As told by Pat 
Part 1
In the summer of 1963, I moved to Houston, rented an apartment to begin my career in teaching. I met my husband Billy at a hamburger drive-in where they still had car-hops. He had just gotten out of the army after his tour in Vietnam. I was having a hamburger & coke with a friend of his. He came over to the car to say “Hi” to my friend & to catch up on “what’s happening.” From then on, I saw him almost daily for the next 12 months.
We were married June 12, 1964 and celebrated our 43 anniversary June 2007. Billy died of a heart attack October 18, 2007.

Part 2
Our Spiritual Journeys
Billy did not have a strong church-based background, but while he was in Vietnam, he read his Bible often. He was baptized before we were married, and we attended church regularly…until we didn’t. Our children were not raised in a church atmosphere.
I rededicated my life to Christ in December 1995 & Billy rededicated his life in 2001. When he did return to the LORD, he was on fire. Our dining room table stayed laden with reference books & Bibles. When he died, he was leading a Sunday morning & Sunday Evening Bible Study.

Part 3
Billy’s first heart attack destroyed 40% of his heart. The doctors were surprised that he lived, but he took good care of himself and lived ten more years.
In Aug. 2007, he went in for his six months check-up and the doctor told him he was “good to go” for another six months, but in October 2007 he had a massive coronary.
It was Friday. Billy had gone to play golf as he did every Friday. When he returned, he walked into the den and announced, “I going to work on the fence;” he then smiled at me.
I said, “Sweetheart, don’t work on the fence today. It is too hot.” He smiled and said, “It will feel good.”

Part 4
I went to work on the computer, and I guess about 30-40 minutes had passed before I went to check on him. When I stepped onto the patio, I had the eeriest feeling, and there was dead silence. I called his name. No answer. I found Billy face-down, clutching the ground. It was obvious he had died in great pain.
I dialed 911 and told the operator my husband had a heart attack. She tried to keep me on the phone – I threw it down and did CPR. The police and firetruck showed up within minutes, and they told me to step away. When I stepped towards Billy to be with him, the policeman touched my arm and said, “Ma’am, you have to stay away until we contact his doctor.” That was at approximately 3 pm. Billy laid in the front yard under a white sheet until 9:00 that night when someone came to pick up the body.
I designated a funeral home that I would be using, and I didn’t see Billy until the funeral home had worked their magic.

Part 5
Billy and I had agreed that when it was “our time” we wanted to be cremated. However, because my daughters and I were in such shock, I decided to have a funeral so Billy’s family and friends could say good-bye. And also, so I could rant & rave. I was angry. I spent about thirty minutes in the parlor room with Billy, first ranting and then being grateful. Ranting because of the suddenness of death, and thankful that he didn’t suffer too long.
The funeral is a blur; I don’t remember much. He was cremated and his golfing friends made it possible for us to spread the ashes on the golf course, and that is a memory I will always cherish. The remainder of his ashes were tossed in the wind in the mountains of Moab, UT.
The next year was extremely difficult. Almost everything we did, we did together, so every day seemed totally empty. Since Billy enjoyed grocery shopping & cooking, I let him have “all that fun” and I enjoyed the fruits of his “joy.”

Part 6
Because of all we did together and all that he did for me, it was extremely difficult when I began doing life for myself. Many times, I attempted grocery shopping but would have a partially filled cart and cry all the way home. These episodes lead to my “fine dining” habits to this day, i.e., burgers and fried chicken at the “drive-thru.”
Meals were not my only trigger for sadness; going to church was another. Billy lead our Sunday morning class so the emptiness that I felt on the drive to church & him not sitting next to me holding my hand in church was extremely difficult. I would cry all the way there, leave early, & cry all the way home. Sometimes I just didn’t go.

Part 7
Then I started having memory loss and doing stupid things like pushing the button that opens the sunroof in my car thinking I was pressing the “start” button. This incident and others like it sent me to a Christian counselor. I really thought I was going crazy.
The counselor was very helpful and encouraging. She explained that I wasn’t going crazy, that sometimes the shock of a sudden death would cause that kind of scrambled brain and loss of memory.
She recommended that I journal and celebrate the special days that we usually celebrated.
When it was my Birthday, or Billy´s Birthday, or our Anniversary, or Mother´s Day, I would take me shopping. Usually my sister or a friend went with me. We would shop and laugh and talk about Billy.

Part 8
The second year was better for me. I thought perhaps I could help others with living life and working through the grieving process, so I spent two years getting my Christian counseling certification. However, after a year of counseling at my home church, we joined with another church and I became very involved with Bible groups.
It took three or four years to redefine who I was. “Who am I now and what do I like?” It was a slow process.
Lessons I learned with the help of my sisters and brothers in Christ:
• How to sell and buy a car
• How to handle money
• How to sell and buy a house
I depend totally on God and He had already put the people in my life for such a time as this.