Friday March 4th, early morning around 5:30am I hear my phone ringing from the bedroom, I run into the living room to grab it and noticed my good friend, "A" had just called. As I turn to go walk into the bedroom it rings again. This time I answer and immediately know that something is not right. My friends voice on the other end is sounds broken, tired, and empty. She will not tell me what is wrong but that I need to come to her mother's house as soon as I can get my family together. I hang up and run to tell Landon. I get dressed, pack up Austin and we are on our way.
On my drive I kept thinking what could it be? Why would I need to come to her moms house and not her house? Why did she say she was at her moms but didn't mention Ryan? Is the wedding off? But then why couldn't she tell me? My head was spinning and as soon as I saw all the cars in the driveway my stomach dropped and I knew it was something big.
As I walk in they take Austin from me and my friend pulls me in the bedroom. She looks at me with pain in her eyes and says, "R" shot himself" "R" is dead" I froze and could not speak. I ran to my phone to call my husband and told him he needed to leave the house and come immediately. I ran back to her and she fell into my arms. We talked in the room for a while just her and I. I was trying to make sense of it all without asking to much. She told me her story about what happened how she tried to stop him and how she saw it all. My heart ached and I felt sick. Soon after that our preacher showed up to help give some helping words and advice. I tried to tell him most of what I knew so she wouldn't have to keep reliving that night. Then my husband arrived. I knew this wasn't going to be easy because they were close friends but I had to tell him. Even as I was telling him I couldn't believe the words that were coming out of my mouth. He completely fell apart. He told me he had to leave and drove away in his truck. From Friday early morning until Sunday, I have been by my friends side for every moment. I even follow her into the bath room if I feel she doesn't need be alone.
Each time we had to visit her or his family I have to see there sad faces and experience there tears and heart ache, and each time reminds me just how real this all is. Her family has been sticking by her and his family has made it clear that they will always care for her and they will keep in touch.
They were engaged to be married in October and it breaks my heart my good friend wont be able to get her dream wedding she had already started planning for. I just keep thinking instead of picking out which casket he will lay to rest in, we should be deciding which car the newlyweds would have left in and instead of what "R" will wear to his funeral we should be picking out which tux fit him best. Instead of picking out flowers for his funeral we should be picking out flowers for there wedding. Instead ordering "A" a necklace in memory of "R" we should be ordering his wedding ring.
She has been through a lot and even though as traumatic as all this is I am glad that I am able to be there for her every step of the way. She has a long way to go for healing but there are so many people that love her and want to help. Both "A" and "R"s families have been leaning on one another for support. Both families have also made it clear that after he has been laid to rest they will not stop until his named has been cleared. Anyone that knew him know that the charges against him are false.
I have been thinking of memories and one that stands out for me was just last Wednesday, March 2nd Austin and I got to see them both at church. As we were leaving the church Austin reached out for "R" and wanted him to hold him. Then Austin poked his little lips out and gave "R" a kiss. That image remains with me because that was Austin getting to say goodbye and "R" smiled and kissed him right back. I told them bye and I would see them later...
It all still seems unreal until I see the pain in "A"s face then my stomach turns and my heart aches and I know its going to be a long journey for everyone.