Monday, March 17, 2008

Dear Pat

Dear Pat,
It was exactly two years ago today that all our lives were changed forever. I remember that phone call so clearly. The fear but strength in your voice as you told me you had leukemia. I remember doubling over, not able to breathe and this undistinguishable gutter cry that came out of my mouth. You reeled me right back in and assured me we would work it out. You never waivered from that belief.
Now, two years later....I still have a hard time believing you are not here. I don't just miss you, I long for you. An hour doesn't pass that I am not in some way reminded of you. Whether it be a song on the radio, a photograph, a certain smell or just someplace we would go together.
I can't begin to wrap my arms around what the past two years must have been like for you. You were such a pillar of strength and so, so certain the leukemia was never coming back. I remember you telling me not to worry, that you had told the leukemia not to come back. Just you saying that gave me such peace because I knew what a determined person you were. To say I admire your brave fight just doesn't seem to give it justice, I can't find the words, I will simply say I am in awe.
I know you lovingly watch over us, and I'm sure you are beaming with pride as our children continue to thrive and live their lives with as much strength and courage they can muster. Brady and Becky are now engaged and have chosen their wedding date as the day you and I met (without knowing, mind you). Brady has developed a passion for AHAB that I'm sure makes you so thrilled and proud. Brock has fought tooth and nail to stay in good standing in college and with his soccer team. He has had a tougher time doing this while not actually living with his family, but he is a fighter like you. Chloe continues to amaze me, so strong and compassionate. As she heads off to college next year, like all milestones in our lives now, it will be bittersweet.
Although you are not here physically, you are such a huge part of our daily lives. We have become accustomed to asking ourselves when faced with a decision, "What would dad do?" It gives us so much comfort to do things that would make you happy.
Please know that although I am not alone, I am lonely for you. I miss nagging you, teasing you, calling you for every little thing, and turning to you for advice....I know I didn't always take it, but at least I asked!
In the coming days, months and years I will continue to look to you for guidance. I know now how precious every moment spent with a loved one is, I thank you for that gift. I thank you for battling for us, for the wonderful 10 months of remission, for bringing back those feelings we had when we first met. Where it didn't matter what we did as long as we were together. Our Sunday walks on the beach are missed so much, those were the best.
Please know that we are going to be "fine" here, not the same but "fine." For the simple reason that we have love, laughter and memories, the three most important things that the FIVE of us built.
If there was anything, anything at all that would bring you back, the line would be neverending of people willing to do anything. You were and are loved that much. But like you would always say "It is what it is." We know you've got our backs, one foot in front of day at a time.
Sending you love and kisses.


Anonymous said... amaze me. What a beautiful letter to Pat. I know Pat is proud of you and your strength. I am so proud to call you my "sister". All my love, Maribeth

Anonymous said...

I miss you too!! More than i could ever express. You will be excited to know that i will be personally fullfilling our goal of visiting every NASCAR track in the US. I am very excited and you will be proud of me.
A day does not go by that i dont think of you. Every morning i say hi to your picture in my office as well as i still wear everyday the orange bracelet you gave me. I use your backpack just about every day too. I sware you are with with me sometimes. I know it.
Thanks for all the unforgetable memories !!

Great letter! I know we have said it before but please know that we are here for you no matter what. You are an inspiration to me and i would do absolutley anything for you and the kids. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family at this time.


The Kimbles

Anonymous said...

Dear Jules,
I can not begin to express in words how amazing you are. I don't tell you nearly enough how much I admire and most of all, love you. I have not a single doubt that Pat is looking over everyone and when he sees you I know he is proud. You and your kids are for lack of a better word, unbelievable! It makes me so happy to know that I was blessed with 2 great big sisters and somehow I got lucky enough to also get the best big brother ever. Pat has been in my life since I was 8 and will continue to be in my life forever. Travis and I really try to make him proud everyday and love each other and just enjoy life. I know for a fact that is what he would want. I see so much of Pat in Brady, Brock and Chloe that it is just one more reminder of all the good he did while he was with us. I know he is still with us now, just in a different way. I will never stop loving him, missing him or forget his smile. He brought many smiles to all of us over the last 22 years and for him I will try to do the same. I love you Jules and hope that you know whatever you need I will be there. I guess the only thing left to say is "It is what is" and I hope they have a lot of chicken tortilla soup and oreos up there!! Lots of love,

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,

Reading Julie's letter to you today reminds us all again how very much we miss and love you. She's so right that at any moment in time something will hit me and the tears will come because it hurts so much not to have you here with us. Our family just isn't the same without you.

I, too, remember so clearly the day you were diagnosed and how you called Bob to try to get to Julie before she found out. As usual, you were thinking more about her and your family than what you were facing. But, true to Julie's form, she was able to get it out of you before we could get there.
You were so strong and convinced us all that you were going to be "fine".

