Remembering Patrick Halstead
By Nita Wilson
It’s hard to have a happy mind when the son of your best friends has just tragically passed over to the other side. My heart is breaking for my friends and their family. In the blink of an eye death can take you home and leave your life unprepared, unorganized and unfinished. In the blink of an eye your loved ones are left without you and the place you filled in their lives. In the blink of an eye, God can show us all how fleeting and quickly this life can be over. We’re all advised to live our lives as if each day is our last. In many ways Patrick did just that. From all the well wishers and friends it seems he had no apologies to make, no one to ask for forgiveness, no enemies left to forgive, no slights to be overlooked, and no one left unloved. Can any of us say that? He was a wonderful son. His parents now are my big concern. I want to magically make the pain go away, I want to hold them both and kiss it to make it better, I want to say things I don’t know how to say. As a writer, I am usually good at empathizing with my characters, their loves, emotions and losses, but I won’t even try to empathize with this brave family. The thought that this could be my own son is so terrifying; I can’t begin to let myself feel it. My son doesn’t live with me anymore, but he’s never out of my heart and thoughts, never farther than the image of his smile in my mind.
But it begs the deeper question. Why are we so afraid of losing our children? We worry about them from the day they’re born or in some cases, put in our arms from a birth mother. A parent worries every second of every minute of every hour of every day etc. for the child they’ve invested their soul in. The obvious answer is because we love them and don’t want them to leave us. But the even deeper truth is; children are the only beings in our lives that we love unconditionally, irrevocably, relentlessly, unashamedly, undeniably and uncontrollably. We’ve invested love and caring into the very seconds of their lives. When they hurt, we hurt and want to make it go away, when they love, we want to make sure the other person is worthy of that love, when they succeed, we give ourselves and them a pat on the back, when they fail, we pick them up and wonder what we did wrong, when they have a problem, we have a problem, when someone does them wrong, we want revenge, for each of their bad emotions, we have a counter emotion, for all of their good emotions, we feel incredible happiness. People say it’s against nature for a child to die before the parents, bull crap. It’s against everything in the parent’s being and soul to lose the person you’ve built, fed, loved, nurtured, laughed with, cried over, taught, accepted, kissed, hugged, complimented, corrected, bragged about, fought for, taken multitudes of pictures of, hung art on refrigerator doors, cleaned up after, done loads and loads of laundry for, gone to work each day to pay the rent/mortgage for, sent to school each day hoping they listened, saved money for college hoping they’ll go, cried at the empty nest, worried over the birth of their first child, does any of this sound like nature skipping a beat? Not to me. It sounds like life. Beautiful wonderful life and we want that for our children more than we want it for ourselves. Patrick was a wonderful son, father, husband, brother, friend and will be missed every day. Send a smile to Patrick and let Heaven know how well loved he was down here. They know, but it doesn’t help to say it again. Make way for us, kiddo, some of us may be coming, some may not, but it’s sure a better place knowing you’re there.