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.
The memorial included a bit of family history and interesting coincidences from Tate, reflections about family by Tim, music and thoughts by Alison and Carl, and poetry readings by Alison and myself.
Lee, who came all the way up from Florida, shared thoughts about the Patrick he knew, a very different Patrick from whom we remembered. We knew Patrick as a confident man, an adventurer, a “chick magnet” (to quote Tate), but Lee knew him from his days in high school where they spent hours together talking about God, girls, and music, shy and withdrawn.
Cups of red wine were shared (along with apple cider for the kids) in a toast to Patrick and Stephanie’s memory.
In the evening, most of Stephanie’s family, along with Kathy and her niece Katherina and myself, enjoyed a wonderful dinner and extended conversation at a nice restaurant on the Kentucky side of the river in Newport.
When we returned to Evan and Alison’s house, conversation resumed. I also shared a few selections of video from Patrick’s memorial concert. Near the end of the night I even played a few recordings of my music.
By all measures one must say that today was a perfect day given the situation. Families came together, important people were honored, and new friendships were formed.
This was the last formal memorial for Patrick, and with the uplifting presence of Stephanie’s memory in the mix it was a magnificent way to finish things up.
Special thanks to Tate for pulling everything together.