I went on with my normal evening activities - eating supper, taking a bath, ironing my clothes and fixing my lunch for the next day. Those who know me know I like my sleep, so on school nights I'm in bed by 10:00. Prior to going to bed, I had talked to my husband on the phone twice. Both times he told me he would be home soon, but I had heard those words so many times before that I knew not to hold my breath. The first time I talked to him he sounded OK, but the second time I could tell things weren't OK. I practically begged him to come home, to get off the wet roads. I even offered to go get him - wherever he might be (I had done that many times before, even if it meant missing my 10:00 bedtime!). He said no and wouldn't tell me where he was, just that he was on his way home. Many other nights I had gone out looking for him, but because of the weather this time I chose not to.
Even though I was worried and had an uneasy feeling, I went on to bed. My cat Milo curled up next to me in the bed, which was unusual. He's not normally an over-affectionate animal. He'll sit by me for a few minutes, but then jumps up to go do his own thing, as most cats do. This time though he stayed right beside me in the bed, almost as if he sensed something wasn't right. I fell asleep sometime just after 10:00 watching CSI: Miami. Then I woke up suddenly - I could've sworn I heard a loud noise and someone calling my name. I guess I startled Milo because he sat up in the bed and started meowing. I looked at the clock - 10:45. I didn't get up. I didn't turn off the TV. I just stayed there feeling a sense of dread and fear slowly building up inside of me. I knew something was wrong.
I was still lying there, wide awake and full of dread when my son Trey came in from work just a few minutes after 12:00 AM. He slung the bedroom door open, flipped on the light, and said "Mama get up - Daddy's been in a wreck!" I almost responded by saying "I know" - of course I didn't know - I just felt it. Trey explained that he had passed the scene on his way home from work, less than two miles from our house. He came up on police cars, a fire truck, and an ambulance. Then he saw his daddy's truck on the side of the road. He was too afraid to stop, so he came on home. He wanted me to go back with him to see what had happened. I told him we needed to stay at the house in case someone called or came to tell us what was going on. He wasn't satisfied with that, though. The longer we waited the more upset he became. I finally told him that if he would stay home, I would ride up the road and see what was happening. He agreed, so I left just before 1:00.
As I was heading out of our neighborhood I passed a state patrol car driving down our street. I knew he was going to my house, but I kept going anyway. I had to see for myself what had happened. As I got out on the main road, I saw the flashing lights up ahead. I kept driving until an officer stopped me. It turned out to be someone I knew, who had previously lived in our neighborhood. He told me to turn around and go back home, that the state patrol (who I also knew and currently lived in our neighborhood) was on the way to the house to talk to me. I told him no, that I wanted him to tell me what had happened. I told him I already knew my husband had been in a wreck. I remember I never put my car in park. I sat there with my foot pressing down harder and harder on the brake as the deputy told me my husband was dead. My initial reaction of course was to shake my head no and begin to cry. I then told him I wanted to go to the scene and see for myself. I told him it couldn't be true because Trey had said the wreck didn't look that bad. That's when he told me, as I was still sitting in my car with my foot on the brake, that my husband didn't die as a result of the wreck ... he died from the gunshot wound he inflicted on himself after the wreck. Eddie had committed suicide.
When I heard those words, my tears stopped and I felt a numbness start to take over. I felt a wall going up around me, insulating me from what I was hearing and from what was happening. Sitting there in the middle of the road, in the rain, at 1:00 in the morning, after hearing that my husband was gone, I felt totally alone. I believed that God had abandoned my family and me. Looking back now though, I know that He never left me. I didn't realize it at the time, but He was there with me in the car ... He was the one who put the wall around me protecting me so that I could survive what lay ahead of me during the next few days.
"I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5