Monday, February 1, 2010


Well, it is here. February 1st, 2010. This is the month that marks the one year anniversary of so much change and upheaval in my life and my family. This is the month that it all changed.

A year ago Avery was going to a pre-school program. She went on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I'd come home and log onto my computer. Almost every Tuesday, I'd hear that familiar "ding" and there would be Schuyler, my nephew, ready to chat from his post in far-away Afghanistan. Even then I cherished those chats. Those chats let me know that he was, indeed, safe and OK at that given point in time. Those chats gave me a small piece of mind until our next chat. We'd joke about his stench, given that those soldiers get showers only sporadically, and talk about what's going on in my house.
Lori and Schuyler ~ 20+ years ago!

He never wanted to talk too much about what was going on with him, and I know that was because he wanted to shield me from the bad stuff he was seeing. He did talk about the good stuff...helping people that really seemed to want the help. Unfortunately it seemed those people were the minority on many levels. Two men from Central Illinois were killed in either late January or early February. It was during that time that Schuyler's tone changed. He talked more about serious topics...we still joked, but he had more serious things to discuss. He talked a lot about planning for the future. I think on some level, the tragedies he had recently seen and the loss so close to home made him realize that the violence was getting worse and it was important to acknowledge that.

So, every Tuesday, we'd chat. I tried as best as I could to counsel him on the bad stuff. I tried to help him understand that we were ALL waiting for him to come home and live the life he so deserved. I tried to make sure that he knew, above all else, that we LOVED him and were SO VERY PROUD of him.

Schuyler Brent Patch
2/17/1984 ~ 2/24/2009

To Schuyler:

Today, the month begins. The snow is on the ground, and I find myself sitting at the computer, gazing out the window. No longer do I listen for the "ding" on Tuesday mornings. I don't check my e-mail in-box for your latest news or photos from the field. I know that you are gone from this Earth, but I have also accepted that you are with us. In what form I do not quite know, but I know you're with us.

Many days I wonder why the loss of you seems so much more difficult and emotional than the loss of my Mom, which came only 4 months and 10 days after you left us. She was my best girl friend and confidant. I dreaded the day that I would lose her, and yet, that pain seems more bearable than losing you. I think there are several reasons, but the two main ones are that we lost you so young. One week after your 25th birthday your life story ended. There were SO many unwritten chapters, and I think all of us long for the rest of that would've been a beautiful story, I'm sure. Also, the fact that your death was such a public and ceremonial event...all the flags...the people lining the streets...the bagpipes...the 21 gun salute...the gymnasium full of people...These things stick in my mind as fresh as if they had happened yesterday. I miss you both more than I would've ever imagined. The doctors don't know why Mom was unexplained. I think she died of a broken heart. Losing you was so incredibly devastating to her. Interesting that God chose to call her home and mend her broken heart on July 4.

As the months have progressed I feel different. I do think I feel better, and am in a better place than I was in those days and months following your death. I am trying to enjoy my life. It's a good life, and hopefully it will be a good, long story, with fun times and difficult times, but in the end, a happy ending where everyone lived happily ever after.

I realize that the best memorial to you and Mom is to live and be happy. Enjoy our life. And, above all else, love your family and the people around you. The love of your family is by far the GREATEST gift that any of us will ever see. The love of your family can carry you through the toughest times and hardest trials. The love of your family is like nothing else, and without it, you have nothing.

Amber, baby Schuyler, and me...1984

I miss you.....I love you....and I'm so incredibly happy that you were in my life for 25 years and 1 week. I will never forget the sacrifice you paid for our freedoms. You are, and always will be, a TRUE American Hero.

1 comment:

Hedoarie33 said...

Its amazing to me how much of time has went by,I cant get over it..On year is almost around the corrner so unreal.
When I first started Writting my blogs I thougth I love to write,but all I could write were words and stories about Schuyler,and how much I missed him.I still do that from time to time I cant belive that this month,would be his 26th bday,and it well be his 1 year..where did the time go I wish I could reach out and Hug you Lori thank you for sharing this with me..Loves Heather Nyert