Letter to Patrick

Hey Patrick, it’s JP.

I’m wearing that robe tonight, the maroon one that you and Ivonne bought for me when I came to visit in Palma—so long ago it seems, although it was really just a year and a half ago. So I’m wearing the maroon robe and I’m thinking about you.

You know, things are going ok. Of course, I still miss you like crazy. It’s what, one in the morning and I’m thinking about you.

I think about you a lot.

Still, I’ve dialed it back some. I’m no longer distraught, incapacitated by grief. But those twinges remain, like when I wear this robe or when I dig for a tissue out of that old packet of Spanish Kleenex.

I don’t have to surround myself with your stuff. Those are just things, even if they give me a nice little bit of comfort, like carrying your bag, that beautiful, beige music bag. Now it’s a computer bag but, still very, very nice and comforting to have it close to me. It’s just one of those things and I also tell ya, people compliment it. They say that looks good, very nice, very “European” which of course it should be coming from the fact that you bought it somewhere in Europe, probably Spain. But the sentimental value, that’s where it really stands out.

Gretchen’s doing ok. She’s living on the edge as she always has been. Abby is growing like crazy, growing up fast. She’s a smart young woman, full of life, and beautiful. She’s in the 5th grade now, hard to believe, and 11 years old.

I miss the conversations that we had. I really wish that we could have had so many more and that I could’ve run the recorder for so much longer and been there with you for weeks and months instead of just days and minutes.

Oh, wait, I do have a bit of news to share with you. I just came back from Mexico, where I ran the La Carrera Panamericana which is a really big deal race. Originally it was in the 1950s-it was really dangerous race back then, but they reinitialized it, I guess 30 years ago now. Anyway, it covers 3000 kilometers over seven days. By the time you include days for registration, qualifying, awards and all that other stuff I was there twelve days. It was a hell of an adventure.

We didn’t finish well- not because we crashed, but because somebody ran into the car while we were asleep in our hotel rooms. It was parked out on the street with a bunch of other rally cars. Oh well, at least they’re not winching it out of the trees nor calling for an ambulance, so, you know, it’s rally too I guess.

I think about you coming out to the Prescott Rally with me. I know I’ve said it before, but it really meant a lot to me that you would come out and indulge me in my sport and see what it is that, you know, engages my passion so.

Well, it’s late I should get to sleep. I don’t have anything on the agenda except paying the bills and so on, but so what?

La Carrera was quite the adventure. You would have enjoyed it, not for the racing part, but for all the other stuff that goes with it, for seeing so much of Mexico. Yeah, we were in seven cities in seven days. Amazing.

Damn it dude, I wish you hadn’t check out so early. I mean, I understand, I really do.  The pain – it was just overwhelming. The way Carol described that last hug, there was just nothing left, just skin and bones and agony. So you picked your time and you did it right, and you know we’ll push on, and pass it on to Abby, and Max, my new grandson.

God there’s not much more I can say, but I want to say so much. it’s not like I can say goodbye, or take care, or I love you, or I’ll see you again soon, because none of those things will fall on your ears. There’s nothing but ashes in an urn on top of Stephanie’s casket in a Spanish tomb. Never mind the geography, you’re not here anymore – you’re gone.

But the memories of you are here: Strong. Active. Vibrant. Not only with me, but with others whose lives you touched. It’s just too bad you’re absent, but that’s a part of life too.

This was going to be just a real short note, but I guess it’s gone on for ten minutes now.

While I can’t tell you to take care or any of that, but, I’ll pretend you’re telling me the same, and that you love me.

I’m gonna leave it at that.

The robe is hanging on the hook behind the door again.

Good night to me.

This is an edited transcription of a recording I made in the wee hours of 29 Oct 2018.