Letter to Ivonne on 24 April 2017, posted with her permission:
We all miss Patrick and I know that you miss him very much too. Fortunately we all still have each other. You are especially lucky because you also have your daughter. Her love for you is different, but just as special, just as wonderful, and just as deserving of nourishment.
Life is like a tree: we occasionally lose branches, some young, some old, but together all the other branches grow over time to fill in the space left behind, each one shaped a little differently because of the gap they filled. However, we have to remember to care for the tree, the remaining branches, so that we all can thrive.
Patrick was a special person. He understood you, accepted you, loved you, cared for you, and you understood, loved, accepted and cared for him. It was obvious to me when I was there, and it was obvious to others who saw you two together.
Here’s what I ask from you: Take all that love and care and acceptance you and Patrick shared and use it on yourself and on your little girl. This is the time when you need to love yourself just as Patrick loved you.
You have a big heart, and big hearts break more easily, but big hearts also hold more love. Share that love with yourself and your daughter.
We will all get through this loss together, and we will all be stronger, and our lives richer, for working through it together.
Many, many hugs.