Welcoming someone to my blog seems a bit odd as I know and believe that no one wants to find themselves here reading about significant loss.
So, I first find it necessary to say, “I am truly sorry that you found me and are without a doubt feeling significant and debilitating heartache.” Please understand that I was you almost four years ago now. Many may think that this amount of time has effectively served to rehabilitate me, my sensibilities, and most importantly my desire to live again without the most important life partner, my husband, Patrick, by my side. Trust me, it remains a very confusing, winding and undefined pathway. I hope that sharing my personal story may help you feel less alone and foster optimistic growth, so that you will emerge on the other side stronger than ever imagined. If GrowSpring can help ease the process in any way, I will know this was all worth it!
This was not our plan! In fact, together we created and developed the most meaningful trail that by design could and would lead us to ultimate happiness. This included the marrying of dreams and ideas with the sole purpose of nurturing our love bond, starting a family, and raising our kiddos to be kind, generous, and productive individuals. To say that we were “everything partners” is a massive understatement! Life with my guy was absolute synchronicity on every level. The power of this one -of- a- kind type of marriage carried us solidly through joys and sorrows. Having the privilege to experience that magnificent feeling daily for 13 years is what brings me solace and gratitude as I venture into the future as a “Solo Spouse.”
September 15th was a beautiful, crisp, and clear day in our lovely hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. To highlight how fast and unexpectedly life can show you that we are never in charge, the scene at our home that day was tranquil and ordinary. Patrick was enjoying his full retirement from the military after nearly 30 years of service simply being Mr. Mom to our two kiddos ages 9 and 11 at the time. What would be considered routine chores on our property was on the agenda for my never idle husband. The more things to be accomplished, the happier he was tackling the list.
Our last verbal exchange as I left for work was “Have a good day, I love you, and please be careful.” Fast forward to 5:50 pm, a call from Patrick’s cell phone, displaying his incredibly handsome face, catches my eye, I answer expecting to hear, “Hey Gorgeous, when are you getting home?” Instead, our panic-stricken son, Collin, says, “Mommy, Daddy has fallen, and he is not moving!” The fear in his voice is something I will carry in my mind until eternity. I attempt to speak in a calm voice, explaining that I am 5 minutes from home and not to worry.
As you can imagine, what I arrived to witness was the unthinkable. The truest love of my life was obviously severely injured and hopes of survival were very slim. The valiant efforts by emergency volunteers and a medivac team were able to resuscitate our Patrick. A sliver of hope was within grasp. I clung on ferociously believing this was not our goodbye. Instead, this was going to be a life changing challenge that would only fortify our family. It was not the end!
Over the next 24 hours, the news became glaringly grim and the only decisions would be around organ donation and removal of life support. Trying to comprehend this information for myself became emotionally and physically incapacitating. If you can imagine being eye to eye with the devil, seeing him place a vice grip around your heart, and demanding you speak, that is exactly how I felt, attempting to tell our children that their hero, their father, our Patrick, was not going to survive.
It would be three exhausting days of a steady stream of loved ones visiting bedside to say their goodbyes to “A simple guy from Nebraska, who loved freely.” On September 18, 2015, at 11:11 pm, the physician called Patrick’s time of death. For many, myself included, this time has tremendous significance as it relates to spirituality. Some believe the number 1111 is a message from the angels that we are engaged in the Ascension process in the presence of peace, receiving a message from a loved one who has passed, or that the universe is encouraging you to pay attention as profound changes are underway in your life. Oh, let’s not forget that November 11th is also Veterans Day. The holiday marks the anniversary of the 1918 signing of the Armistice, which took place in a railway carriage, between the Allies and Germany. This event marked the end of fighting on the Western Front in the First World War. The signing took place at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Yet another extraordinary coincidence, to my husband, a proud patriot, is not wasted on me.
Regardless of what you believe, it is important to find that space that keeps you connected to those beyond the veil. Unknowingly, it will give you courage to take any step towards your new beginning. 11:12 signifies that reluctant metamorphosis of our cherished family. That was the exact moment our hands were unwillingly separated from Patrick’s gentle, loving, protective, and devoted grasp. Now, I see that moment as an unusual empowerment that is difficult to comprehend or even explain. I walk forward in strength believing that our committed love still breathes, thrives, and evolves. It has become something much more forceful and enchanted. Find your 11:12. Never be afraid to acknowledge and embrace what it may mean. I promise it will not fail or disappoint you…Let it be your beacon of strength.
We grow in your honor, Patrick Barnett….