Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Tragedy Close to Home

I woke up this morning to see plenty of news coverage of shootings and killings on a college campus. "Not again" was the phrase that kept going through my head. Some how though, the news reports on tv were not what was on my mind this morning.. it was an e-mail I had received from my best friend Anne. It simply said that she needed me to call her when I was able, and that she needed to talk to me. She ended this brief message with the words "PRAY PRAY PRAY".

I was scared. So much was going on in her life... something was wrong, very wrong. Did something happen to her already fragile health? Her husband? I tried calling three times but couldn't reach her. Finally around 2:3oPM I managed to get through to her. I heard her somber voice on the other end of the phone, and I simply said "What happened?". Her voice never once faltered or gave way to cries, she simply stayed somber and began speaking as if in a library. "Michael, you just won't believe it. We're all in complete shock."

She had confided in me a while ago that the marriage between her son Jerry and his wife had fallen apart. She had left him, and he was not taking it very well. While I won't go into all the details, to anyone who knew Jerry and his wife, this was a complete shock. They were always together, discussed everything, and lived for each other and their two girls. The couple had attempted counseling, but to no avail. All during lent Anne was making small sacrifices, not just because it was lent, but because she wanted to offer those sacrifices for her son, and his family.

On Sunday Anne was informed by her sons that Jerry had committed suicide earlier that day. He had shot himself, but not before pointing the gun at his two daughters, Delaney (age 6) and Parris (age 13). Jerry was killed instantly, and Delaney later died at a local hospital. Parris is being hospitalized, though they have removed the breathing tube, and she has spoken a few words.

The entire family is in utter shock. Anne kept saying all she could do was offer this to God, and put the souls of her loved ones in His hands. I admire her deep faith... it is what is keeping her alive today.

No one knows why Jerry would have pointed the gun at his daughters. The family told the local Dallas newspaper (where the family lived) that his children meant everything to him, and maybe he wanted the girls with him. The media I'm sure has depicted him as some kind of monster, but nothing could be further from the truth. He lived for his girls, and perhaps it was the thought of losing them that drove him to the point of death. Only God in His infinite mercy will know what was going on in his heart and mind that day.

For all of you reading this blog, I ask that you please pray for my friend Anne, and for her whole family. They need our prayers, good thoughts, positive energy... whatever it is you choose to call it... keep them in your hearts.

No comments: