Our brother-in-law, Pat, went to be with the Lord right after Christmas. This was a complete shock to many. We’d just met him and his wife, Nancy (Mike’s sister) for dinner in Sarasota on December 22nd. They were unable to attend Ben and Bonnie’s wedding in May, so we had planned our time together so they could meet Bonnie. After that, he had a great Christmas with his family and spent the 26th on the beach with one of his grandsons. He didn’t feel well after dinner and Nancy had to rush him to the hospital. Pat was in the Lord’s arms around midnight.
Ben and Bonnie were ready to head back to D. C. when we heard the news, but were able to stay several days. We were very glad that our whole family was able to drive down to be with Nancy and other family members for the memorial service. Mike’s brother, Jeff, and three of Pat’s brothers also flew in from Pennsylvania.
We were able to celebrate his life with 600 others at his memorial service and stood in a receiving line for over an hour. We were deeply touched by the love people had for Pat and for Nancy. Many people are also commenting on a Facebook page dedicated to praying for Pat. These words from one of their friends in particular memorializes well what kind of selfless, loving man Pat was:
I am still in shock and denial, as I’m sure you and the family and everyone else is as well. I keep thinking about the last time I saw Pat in the hallway at work, and just waved to him. Now I wish I had given him a big hug and told him how much he and his witness (especially through the cancer battle) has meant to me. He was a TRUE inspiration to me and my own personal walk with Christ. What an AMAZING man of God. What a true gentle, humble spirit…that I wish I had more of myself.
… I remember very vividly how many times Pat would ask, with such care and concern, about how my mom was doing. He truly cared more about how others were doing than about how he himself was doing, ‘cause when I would ask him how he was doing, he would brush it off and give praise to God that he was doing fine. I also remember with GREAT fondness how you and he came to the ER one time that I was there with mom. That REALLY meant a lot to both me and my mom.
… Pat Hale was an amazing man…one of a kind…and I don’t understand why God decided to take him up to heaven so early in his young life. But I’m glad for Pat that he is now rejoicing in heaven, pain free and cancer free, and walking and talking with our Lord and Savior face to face. I’m sure he is also talking with… other friends and family members that have gone before…and they are giving him the grand tour… It’s always so hard for those left behind…but how people do it that don’t have the hope of Christ, I’ll never know. I pray that you all feel God’s loving arms surrounding you during this time.
I just wanted to write down my own thoughts of Pat, helping me to process the loss…but also to share them with you. Pat’s life, and loss, has really impacted me deeply. It’s helping me to realize what is really important in this life. Pat knew what that was!!! Now maybe I’m learning it too through his life (and his loss of that precious life).
…praying for you and the family!!
Thank you for praying for Nancy and her three children and their little families. This photo is one of our favorites of Pat from three years ago with one of his grandsons. If you recall, we’ve shared with you this past year some thoughts from Pat as he battled his cancer and reached out to others. You can read those two stories from his Caring Bridge site here.
Pat ended all his posts on Caring Bridge with:
“We remain now and forever in the palm of His hand and HE WILL NOT LET US GO!!”