It has been a crazy month! I have been neglectful in my posting – not only has it been crazy nutso around here with holidays, a never ending to do list, snow, company and paperwork, it seems so many friends are having hard times with health, relationships and loss I was hesitant to write about things that seem superfluous. To really get to where I am, I would encourage you to check out my friend Pat Rhoads’ blog, missingaimee.blogspot.com . I like to say that Pat and I ran cross country together in high school, when in fact, we started and finished running in the same places, but the rest of the time his dust had settled by the time I trotted by. I was so happy for him when we met up at our *ahem*-year reunion and I met his lovely wife and baby girl Rowan, who is just 6 months younger than my Hailey. Aimee was one of those people I instantly wanted to be friends with – we chatted a bit and I liked her even more. She was the me I hoped to be. Although I had good intentions, and followed Pat’s adventures on Facebook, I didn’t see Pat and Aimee again until this past summer at an all-school reunion in Ocean Shores. Seeing Aimee and Pat again was so fun for me – although I got a little of the “Honey, your weird high school friend I don’t know is stalking me” vibe… I just felt like I knew her. I told her, “I love my husband and have a great marriage, but YOU are making him look bad!” I explained how Pat never posted anything about her without prefacing her name with an adjective; “The Amazing Aimee Rhoads”, “The Beautiful Aimee Rhoads”, “My Lovely Wife”, and so on. And it was so obviously genuine, second nature. She demurred and said, “I’m not on Facebook much.” “Oh,” I said, “I’m pretty sure he doesn’t just post it on Facebook!” She smiled and laughed. Just a lovely, gracious person. I don’t know when I have seen two people more appreciative of each other, having so much fun and so aware of their blessings. On December 18, Pat lost his beloved wife, Aimee, in a tragic accident while on vacation. She leaves behind a grieving husband, a 3 1/2-year-old daughter, her mother, her brother, her clients and a whole network of people who depended on her for wisdom, light and love. Pat’s blog, while I cry just thinking about it, is a beautifully written tribute to his wife and the life they created together. He writes with honesty, humility and grace and I would encourage you to read it, it will change you. Pat and Rowan have lots of support, bravery and great faith, and they will be ok, but never the same. He has been grateful for the outpouring of affection, and the number of lives Aimee touched in her 36 years. The impression Aimee made on me was quite common for her, according to what I heard at her memorial service and what I’ve read on Facebook and the blog (for those who don’t read a lot of blogs, start at the bottom, it’s the beginning).
That said, I have a TON of photos to share, and I’m hoping they bring as much happiness to you as they do me. Here’s to appreciating what we have, and expressing gratitude for our many blessings.