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  • When nice happens

    My family (me, mom and dad) are not very close to my dad’s side of the family.  He has 3 brothers, 2 older and 1 younger.  His oldest brother committed suicide a few years ago and left 3 adult children, one of which is mentally handicapped.  Donna had an aneurysm in her brain when she was 16 and she’s been in assisted living facilities for years now.  Every once in a while we would hear how she was doing from my grandmother, but since she’s not a fountain of knowledge, we only heard bits and pieces.  It never occurred to us her dad left nothing for her when he died.

    About a year ago Donna’s younger brother and sister, Robert and Lisa, found me and mom on FB.  Seeing as I barely remembered Donna and Lisa and couldn’t remember ever meeting Robert, I thought it would nice to get to “know” my cousins.  Robert and I had a few brief encounters and I never really interacted with Lisa at all.

    Mom and Robert communicated some through email and a few things she told me kind of made me wonder (mainly his motives for getting in touch with family).  Then a few weeks ago he posted something on FB regarding the apartment he was building for Donna.  I thought it was really sweet but he didn’t say anything else about it.  Then last week he posted some pics of Donna’s apartment.  The place was in poor shape and the landlords didn’t sound like they were really staying on top of the maintenance.  Then Robert posted pics of her new apartment.  He didn’t tell Donna and had planned to surprise her over the weekend.  My heart just melted.

    Monday morning he posted a video on FB of them giving Donna her new apartment and it brought tears to my eyes (I would post it but he has it private).  I couldn’t believe he’d gone to so much trouble and expense to help his sister out.  Mom emailed Robert to let him know we thought it was such a wonderful thing he’d done and that’s when she found out his dad left nothing for the kids!  He left nothing to help with Donna’s expenses, he just left nothing.  I hadn’t heard good things about my uncle growing up but I can’t imagine being so selfish as to not try to provide something for your kids!  Anyway, that is another story.

    I just can’t really express how wonderful it is to see what Robert has done.



  • With love

    The other week when the Sandy Hook shootings occurred, the only thing I could think about was all of the families that would have unopened presents under their trees. Presents for children who would never return home. Little did I know that our family would face the same fate.

    Sunday Matt’s parents called to let us know that Patrick, his younger brother, was sick with food poisoning and they were headed to ATL to see him. He wouldn’t have enough time to come home since he was sick. Their plan was to spend Christmas morning with Patrick and they would meet us at their house later in the day. This seemed to work well for us since we had planned to spend Christmas Eve with my parents, have Christmas morning with the two of us, and head to their house a little later in the day.

    Yesterday Matt and I had a few errands to run before my parents came over. We got home around 2 pm when Matt received a call from his dad. I could hear Steve through Matt’s phone. He said he had bad news, then I heard him say Patrick was gone. Almost immediately I saw the tears.

    Once Matt was off the phone I grabbed him and hugged him. He laid on me crying while I called my parents to let them know what had happened. Mom and dad couldn’t believe the news and I told them I’d call later.

    Matt and I laid on the couch for awhile. I finally managed to get him to go upstairs and lie down. I called my parents and told them to come over. I couldn’t sit in the house in silence. And truthfully, I wanted them there. They came over a little while later and we talked for a while. I filled them in with what I knew but it still wasn’t much. At this point, it looked like Patrick had slipped in the bathroom and hit his head. An accident.

    A little later Matt came downstairs and we talked and had a few drinks. I attempted to make dinner and we opened gifts. It really helped to keep out minds busy. Matt managed to get some our clothes washed and dried and put away. Anything to keep busy. After dinner mom and dad left and Matt and I busied ourselves with house work. We finally agreed to open gifts so we could leave first thing Christmas morning. Matt thought we should drive to ATL to be with his parents.

    Neither of us slept much last night and around 7 this morning we got up and got ready to leave. We left Raleigh around 9 and made it to ATL by 3pm. We talked to his parents and they recounted the events of the day before. Then we headed to the hotel lounge for a few drinks. We talked and teared up and finally managed to eat a little.

    Tomorrow we will go back to Patrick’s and pack his things, then we will head back to Jill and Steve’s house in Thursday.

    The past day has been filled with tons of fb posts from Patrick’s friends. There’re are tons of heartfelt posts all saying the same thing, what a great guy Patrick was and how much he will be missed. The words are so hard to read but at the same time it’s wonderful to see how many people’s lives he touched.

    We love you Patrick!