My Son Patrick (A Fathers Remembrance)
On January 10, 1987, God gave Patrick Stephen Shannon to his mother Carla and me. Patrick arrived almost 3 months ahead of schedule. This was our first clue at how Patrick would live his life. Basically, that is to forget the plan. Let’s do now and all at once!
As an infant, Patrick had a lot to overcome because of his premature birth. We brought our beautiful baby boy home wired up to monitors and masks. Pretty soon we started to see Pats personality shine through. Always smiling, cooing and reaching up to touch our faces. As Patrick grew into a toddler his curious nature took control. There was no cupboard, counter top or cubby hole he did not explore. Patrick was always a happy youngster who took great joy in loving his family. Nothing pleased him more than to be playing with his siblings and cousins. Early on, it was evident that Patrick had been graced by God with the natural ability to truly love unconditionally. I will miss his unsolicited hugs and those spontaneous words “I love you Dad.” Patrick had an enthusiasm for life that was infectious. Imagine with me a little fella about 5 or 6 years old. He sees you from across the room as you enter. He breaks into a wide loving smile with Kool-Aid lined lips. He bolts across the room to give you the warmest kneecap hug ever. With his arms wrapped around your legs he looks up at you and excitedly asks his famous three questions I know all you Grand Parents, Aunts and Uncles can remember.
“Whatcha doing? Whatcha got? Whatcha eating?” That was my boy. Always curious. Always hungry. Always full of love.
As Patrick’s father I knew my son like no one else. The relationship we shared throughout his short life was one of solid love and companionship. I never had to ask Pat twice for help on any project. He always happily jumped to my side to tackle whatever I needed help with. He did it for the pure joy of he and I being together. As he grew into a young man he and I had our differences over some of his decisions, or lack of a key decision. No matter how heated a debate, we always came back to hugging and reminding each other that we were a father and son that loved each other unconditionally. That nothing can ever come between us. Not anger, money, problems or politics. Pat would say “That’s because we’re Shannon’s Dad and Shannon’s don’t do that.” and I would hug him again knowing he learned what my parents taught me.
Patrick placed a special value on his friendships too. He had this special charm when meeting people. How many of you here today remember the first time you met my son? He told me one day that it is easy to make friends. He said “It is this simple Dad. I extend a hand and say Hi. My name is Pat”. He was right. Patrick had a lot of friends. Friends that he loved to help or cheer up when they were troubled.
As we all know, Pat was a sensitive fella that could feel our pain when we were hurting. He was first to be there with a warm hug, smile or some off the wall joke or one-liner that would instantly bring our spirits up. That’s who my son was.
Patrick had a very strong faith and belief in God and Jesus. When he was having a difficult time or troubles, he would come here and commune with his Lord to find relief and possible answers. He and I had a lot of long talks regarding this. About 6 years ago, Patrick had to do that quite a bit as life started weighing him down with more than he thought he could handle. 4 years ago Pat met Anne and then God gave them the precious gift of William.
William was Pat’s freedom from troubles as he learned to be a Dad and love his boy like nothing he had ever known. He and I often shared thoughts and long conversations about this special bond between father and son. Pat would come to me asking advice and we both would talk and rejoice in being so blessed with fatherhood. These last two years Patrick has lived with me while raising his boy. This was such a blessing for me because Patrick, William and I had so many precious moments together as Grandpa, Dad and son.
Just like my Father did with my son Patrick and I so many years ago.
The events of the last week have shown me that Patrick was like a 1000 piece puzzle. Up close he had some pieces missing or tattered. Perhaps a corner piece was gone. But when I stand back and look at the big picture it is the most beautiful picture puzzle I have ever seen.
Right now I stand before you a broken man who could not fix his broken son. So our loving Heavenly Father and Jesus, his brother, has embraced Pat, as he has gone home to his true home; to fix what I could not. God, my family and friends will fix me and this painful gaping wound in my family will someday turn into only a scar.
As we leave here today do not try to make sense of the senseless. Instead rejoice in the gift the Good Lord gave this clan of ours. That precious gift was my loving son Patrick Stephen Shannon.
Right now as we celebrate Patrick’s life, my beautiful boy is walking through the Pearly Gates of Heaven. He is walking straight up to Saint Peter with an extended hand and saying “Hi! My name is Pat.”
“My Son Patrick” Read by Patrick’s father Steve Shannon 03-16-12
it's MY island!- Patrick Shannon