this week in review

13 Oct

this morning, after a nice workout with the cool lake victoria infused breeze caressing my face, i sat out in front of my room and stared out at the trees towering over our compound’s walls. the tall banana fronds swayed languidly in that very same breeze, whispering to the other wildlife surrounding my little life here. the environment here very clearly spells out paradise. but this past week it has been hard to feel that beauty.

early last week, while browsing my newsfeed before most of my friends and family awoke on the east coast, two posts popped up on it saying that my old friend patrick hawkins had been killed in afghanistan. once i saw it, i immediately told a close friend sharing my time zone, and then retreated from my office and collapsed on my bed in my little room. then i started writing about all of my favorite memories of pat i hadn’t revisited in years. granted, every few months we would exchange pleasantries on facebook and say hi, especially when i found out he had married his sweetheart only a few months ago. but 9 years ago, pat was my first boyfriend, and an integral part of my carlisle high school life back in pennsylvania. 

pat and i dated for a lengthy two weeks, but at that time it was a very significant amount of time. pat was part of my close group of friends and we fondly referred to ourselves as the “white house crew” because 1. of the hit single by vanessa carlton coming out on the night of our first homecoming dance together and 2. our on post housing on carlisle barracks consisted of tiny white houses where we all lived. my fondest memories of him include watching him skateboard at the skate park and walking around post all day right up until curfew. once, pat’s mommy threw one of those incredible role-playing murder mystery dinner parties for us. here is a photo of all of us white house crew kids:


just the eight of us, always! i miss all of these lovely people, thankfully the internet has made it easier to stay in touch, but still i miss them and love them, however i always have that ability to drop everything and visit them. unfortunately, with pat’s untimely passing, i no longer have that option to just go and see him. i will never forget the memories we made together, and the person i have become because of having pat as part of my life for those two precious years. his friendship will forever be in my heart.

but i became enraged in the days following pat’s death. of course it is incredibly unfortunate and frustrating that the government was closed (and still is closed) during his death and the other american soldiers who have died. the shutdown has kept the families of these people who have died from receiving the customary payments to help with funeral costs and travel expenses.  i was so upset at all of the news articles and political statements coming out about this issue with pat’s face attached to it. i felt, perhaps over dramatically, that pat was being used by these people for their political advancement and it made me feel sick. it was hard to mourn when i was so mad at the political situation in our country. two of my girlfriends started up a fundraiser for pat’s wife and family and invited me to hold an admin position to have the ability to thank contributors and see the messages posted by these people as well. this fundraising page really helped bring me some peace, seeing the kindness and love of others. and it still does. 


as always, perfect and patient christopher has been nothing but supportive and loving through this process. i am such a lucky girl. i am also lucky because a while ago, when christopher and i were first exchanging out life stories to better know one and other, before we were dating, i sent him my “carlisle story.” after i moved to holland, following my life in carlisle, i wrote the “carlisle story” in the hope of immortalizing my life in carlisle. so christopher knows and understands how i feel with the loss of pat. i’m lucky to have such a bright light in my life and i love him.

either way, thank you – everyone – for the kind thoughts, words, and prayers this past week. if anything, i find some light in this whole situation because it has enabled me to reconnect with some old friends. i just wish we could all meet up, share a few drinks in pat’s honor, and recount stories from high school. back when life was easy and kind and innocent. 




3 Responses to “this week in review”

  1. ITHAKA October 13, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Love you so much and I am thankful that I found out from you that awful morning. These memories have played out in my mind so much the last few days it has made it difficult to do much else other than sit and reminisce. I am so thankful for Pat, for the memories we shared, for you….for the fact that death does not take memory away! Missing you and looking forward to when we gather and toast Pat and the Carlisle days we shared. xxoo

    • Brenda Magnin October 13, 2013 at 11:36 am #

      This was so wonderful to read!! Beautiful tribute to Pat. Love the group picture and remember helping Sheila with the Mystery Dinner…I’m even in the picture. This was the best group of young teens to be around and I truly miss our days in Carlisle. I will make sure Justin is able to read this article as well. Take care sweetie and stay safe. Brenda

  2. Kimberly Cale October 13, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Such beautiful words! Those little white houses are gone now, but the memories will never fade!<3

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