You were such a wonderful son to me and I miss you so terribly. I hope that God knows what a treasure he got when you showed up.

Julie told you how proud you would be of the kids and you would be equally proud of your loving, beautiful wife, Julie. She has more strength than any of us could have known. From someone who called you every day, probably ten times a day, she has taken over and making all those big decisions on her own. She's doing it all with you in mind and in her heart. I remember so clearly telling you once that you would never find anyone who loved you more than her and she still does!!!

Thank you, Pat for all the love that you showed me and all of our family. You are a truly special and loved person and one that we would do anything to bring back.

Julie, what a special tribute to Pat and know that we are here for you any time of the day or night. I am so proud to be your mother.


Anonymous said...

Julie, What a beautiful letter to Pat... I have tears running down my face. You are doing an amazing job with the the kids and yourself.
I know it must be really hard without him, I know I sure miss our Friday night dinners with you and Pat... Just know we are always here for you and love you all very much. Love, Sandy

Anonymous said...

As I read your letter to Pat, I was in awe of your strength, wisdom,courage and also peace. You are truly an amazing person. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for you each day. It has been said that time heals all. I do not think time will ever heal the void in your life, or the lives of your children. However, Our Precious Lord does provide all of the strength, courage, wisdom and peace we need. (It is very obvious from your letter.) Keep on trusting Him, never lose your faith. Your faith has gotten you through these past months, and will continue to do so. Jesus has promised that each one of us can expeirence true peace: "I am leaving You with a gift--- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives So don't be trouled or afraid. I am with you always."
I think you should be inducted in the "Hall of Faith"
Aunt Mary

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Anonymous said...


I miss you. I still think of you. I'll always love you. I Don't think it would be possible to forget you even if I tried. I wish I could do more for your family. I wish I could have done more for you. I do promise to keep doing the one thing that I have been doing. The one thing I that I CAN do. The one thing that I do best. Talk. I won't... no...I refuse to let your memory die.
I work for a new company now and I talk about you all the time. I talk to anyone and everyone who will listen... and I TELL THEM! I tell them how we ALL loved working for you. I tell them how we all realize that no one has ever been, or ever will be, a better boss than you. I tell them what a great leader you were. I tell them what a great business man you were. I tell them that the shop can never be the same without you. I tell them how our lives could never be the same without you. I tell them what a great person you were. I tell them what a great friend you were. I tell them what a great family man you were...
Then I tell them why. I tell them how compassionate you were. I tell them how caring you were. I tell them how easy going you were. I tell them how fair you were, how loving you were, how tough you were, how cool you were, how understanding you were, how forgiving you were, how great you were... and yeah... even how much of a dick you were. I tell it all just like it was, just like I remember it. I tell them how much we need you. I tell them how much we miss you. I'm even going to tell them how much I cried for you when I wrote this letter. I tell them about your life and the way it affected mine. I tell them what a great man you were. I tell them what a great man you ARE. Most importantly, I tell them how much I love you. I wish I could have told you one last time that I love you. I didn't get the chance. So now I'm going to tell everyone often as possible. You are alive through my words. And I will never let you die.

Julie, you've always been so nice to me. You make people feel like they can talk to you. I can see why Pat loved you. I can see how much you loved Pat. Sorry I didn't get to say goodbye. I passed a message on through your dad. I hope he gave it to you. It was just a simple "goodbye for now", but I hope you got it. If not, I'll kick your dad's butt the next time I see him. Anyway, I love you. Sincerely,

Joe Corrales

Anonymous said...

You "get it". You have described Pat to a tee. Thank you for keeping Pat's memory alive. I know he truly cared for you and how touched he would be for your genuine love for him. There will never be another Pat, I can't begin to describe how much he is missed in mine and my children's lives. I wish you all the best at your new company. You have a beautiful family, cherish that blessing. And dammit Joe, next time someone tells you to pick the "chocolata", pick the frickin' "chocolata"!

maribeth said...


Anonymous said...

Dear Pat,

We all miss you, especially on the first birthday you are not here. I call it the year of "firsts." Your Dad really misses you alot. You were such an important part of his life. He loves you so much. You and Julie produced such a beautiful family and she is so strong. You would be very proud of her. I am so glad and grateful I got to know you even if it was for a brief time. You helped put life in perspective...what is important. I am so happy to be even a small part of the Smith clan. Your Dad is one in a million!
Love, Jo Ann

Anonymous said...

Julie, Just wanted you to know that Pat, you and your family are still apart of my thoughts and prayers. I knew Pat through work at Tustin Lexus and of course grew to respect and to truly learn what a amazing guy he was. Through you all, he still is! Sheri