To say we are overwhelmed is an understatement …

THANK YOU so much to our families and friends for such an incredible night on Friday!!  I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the whole thing … we are just amazed, not only by the number of people that came out to support us, but by how generous you all are.

To be honest, I don’t feel like we deserve any of it.  I know that we haven’t been the most communicative or outgoing people in the last eleven months, and I am just totally blown away by everyone’s seemingly unlimited capacity to give.  Even now, days later, I stop and tears fill my eyes because I cannot believe how good people are.

I have no idea how we can adequately thank all of you.  Quite simply, you saved us.  We will be able to totally refurnish our house and maybe even tuck some money away for a rainy day.  How we can ever convey how grateful we are for that?

None of this would have been possible without Kristen and we want to thank her for all of her hard work.  I have no idea how she pulled it off, or how she rallied the troops like she did, but we are eternally grateful.  We have the best sister and sister-in-law we could ever ask for.  She’s the most selfless, loyal and giving person I know, and I wish we could somehow repay her for everything she’s done.  We know how lucky we are to have her in our lives and we are so appreciative of her support and love.

At one point during the night, I mentioned to my aunts how sad I was that Brienna wasn’t there with us.  It’s been eleven months and I still long for her and miss her more than I can ever describe … As I was talking (and crying – I did a lot of that), I realized something: of course she was there with us.  Our entire lives are shaped by her presence and I know in my heart that she too felt all that love.  I’m quite sure she was smiling watching us all!  It is easier for us to accept all this goodwill if we think of it as being for her … I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I know how much everyone aches for us that Brienna is in Heaven and not here with us.  And I know how helpless everyone felt when she died, so as much as this was for Pat and I, it was for her too.  She is the most special little girl and every day I thank God for allowing me to be her mother … she has taught and continues to teach me more than I ever could have dreamed.

There is so much more to say, but I don’t know how to say it.  So thank you again, for everything.  We are beyond blessed and I hope we can somehow, someday appropriately express our gratitude and appreciation!

Patrick and Laurie