Thursday, July 12, 2012


“Can I get yuh a beer?” This is how my buddy Billy always greeted me. I met Billy while attending a divorce group. Billy was twice divorced. He quickly became a great shoulder for me to cry on. I considered Billy safe because he’s the same age as my parents, and a good Christian man. I knew he wasn’t trying to impress me to sleep with me or date me. He was a great shoulder for me to cry on and filled a great void in my life.The relationship between him and his children was strained a little through the divorce. I felt awkward around my dad knowing he didn’t approve of my divorce. A few weeks into the divorce group I started calling Billy dad.

Five years later our relationship was still close at heart but we rarely saw or talked to each other. He married again and I was dating someone exclusively. Our lives became busy and we lost touch. We talked in the early months of 2008. He had just started a new job, as did I. The day of July 19, 2008 was a dark day. I had dinner plans with my boyfriend. I had errands to run before dinner. One of my favorite cooking dishes, the crock pot, had cracked and I was shopping all over town for a new affordable crock pot. I was thrilled over the deal I found. But over at Billy’s house, a storm was brewing.

Two days later I received the dreaded phone call. Billy pointed a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. He lost his hope. My world came to a crashing halt! I don’t understand how this wonderful man who helped me find hope in God and helped me overcome a divorce chose to end his life with a bullet. Only speculation and rumors answer my question, “why?” How did he lose his hope? Why didn’t he call someone for help? How in the world did we all miss the signs?

I replayed the events of that day in my mind numerous times. I changed the scenario so he was killed by an angry wife instead of killing himself. I don’t know why that scenario helped comfort me. In the end, he is still gone forever. Why wasn’t I there for him? I must be a horrible friend to overlook his pain! I want Billy to have a better ending. He deserved so much better than this. I really miss my dear friend. I can still hear his distinctive laugh.

I chose ice cream with a side of chips and dip along with comfort food in every flavor to heal my broken heart. I started listening to angry hate music while pounding my fist into furniture, yelling at the emptiness of my tiny apartment, or crying myself to sleep night after night. But none of these actions helped me feel better. Nothing healed this gaping hole in my heart.During the year of 2008 I attended church maybe three times. I had no desire to attend church. I had no strength to get out of the bed. I was so depressed. I pretty much slept away every weekend. No one wanted to be around me. I had quite the attitude problem at work.

At the end of 2008 I decided to start the new year off right. I needed to find a church. I had no idea where to start searching. One day I’m headed to my parents. As I’m driving to the interstate I pass this sign HOPE. A Presbyterian church simply named HOPE had just relocated right down the street from where I lived. I asked God for a sign and He literally gave me a sign! 

The first Sunday in 2009 I went to their service. The music just ministered to my fragile heart. I was so numb and empty when I entered the building, but when I left I was full of the Holy Spirit. It didn’t take long for me to decide that this was my new church home. And thus my new journey toward God began.

In July of 2009 I resumed my therapy. Between a restored relationship with God and a few months of therapy, I was able to face the truth that Billy did end his own life and I was able to forgive everyone, including myself, for not preventing his death. I found Hope. Ironically, the slogan at Hope Church is “a good place to find life,” which is exactly what I found there. 

Motivated by grief to really live! I'm a completely new person these days. I may not see my friends as often as I'd like, but I make sure to keep in touch with them. I started to really live my life by becoming involved in social networking groups, adopting soldiers, and getting involved with church. I decided that something good should evolve from Billy's death. Since his life ended so abruptly and tragically,  I'm determined to make a real positive impact on the lives of others. 

No comments: