Today was a very special day here in Cincinnati, Ohio. We met this afternoon at the cenotaph for Patrick and Stephanie, in the Shepard family plot. In addition to Stephanie’s immediate family (brother Tate, niece Alison and her husband Evan, nephew Carl and his wife Brittany, Stephanie’s son Tim and his family Kelly, Zoe, Nicolas, and Jillian) were Kathy, a long-time friend of Tate and of Stephanie, Lee, Patrick’s high-school and college friend, and myself.
In just a couple of hours I will finally get to meet Stephanie’s family. I look forward to it.
At this time tomorrow the final memorial will be over and we’ll all be telling stories at one of Patrick’s favorite restaurants in their area. I’m looking forward to that too.
A couple of days after that and I’ll be home again, wrestling with parking shuttles, LA traffic, and the return to routine work days and occasional friends. I think I’m looking forward to that too, but I say it with some reticence, uncertain as to why. Perhaps it stems from my desire to stop closing chapters of Patrick’s book, as if it would change things somehow.
For now I’ll refocus. Two hours, then 24, and let the rest come when it will.
I just wanted to tell you that the website you’ve created and all the things you’ve been writing are lovely. I’ve been reading some periodically, and just now read the last thing you wrote about going to Ohio.
The whole site is a wonderful tribute to your dad, and to the shared experiences, the love that you two finally found, the ways you got to spend time together… it’s all really beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with me, with the world.
Here’s a map of Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati Ohio, where the US memorial will be held on 21 October 2017 at 1:00 PM. The cenotaph honoring Stephanie and Patrick will be placed in Stephanie’s family plot.
These moments are telling in the way they deliver both sorrow and joy: sorrow for the loss of a father, joy in the company of people who come to honor him.
This is also another one of those final milestones, one that I mentioned a few months ago, the end of another part of the cycle of Patrick’s existence. Just as there are no more conversations, e-mail, awkward hugs or shared laughter, there will be no more formal memorials after this one.
His legacy lives on–in the music festival (which turns 40 next year), in some of his children and grandchildren, in his writings and recordings–but a legacy is like a dead language: eloquent, vivid, a peek into the souls of the writers, but no longer vibrant, changing, growing.
In just over a week we say goodbye, one last time.
Each day after that we will say thanks, thanks to Patrick and Stephanie, thanks to them both for enriching our lives.
I’m leaving soon to the Prescott Rally, one of those “Activities of Daily Living” that psychologists talk about as part of the healing process, at least if you’re an active competitor in the sport.
I’ll share this brief memory, then move on.
One of my happiest times with Patrick was the time he came to Prescott with me in 2014. It was the first and only time he’d ever seen me in competition. Unfortunately, Brian and I experienced a mechanical problem with the rally car (a vintage Datsun 240Z) –right around the corner from where Patrick was spectating!
Patrick had no interest in motorsports, yet he was willing to drive with me almost 500 miles each way in order to be with me as I pursued my passion.
The drive together gave us a lot of time for other conversations, and he excelled at conversation. I’m glad he was willing to make that effort for me.
It was on this trip that Patrick met, in addition to many of my rally friends, Robin and Robin’s dad Bob, both from Albuquerque.
Bob and Patrick were about the same age but had radically different takes on life, politics, and almost every other topic. Even so, they genuinely enjoyed meeting one another, talking about all kinds of things, and having dinner together with their two sons.
A couple of years later Patrick asked me for some details about the sport–not because of direct interest, but because he thought he might use those tidbits to color a story he wanted to write–but I’ve not found any evidence that the story had been developed or even started.