On Sunday Jan 11, 2009, I was informed that my oldest friend Patrick L. had passed away. Patrick and I met in Tuxedo Trailer Park in Rome, New York. I don’t remember the particular circumstances of that first meeting, as I was four or five. He was a year older. What I do remember is the fun, troubles and other adventures we got into over the next five years. Our friendship brought together three families, his, mine and Pam and Bill E. Life long friends. Pat was more than a friend, he was family.
As happens with most military friendships, it was a permanent change of station that separated us. Pat’s dad was transferred to Whiteman AFB in Missouri, and we move to Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. Other friends came into my life but Patrick never left it. We stayed in touch the the old fashioned way (back before the Internet), writing letters and talking on the phone. We got the chance to see his family again in 1975 as my family traveled west to Mountain Home AFB in Idaho.
When I finished basic training at Ft Leonard Wood, Patrick came down to attend and then I went to visit with him and his family in Knob Noster. It was as if we hadn’t ever been separated. In 85, Pat came and participated in my wedding.
Pat had a history of medical adventures. From his childhood to the death, Pat dealt with issues with his deep faith in Christ. Pat was in pain much of his adult life. He had been in and out of the hospital in a effort to handle the pain. He suffered a stroke and had a pain stimulator inserted and removed and recently had a pacemaker installed. He suffered from headaches and hallucinations. It was a way for his body to compensate for the pain.
On Saturday Pat was in the hospital and talking to his nurse. She left the room and wasn’t there when his blood pressure dropped. By the time the monitors alerted and he was stabilized, his brain had been deprived of oxygen for 10 mins. If he was to recover, he would have been in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. His mother, brother, and sister made the decision to remove him from mechanical life support. It was a hard decision, but the right one. As his sister told me, at long last Pat wasn’t in pain. He was taken home to with the lord Jesus Christ.
The memorial service was very nice. It was held at Rocky Bayou Baptist Church where Pat was a member. The service was a tribute to his life and celebration of Christ. The Eglin AFB honor guard presented the flag to his mother and gave a 21 gun salute. Pat’s niece Ceylona played Pat’s favorite Hymnals, The Lord’s Prayer and Feel the Nails on the flute. My favorite part was the slide show of his life. I was included as part of the family along with with Bill and Pam E.
Pat, you were loved as a brother, and we will miss your presence in this world. I will always remember the joy and love you brought into others lives.