November 28, 2014


Last night the front desk called and announced a couple wanting to see me. She had seen my story in the Meadville Tribune. I invited them into my room. She had made me sandwiches for my lunch today. The gentleman had long hair and a beard and was definitely rough around the edges. Some call them “rednecks,” I prefer, “good ole boys.” He asked mostly questions about the specifics of the walk. Questions about the Appalachian Trail and my hike of it, what kind of gear, and so on. After he had told of his short hikes on the Appalachian and Alleghany Trails, she asked me to tell exactly why I walked. After I told of the deaths of my precious babies and the pain it caused, he, shuffled his feet some, cleared his throat a couple times, all while looking down at the floor. It was obvious he was trying to say something. We both waited patiently for his words. When he looked up, his eyes were moist, and he said this, “My very best friend came up missing when we were 21. I went looking for him. There was a place we always went deep in the woods where we would just talk about everything. I went there and found his body. He killed himself. I helped carry his body out. I actually tried to kill myself once. I had the gun barrel in my mouth. After watching the pure hell that my buddy’s death caused his parents and family, I swore I would never think about it again.” I hugged him and told him I was very sorry for his loss and that I was delighted he was still with us. LOVE LIFE with all your heart defeating all negatives so that Love will flow from you thus relaxing those around you, possibly freeing them enough to speak up! She, turned back toward the door as I let them out and very quietly said, “Thank you sir.”