Gini Dietrich

#FollowFriday: Pat Rhoads

By: Gini Dietrich | May 18, 2012 | 

I have never done a #FollowFriday for someone I just met. My feeling on recommendations is I give you someone I know really well so you trust that everyone highlighted here has been through a certain amount of vetting.

So I hope you’ll forgive me for introducing you today to Pat Rhoads, a man who, though I’ve been following him on Twitter, smacked me in the face (figuratively) in the comments of Spin Sucks yesterday.

If you missed the blog post, The Atlantic did a piece on whether or not Facebook is making us lonely and I riffed on it. You see, I’m torn. I think the social networks open up a world generations before us never knew, but it’s also frustrating as heck when you’re at dinner with people, live and in person, and they spend the whole meal documenting your time together on Facebook or Twitter.

But Pat. Pat made me think.

Here’s what he said:

A really good example of how social media, and his blog, helped keep him going, wouldn’t you say?

But that’s not the reason I want you to follow him. The reason I want you to check him out is to see what he’s doing to heal after the loss of his wife.

Lisa Gerber emailed me and said she had online stalked Pat and spent 10 minutes sobbing her eyes out when she found his personal blog. I told her I wasn’t going to read it. And then I did. And my reaction was the same.

Missing Aimee is a blog he set up the day after his wife passed away, a week before Christmas last year. He wrote one of his first blog posts on the flight home from the trip where the accident happened, detailing what he was able to put together about the accident.

The very first blog post was written the day after it happened and you can find it here. You’ll also find Pat’s and Rowan’s (their daughter) first Christmas without Aimee, and their anniversary, and Valentine’s Day, and her birthday, and Mother’s Day.

I’m sure Pat doesn’t want you to feel sorry for him, nor does he want you to think he’s doing this for sympathy. I say this because the way he writes is not self-pity at all. But I do think the way he’s using the social web to connect with people in order to heal is amazing and strong and unbelievable.

I highly recommend you take 10 minutes today and stop by to say hello to him. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • His post gave me chills. 

    • ginidietrich

       @jasonkonopinski I’ll admit I cried. What an awful thing to have happen.

      • FrankDickinson

         @ginidietrich I just finished the first page of posts starting at the day after the accident. Yeah – tears.

        • ginidietrich

           @FrankDickinson I really like the raw writing. It’s pretty incredible he can put fingers to keyboard.

        •  @ginidietrich  @FrankDickinson Rawness works. Polishing would only blunt the emotion that drove the writing in the first place. 

    • Also? I’m crying RIGHT NOW. 

      • AnneReuss

          So am I.  His strength is infectious. 

  • I totally agree, Facebook helps me feel less lonely too. I am living abroad and after one year living in the U.S. I don’t have a real friend I can count on. I even don’t know whom to ask to help me bring me back home from the garage when I will sell my car ! And yes I met perfect strangers online I never call or met in person but I can call them friends.
    So stop blaming social networks for making us stupid, asocial  or like cavemen, you don’t know what you are talking about because you never faced being alone in a new country and have your family and friends living all over the world thouthands of miles away.

    • ginidietrich

       @AnneEgros I will bring you back from the garage when you sell your car!
      Yes, you’re right. Social media allows us to create connections far and wide. While my family isn’t in other country, they’re spread across the U.S. and I’m able to keep up with them via the web. I like it!

      •  @ginidietrich @AnneEgros this isn’t the same at all, but you made me think of it – When I moved to Chicago in 2011, I didn’t know anyone other than Gini. I went to Target to get some things for my new apt and ended up with more than I could carry back! Gini came and got me and drove me home! So when she says she’ll bring you back from the garage, she means it. 🙂 

  • FrankDickinson

    I’m on it like white on rice.

    • ginidietrich

       @FrankDickinson What if you eat brown rice?

  • While I cannot bring myself to look at his blog today in the office, I will over the weekend. Thanks for sharing him, Gini!

    • ginidietrich

       @RebeccaTodd Yeah…not an in the office type of reading.

  • Thanks for this.

    • ginidietrich

       @KenMueller You’re welcome for this.

      •  @ginidietrich  @KenMueller Ken can only type 3 word sentences when he works from his porch. fyi.

  •  @patmrhoads it seems @ginidietrich decided to do a FF for someone who I can’t write a silly song about like I did her husband, or a tongue in cheek bio like I did for so many in the past.
    If anyone can say life isn’t fair considering what you have been through it surely isn’t me.
    I will say that it seems you found away to heal and celebrate Aimee’s life in a way that is very special and endearing. A year ago I learned I lost all my personal belongings including all my photos pre-digital life from growing up, high school, college, and I realized how memories vs things are most important. I see family photos in antique shops, old grainy black and whites from the late 1800’s through early 1900’s and wonder if they were special to someone. yet I don’t know their value or history or story. I just see a photo for sale for $5 that is cool and artsy.
    What you have done is created something longer lasting for Aimee than any object or item. And that is very special. Look forward to seeing you on the twitter.

    • ginidietrich

       @HowieSPM  Was that just a year ago? Wow.

      •  @ginidietrich well the event was 18 months I just didn’t know til a year ago. You have no idea how often I am with Isadora and think I need a kitchen tool and think ‘I had one’ but not anymore.

        • ginidietrich

           @HowieSPM Ha! That would drive me crazy. But you’re right….they’re just things.

    •  @HowieSPM  @patmrhoads  @ginidietrich Olivier Blanchard brandbuilder  wrote a post about getting a stack of ephemera from his family in France. Personal histories are a really wonderful thing, aren’t they?  
      My friend Blake stauchistory is a local historian and researcher – his blog is filled with posts of trying to unearth story from a photograph or faded personal letter.  

      • stauchistory  brandbuilder The ping didn’t work. Wanted to be sure you two saw this. 

      •  @jasonkonopinski Personal histories are an entirely different ballgame when compared to random pieces of ephemera or memorabilia I come across. At least with personal histories you have some information about the subject. With random items you start out from scratch and see where it leads you. Sometimes you hit a dead end, while others you find yourself entering a great story.
        Excellent post my friend. It reminds me of the first day we met in person and you talked to me like we knew each other for a long time. 

  • I seriously had tears running down my face. And you’re exactly right – he isn’t doing it for sympathy. It is beautifully and heartbreakingly written, and probably a really good outlet for grieving.
    Pat, his family, and his blog have been on my mind since I read it. I was thinking about it this morning and wondering about something as silly as SEO because I hope others in the same situation can find it. This is the perfect use for building community – for people who need support and love. 
    I’m so glad you wrote about this. 

    •  @Lisa Gerber You couldn’t have articulated this any more clearly – and thank you.  I had a feeling that this was going to be @ginidietrich ‘s #FF post and I’m so glad that I was right. 
      It’s easy to forget why people use social media in the first place when we focus so much on the business aspects.  This is a wonderful reminder about the power of community and connection. 

      •  @jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich I was totally surprised it was her FF! 

        • ginidietrich

           @Lisa Gerber  @jasonkonopinski Like I said at the beginning, I don’t recommend people I don’t really know. But I was so touched by his blog that I wanted other people to find it. We know the people who comment here, but we don’t know the other 99% who don’t. Perhaps it’ll find someone who really needs it.

        • patmrhoads

           @Lisa Gerber  Lisa, I did get your email and will contact you a little later today. Thank you!

        •  @patmrhoads Sounds good! no rush.

  • Thanks @ginidietrich  and @patmrhoards for sharing. People grieve, heal and honor their loved ones in different ways. I am happy to see the social community respond with open arms. It continues to amaze me. Make room for one more.

  • #followfriday  #FF – I’m following @patmrhoads because @ginidietrich said so:  (read at risk of your tears)

    • ginidietrich

       @JohnAkerson  And perhaps don’t read at work!

  • Whoa. I read the first post and part of another, and I had to stop. I mean, I’m at work, after all.
    I could not imagine (a) losing my wife and then (b) having to raise my kids alone. And for it to happen suddenly has to be even harder.
     @patmrhoads I hope your blog continues to provide the outlet you need. The web can be a powerful tool for good, and I think you’re proof of that.
     @ginidietrich Thanks for sharing.

    •  @bradmarley  Yeah…not exactly work reading. I really love the blog posts where he talks about how he always thought if Rowan had to be raised by one parent, it would be Aimee. Sob.

    • patmrhoads

       @bradmarley  @ginidietrich
       Thanks Brad. It has been a great outlet, and I know it must be resonating with people because I’ve been overwhelmed at the strong following it has garnered. 

  • I don’t know what to say other than I am reading and I am sorry because sometimes life really isn’t fair.

    •  @TheJackB Life really is not fair. You’re right.

  • jonbuscall

     @ginidietrich Thanks for sharing. It’s posts like this and bloggers like  patmrhoads who remind me that the Net isn’t just about marketing or business; it’s about real people and real life issues. 
    I read some of your blot patmrhoads and was very touched. Brave man.

  • patmrhoads

    All I can say is ‘wow’. Thanks so much for the honor of being recommended, for all the very kind words about my ‘Missing Aimee’ blog. I can’t express just how touched I am and how much this means to me, especially as I hope to use that blog to offer some kind of help or hope to others in similar situations.

    •  @patmrhoads You’re welcome. You touched my heart late yesterday afternoon and I wanted you to do the same for so many of our readers. 

  • I saw his comment on your post yesterday and your comment back so I took a look. Wow! I’m moved not only by the emotions expressed by Pat but the creative outlet he used to connect with others who may also be suffering. Am totally immersed.

    •  @C_Pappas And you’re at work, which is probably bad.

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