Tag Archives: death

dear pat

10 Oct

dear pat,

this month marks three years since you were killed in afghanistan.

every october since i found out about your passing, back on october 15th 2012 while i was in uganda, i’ve taken the month to listen to green day and think about those easy days in carlisle, pennsylvania.

this year, in addition to the regular american idiot album rotation (you was the first boy to give me a cd, and in this case, it was the noted green day album, american idiot), i’ve also been listening to hamilton a lot. one song in particular.

this song makes me cry now. i think of you and what you would have done had you lived a longer life. what you would have done with more time. and if i will do enough with the time i have been allotted. i like to fantasize that if you had lived, i would have reached out at the end of your deployment, that i would have gotten the whole “white house crew” back together. but realistically that probably wouldn’t have happened. your death shook me. it propelled me to turn my head away from the army and look seriously towards somewhere else, anywhere else. it was your death that made me start researching psychology programs three and a half years before my commitment was up to the army.

i just know i need to make the most of the time i have here, for you, and for myself.

and as i’m wont to do, i took a look through some of my old journals. i also found some old aim conversations i printed off years ago and felt so much embarrassment for the diction and vocabulary of my ninth grade self. here’s my first journal entry of a new journal where i first wrote about you:

img_6404you can also see how i’ve always been a stage 9 clinger (sorry!)!
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and here is baby me (at the end of the table) and you to my left. we’re both pirates at an excellently themed pirate party in 2004.

time is weird. death is also weird. we miss you.

xoxo,
annie

 

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:

Image 

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. 

(https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/0s73/support-for-brittanie-and-patrick?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=graph&utm_campaign=vanity_page

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. 

xoxo,
annie