Patrick’s Passing (Articl 2 Final Draft)

I was sitting with my two best friends and one of their roommates in our isolated corner of La Juanita’s. None of us were saying anything, just thinking. We were normally a talkative group, but the circumstances were not the usual ones. We were tired after such a long day

“We should share some of our favorite Patrick memories,” I said, breaking the silence. “I feel like it’s only right.”

“I dunno,” Hunter sighed, “there’s just so many of ’em.” He was probably the closest to Patrick. He knew him the longest and had the most similar personalities.

“Just go with any memory,” Hanna interjected.

“I think I have one,” he snapped his finger . “I remember the one time after a TEC when you were dating Michelle. You two were trying to figure out what to do. I remember seeing Patrick right there and saying, ‘you guys should take me let me join. You know, just to make sure you guys aren’t alone,’ just because I didn’t have anything better to do.” He started giggling. I buried my fave in my palms. TEC is a Christian organization and Patrick was one of the adult leaders there. Hunter had effectively used Patrick’s very presence as a ploy to ruin some good alone time with a pretty girl.

“How bout you, Ben?” Alysa, Hanna’s roommate, asked to change the subject and keep us cheery. “You must have one ready, since you suggested this.”

I didn’t have one ready, but it wasn’t hard for me to come up with one. I recounted the one time I had left Hunter’s house late at night after a night of filming. My gas gauge was always shifty, so I couldn’t tell how much gas was in the tank. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough gas in the tank to make it home. I tried calling Hunter since I had just left his house, but apparently, he had already fallen asleep. I searched through my contacts and found Patrick. He seemed like the only person who was close enough by who would be willing to help.

I called and after a few rings, he picked up the phone, sounding wide awake. I was expecting maybe a sigh or a laugh in reaction to my situation, but he just nonchalantly told me to stay where I am so that he could find me. When he picked me up, he went on to tell stories, as he usually did, that somehow pertained to the current subject. I didn’t have to tell them that the stories weren’t boring; Patrick’s stories were never boring.

We started talking about all of the stories he had to tell. Very rarely would he repeat one unless we asked him to. This was a big reason any of us came to his young adults’ bible study. He had a way of keeping us interested in the things that he had to say as well as make sure that we were making the right decisions in life.

I paused as I went through the beginning of that day in my head. It was a Monday morning, probably the worst I’ve ever had…

I was still waking up I received the phone call. My screen showed my pastor’s Facebook profile picture with his name underneath it. Why’s he calling me right now? Normally, Pastor Terry called me when he wanted to know if I could help out with the worship band that week or not. I had the month of August off, though, so there wouldn’t be any reason for him to call me unless it was important. Did I do something wrong at church yesterday morning?

“Hello?” I sheepishly answered the phone. I knew something was wrong.

“Hey! Ben…” Terry’s voice warmly greeted me over the phone, as if to comfort me about something. “I’ve got bad news.” I couldn’t catch much of what he said. He mentioned something about being in a bad spot for making calls, so his voice cut in and out of the call. The only two words I could catch were “Patrick” and “dead”. Before I could ask any questions, the call dropped.

I didn’t know what to think. I tried telling myself that it was a miscommunication. Patrick didn’t die. He was still spry, even at the age of 63. His wife, Julie, just suffered a bad fall and needed to be taken care of by him; we just saw them at the hospital the day before. My grandmother already died earlier this summer, there’s no way that another loved one has died. I kept telling myself these things to keep my spirits up. I had work in an hour and it would’t be good for me to be there while I’m depressed.

I received another call back. It was Terry again. The call was clear this time, no dead zone. My worst fears had been confirmed. He went on to explain how he didn’t show up for work (which was very unlike him), and Julie tried to get in touch with him. When the authorities had arrived, they found him dead at the bottom of the stairs in his basement.

This was unreal. I hadn’t felt this heavy before. The closest thing to that was when my dad texted me about Grandma Mac, but we knew it was going to happen, we knew that it would stop her suffering. This was different. This was too sudden, too problematic. Patrick took care of so many things around church and even Morningside. What’s going to happen to everything that he’s been holding together?

I hadn’t realized how long I had been silent, “Are you still there, Ben?”

“Yeah, I’m still here…” I gathered the strength to reply. “I just don’t know what to think about this…”

Terry suggested that I tell all of the other people that went to Patrick’s young adults’ Bible study, namely, Hunter and Hanna. He said that they’d probably rather hear the news from me, rather than him.

I decided that I should call Hunter first. As I said earlier, he could always relate to Patrick in certain ways. He felt a certain father-son bond with him that he hadn’t had with anyone else. I remember him being angry at his mother for not telling him about his Grandfather’s passing the summer before. When I told him the bad news, he didn’t believe me at first, thinking that I was kidding, for some reason.

“I wouldn’t joke about something like this,” I snapped. I had been known to make pranks and jokes that made people mad, but this was too far even for me.

“Oh…” He paused. He didn’t know how to feel about this either. I told him that I still had to call Hanna about it too, so we said our goodbyes after that.

I glad that I called Hunter first. Hanna was not an easy call. When the news sank in for her, she began to cry uncontrollably. My heart dropped farther than I thought even possible.

When she was able to muster up some intelligible words, Hanna suggested that we meet up together to console each other, the three of us. I told her I had work, but that I was off by around 3:oo PM, so she said just to come over to her house afterward. I splashed some cold water on my face, E-mailed my boss to let him know that I’ll be coming in for today, but not the rest of the week, and then made my way to Sioux City.

Thankfully, when I had gotten to Hanna’s house, she wasn’t crying anymore. She told me that she just had to get it all out. We waited for Hunter to show up, as usual, before we figured out what we were going to do. Her family had already planned to go boating at McCook Lake that day, so she invited us to come with her.

“I feel like Patrick wouldn’t want us to be sad about him,” She sighed. “He’d want us to be happy about the life he lived.”

Neither Hunter or I could disagree with that. We knew that to Patrick, death was just another part of life. He knew that where he was going and he wouldn’t want us to waste his time mourning over him. “A dead body is a dead body; they’re soul has moved on, so should you,” he used to say whenever the topic of death had come up. As much as we missed him, we knew he wouldn’t want to look down on us from Heaven and see us being sad about his death.

The boating helped. It was still in the back of our minds, but we did our best to not beat ourselves up over it. Hanna’s family was very comforting and knew how much Patrick meant to us. We knew that he was going to be missed, but we also knew he was a good man. Even people with differing religious views believed that Patrick would go to Heaven. This wasn’t because he practiced other religious rituals; this was because he was such a wise, caring, and helpful man that it would be wrong for him to go anywhere else.


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