnant but not in the situation she wanted to raise a child.   She graciously decided to let us adopt her baby - something for which we owe a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.  It saddens me that with our technology we think eliminating the consequences of our actions is a good thing.  As a result, many babies never see the light of day because people choose to rationalize away the small life inside them.  Fathers often leave when they find out the girlfriends or wives are pregnant.  Or perhaps they stick around for a while and try but then leave soon after, forcing the mother to make difficult choices.  I am thankful  for those who consider adoption; they endure a time of physical and emotional hardship putting the needs of the child ahead of their own.  That's love in action and it was the first act of love Patrick was a part of.

The Second act: a life well-lived

As his adoptive parents we were blessed with an amazing child.  As a man who tends to process things slowly, it took me a few months to wrap my emotions around being a father and that Patrick was my son.  But oh, how special he was to  me!   I had good parents and  enjoyed a kind, loving home so naturally I wanted this for Patrick.  While I understood love, seeing it from the perspective of a parent took it to a whole new level.  We adored this kid.  He was so gentle-spirited and was a delight to raise.  It had been said that he had an "old soul".  While he interacted with kids his age he also seemed very comfortable talking and engaging with older adults.  So many fun times.  Playing in the snow, story times at bed, giving his baths and playing in the tub.  Oh, and washing that hair!  He had a wonderful, beautiful, thick head of hair.  I used to tell him he had duck hair because it seemed waterproof - it was so hard to get the hair wet all the way down to his scalp!  Having lived his life in one home and coummunity, he had friends at church and school he literally grew up with.  Patrick also had friends in a variety of circles.  With multiple years in band, he had many friends within that group but he also participated for a while in some sports; soccer and track.  He had friends in different grades and social circles; jocks, nerds, popular kids and the ones in the shadows.  He was quiet himself yet could be outgoing at times.  As he accurately said about himself: he was quiet but funny. 

At the time Patrick came along, I was active in road racing and he enjoyed going to the races with us.  When his sister came along it made sense to quit.  While I enjoyed it, I had my time to play and the kids were more important so it wasn't a difficult choice.  However a seed had already been planted in Patrick. 

A friend gave us a small motorcycle to let Patrick ride but I told him
I didn't believe in training wheels on motorcycles and he couldn't
ride it until he got the training wheels off his bicycle.  Well, he didn't
need any more motivation and within a couple months he had the
training wheels off and was able to balance his  bicycle.  Naturally I
had to honor my challenge let him ride the mini-bike - he wasn't even
5 years old yet!  He learned quickly but there are always mishaps when
learning a new skill and this was no exception.  Though we had open
fields to ride in, there are also lots of trees around the house and it
didn't take long for him to run into one.  Like any parent would do, you run over
and take them up in your arms, make sure they're OK and hold them until the tears subside.  Then like only a child can do, he gets back on and starts riding again as if nothing happened!  This hobby continued for the rest of his life and it gave me a special  riding partner.  Being able to enjoy a sport or hobby with your children is a wonderful experience that not every parent gets.  Kelly was most active in his band life at school and for me the memories of road trips and riding together is something I will treasure.  Patrick had developed a passion for the sport of motorcycling.  Though I tried to encourage him to go the "normal" route of a 4 year college, I also told him it's important to do something you love and not work just for the sake of making money.  As much as he enjoyed riding,  he knew he couldn't make a career doing that but the sport was something he loved.  As a result he wanted to go to school to be a motorcycle mechanic and had plans find an upcoming privateer and work his way onto a professional race team.  His passion for this was clear and it would have been so wonderful to see him pursue his dreams and the adventure he would have had along the way.  Patrick was loved well and deep by his family and friends.  This second act is the whole period of raising this little child into a young man; it was a time filled with love as he touched many lives.   

The Third act: an eternal love

One of our goals is to point our children to Jesus.  We believe he was indeed who he said he was and I've found nothing else in this world that rings of truth and gives life meaning.  At times I would take events and try to put a spiritual spin on it, to which Patrick would sometimes sigh, saying I take things too seriously and not to try making a life lesson out of everything!  Now I don't think I always did this but I won"t deny it taking place.  As a parent it's important to pour into your child's live's and seize the moments - not just to love them but to train, instruct and help them form a foundation of core values to build their lives on.  So perhaps I am guilty of trying too hard at times but am glad we talked about it with our children and grateful Patrick listened to this - despite his grumbling.  As a teenager it wasn't like we had constant, deep spiritual talks but we are confident he placed his faith in Jesus.   While he wasn't out trying to evangelize the community around him, we've heard stories about him sharing this faith in his own simple ways; it was there, woven into the fabric of his life.  Our church has been involved in a long term partnership with another church located on an Indian reservation and made annual trips to help on projects and build relationships with the people.  For three years Patrick went there to work, sweat - and sometimes goof off but he saw the poverty and pain of broken homes and how drugs, alcohol and a lack of hope can affect people.    

Despite our plans life doesn't always go as we hope.  To say we are crushed is an understatement.  Loosing a child is one of the worst pains this world can dish out.  Part of me wants to never see a motorcycle again, just dissapear and waste away.  A large portion of my heart is gone.  For those of you who have lost a child, you know what it's like.  Yet despite the pain, there is still a bedrock of hope.  What the Bible says and what we believe resonates true and we will one day see Patrick again because of what Jesus has done for us.   This is the third aspect of love in Patrick's life; the hopeful, eternal love that we can find only in a restored relationship with God through Jesus.  We often speak of God's love, and rightly so as it's at the core of who He is. God loves us even more that I love Patrick - that's alot!   It has struck during this that He knows not only joy of love but also the pain that comes from the loss of a relationship - He knows a hurting heart.  When the relationship with man was broken from sin, he hurt but then go to the point of sacrificing His Son to repair that relationship - I wouldn't do that.  It may not sound very Christian but if I'm honest, I would not choose to hurt my son to save anyone else . . . I care more about him than I do about the rest of you.  

As a father who still walks this earth, my heart will always be broken to not have Patrick here but it is my hope that in telling his story it would used to touch other peoples heart and draw them to Jesus.  As I said, I have hope, hope that one day I will see Patrick again and this relationship will be restored.  In the meantime,  I had nineteen of the best years of my life because Patrick was here.  I will aways pine for him and wish I could have had 19 more but I cannot overlook the gift of the years I had.

The Final acts - love and faith until the end

 After Patrick died his literature teacher shared with us his final senior project.  In this the students are asked to share insights about themselves; where they came from, what drives them, what they want to do, etc.  Describing where he was from, Patrick made the statement: "I'm from for God so loved the world that he gave his son and knowing there is more to life".  This is a simple, yet profound statement.  Through this assignment he gave some thoughtful insights into who he was and we want to share it with you.  You'll find the link to the right.  We left the typos and grammar errors in - it's his own words.   

Patrick was also a tissue donor.  We came to find out it was something he and his friends at church talked about one day.  It was a conscious choice he had made.  He gave so much to us throughout his life and even at the end he continued to give.  While we are glad for how he may help people physically with this choice, we hope his life will touch even more spiritually.  The effects of Patrick walking this earth will continue to impact many . . . .