We Still Do

It’s been one year, one month and 25 days since my son Billy was senselessly murdered.

If you’ve been following my blog then you already know the circumstances surrounding his murder.

If you haven’t been following me then here it is in a nut shell.

My oldest son Billy, my middle son Jami and their three friends, Zach, Alex, and Sebastian were walking down a Philadelphia street on a Saturday night one week before the Philadelphia Eagles played the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

My sons Billy and Jami.

They were chanting cheers for the Philadelphia Eagles when they encountered a stranger who told them to take it somewhere else.

Never losing their stride, they kept walking, respectfully taking it somewhere else and the guy crossed the street and started to follow them.

It was run or confront.

My son Billy,  who was the oldest in the group, turned around and was immediately stabbed to death.

Nothing was stolen, not a drug deal gone bad, nothing. Just a random, senseless, violent act against my son by a man who they happened to walk past on the street. A man who had no self-control.

I’ve written about my children, my grandson, even my dad and one of my brothers.

I wanted to take a minute and tell you about my husband.

Matt and his Granddog Zoe relaxing after a long day of hunting.

Matt and I got married in 2002. Together we had five sons between us. Zach was almost 13, Cory was 11, Daniel was 10, Billy was 9 and 1/2 and Jami was 4.

I called us a “blending” family.

Matt on our wedding day with 4 of our 5 boys. On the left is Zach and Daniel. On Matt’s right is Billy and Cory. unfortunately Jami is not pictured.

We had our son Robbie and  our daughter Virginia back to back, so by our 2nd anniversary we had a total of 7 children.

That’s a lot of family dynamic going on, not to mention the interactions with the other parents of our boys and their families.

Now, we both had been married and divorced before and honestly I had been married twice before. (insert gasp)😮

Statistics show that 60% of all second marriages end in divorce and 73% of all third marriages end in divorce. Not to mention the divorce statics after a child dies but I won’t even go there.

Not ours!img_1937

Matt and I will be celebrating 17 years of marriage soon. One thing we are not is a statistic.https://youtu.be/YgWOhGFi3dU

Like many, many other married couples, we have had our share of ups and downs over the years. Neither one of us is perfect and if truth be told we are still changing and learning new things about each other.

If anything can turn your world upside down and inside out it’s the death of your child.

In our case, technically, Billy is my biological son and Matt’s step-son.

Me and Billy

When we said for better or for worse, this is the absolute worst situation anyone can face.

Together we went through the cancer diagnosis, the 5 year battle and ultimately the death of my Mother 4 and 1/2 years ago.

Me and my Mom during her cancer battle.

3 summers ago we decided to spend our family vacation at Rehoboth Beach so that we could visit and spend time with my in-laws who live there year round.

It wasn’t until we got there that we realized how ill Matt’s father was. My mother in-law had done a wonderful job caring for him, but, we saw that it was too much for her.

My Father-in-law and Mother-in-law during our New Years Eve traditional visits to their home in Rehoboth Beach DE.

We made phone calls and scheduled appointments and the day before we left my father-in -law was moved to Hospice. He passed away the day after we came home.

Not even the loss of our parents could not prepare us for Billy’s death.

When your parents die it’s something that you anticipate because they’re your parents and that’s the circle of life.,

However, the loss of a child is out-of-order. It’s NOT supposed to happen that way!

Matt and I and our family were thrusted into a horrific situation in an instant.

Thankfully, I immediately had assurance that Billy was with Jesus in paradise.

Peace washed over me and covered everything that I understood or didn’t understand.  It was so permeable, it was like I could breathe it in.

Matt was my rock as usual. He is so dependable and consistent and solid.

Matt and his Dad on our wedding day in 2002.

We went to the funeral home to meet with Billy’s Dad and Stepmom to pick out Billy’s casket and finalize other details.

Matt took so many phone calls and told the story of what happened over and over.

As days, weeks, and months went by, he has been the voice of reason. Always steady and protective of me and our family.

On my bad days, Matt has stepped up and done the things that I just couldn’t do.

Matt and I taking some time to be silly!

Whether its delegate tasks or go get groceries, he makes sure it’s taken care of.

We are still at a place of uncertainty as the murder trial hasn’t happened yet. As it gets closer, some days can feel a bit more overwhelming.

He has continued to find counsel and advice for our family to keep us grounded and give us suggestions to help during this season.

I mentioned that we certainly are not perfect! We are actually opposite in many ways, big and little.img_1946

Matt is a morning person, I’m naturally a night owl. I’ve adapted over the years to go to bed around the same time he does because I have to get up early with the kids.

He’s a saver, I’m a spender. He loves the mountains, I love the beach. His favorite season is  autumn, I love the hazy days of summer. He’s a dog person, I like cats.

Even at gym we are very different . Matt is incredibly strong and lifts heavy weights. I’m more of an endurance person and do well with cardio. Even when we do split jerks I go forward with my right leg and he uses his left!

My extremely strong husband power cleaning a lot of weight! 

When we do partner workouts at the gym, we carry each other. I may do more burpees so he can catch his breath but then he can power through the push presses and do extra ones to give me a break.

That’s how it has to be in everyday life. We have to carry each other. Over the years we’ve learned, and are learning to let our opposite traits work for each other.

It’s a never-ending process. We can either butt heads or help balance one another.

The scriptures say “the two shall become one flesh.” Shall become. It doesn’t sound like it’s an instant thing.

I assure you it’s been a process with many misunderstandings, hurt feelings and tears along the way.

Me and my handsome husband.

Matt is the only person I want by my side to go through this journey. We had no idea what awaited us and our family when we said I do almost 17 years ago. I certainly never thought it would be murder.

I know that there are a lot of people out there that thought we would never last.https://youtu.be/fMmqh4Ut_Uo

I’m sure those same people are saying that Billy’s death was a direct result of sin in our lives because we were both divorced and remarried to each other, or perhaps it could be due to many of the other sinful things we’ve done. There never seems to be a shortage of those kind of people who are quick to pass judgement.

Me, Billy and Matt on our wedding day. Billy never wanted to miss out on being part of the fun!

I had to stop letting what people may or may not of thought about our marriage and family affect me. I was and still am a praying woman. I pray for my husband, my children and grandchildren and I have stories about how many of my prayers have been answered over the years.

I will to continue to faithfully pray for my family and see God working in our lives in ways we cannot even imagine.

I hope to be the kind of couple that when people look at us and find out about our story, and say “How did you come this far?” Our only answer will be “It was God. To God be the glory, great things he has done.”

Just like the sign says. I have found the one my soul loves.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: