NEWINGTON - Itâ€™s been nearly a year since she was killed by her husband, and the family of Patricia Torbicki is still living with immense sadness.
They expect to join at least 100 relatives and friends at a candlelight vigil next Friday, Sept. 21, on the one-year anniversary of her death. The gathering begins at 6 p.m. in Mill Pond Park.
Patricia, known fondly by her family as â€śPatti,â€ť was just 46 when her husband, Michael Torbicki, shot her twice inside their Newington home, ending her life. The former Marine also attempted to take his own life, but survived. He was charged with murder and committed suicide in prison last December.
The coupleâ€™s son, Donovan, is a sophomore at Newington High School. About to turn 15, he is living with his grandparents, Patricia and Michael Procaccini, and his aunt Maxine Procaccini.
â€śI went from being a single person to a parent of a teenager,â€ť Maxine said this week. â€śIâ€™m looking forward to the vigil but Iâ€™d rather have my baby sister here. I miss her being just a phone call away.â€ť
Pattiâ€™s twin, Michelle Douglass, and her family will be traveling from their home in Maine to take part in the ceremony. In an email, Douglass said itâ€™s painful for her to talk about her sister. The two were inseparable.
â€śI cry every day still,â€ť she wrote. â€śItâ€™s hard to go from talking to someone three times a day to not at all.Â I miss her so much it hurts.Â Time does not heal all wounds â€¦ a part of me died that day, too.â€ť
Patti was a member of the former Mill Pond Church, which merged with Cedar Mountain Church to become LifeWay Church last October. Pastor Joel Rissinger will be leading people in prayer Friday.
â€śShe was one of our original members,â€ť Rissinger said. â€śShe taught in our childrenâ€™s ministry, sang on our praise team â€¦ itâ€™s definitely been a tough year.â€ť
The pastor acknowledged that there are several phases of grief Pattiâ€™s loved ones have gone through.
â€śShock, denial, then thereâ€™s this intense sadness and anger.â€ť
Rissinger hopes to comfort those who are hurting when he speaks about his former church member and friend.
â€śFrom Pattiâ€™s perspective, our faith would tell us sheâ€™s fine and sheâ€™s filled with joy,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s the rest of us who struggle. Part of the healing process is to realize she is at peace, despite the loss weâ€™re going through.â€ť
Over 300 people attended a vigil last fall.
â€śThe outpouring of love from people in Newington and everywhere - people I didnâ€™t even know - it was amazing,â€ť her mother, Patricia, remembered.
The family is asking those who attend the upcoming vigil to bring a purple balloon and a candle, if they wish. Purple was Pattiâ€™s favorite color.
â€śMy goal is just to remember her and celebrate her life,â€ť her mother added. â€śShe was a wonderful daughter, a wonderful mother and a true friend to everybody. Everyone who knew her loved her.â€ť
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.