My cousin Pat died. He loved the outdoors. He laughed in fear’s face. He discovered rock climbing at a young age. He made beautiful wood furniture by hand. Pat was an avid reader and we discussed our favorite books often around the campfire. He was the only relative besides my mom that never made me feel silly for loving Harry Potter so much. I remember when I was reading Deathly Hallows in Niagra, Pat slammed his finger on the page and said, “THAT. THAT right there. That’s where everyone keeps getting confused. Read it carefully.” It was the part about how the elder wand ended up with Harry. He gave the best shoulder rubs. He would tell everyone that they looked fine and mean it. And even though he was closer to my mom’s age than mine, he always pulled my hand or got my attention and said, “C’mon, let’s get away from the adults.”
I still have a hard time in the mornings believing that he is gone. I can’t picture a world without Pat, yet, here we are. Spending time with my family both broke my heart and helped me heal a little. But, my heart will always be a little heavier.
Tumblr, you have been a great comfort to me. I always try to help others, but haven’t always felt it in return. And, I don’t help to get things in return — I do it because I care and it is the right thing to do. So, I didn’t really expect anyone to help me out with the cost of my flight — it is not the kind of thing TO expect. Especially not from a bunch of people you’ve never met. I also never would’ve asked. I’ll ask until I’m blue in the face for things for my students, but for you all to help me with a personal matter, well it meant a lot.
I won’t lie and say that when I saw the post I didn’t secretly hope that a millionaire or David Karp would see it and pay off the remaining amount, but the portion that you were able to help with is amazing. The $580 covered more than half of my flight. Without that help, I would not have been able to afford a rental car and my aunt and uncle would have had to drive an hour to the airport to pick me up late at night. Instead, I drove myself and was available to run errands and drive the immediate family of Pat’s sister around. I also was able to buy my aunt and Pat’s sister lunch and purchase a number of last minute groceries that were needed. Thank you for allowing me to be the kind of family member I know we all want to be.
With that being said, I want to tell you:
Life is short. Make it an adventure. Pat went after adventures and was the biggest supporter of my bucket list. I’m already putting in motion checking off a few more in the next few months in Pat’s honor.
Enjoy the simple things. Pat lived in the woods in a log cabin that is heated by a wood stove. Home was his slice of heaven.
Be the kind of friend that makes all the people at your funeral have a funny and endearing story to tell.
And those people in your life that have made you who you are and who you appreciate so much — make sure you tell them often.