In order to fully appreciate these videos, first travel back with me a bit. If only I’d known how “one little moment in October” was going to play out and become such an important part of our journey I’d have kept better record of the exact date and time. But alas …
“AUGUST 22, 2019“. Sufficed to say, there are still so many parts of “that night” and what led up to it that most people don’t know, don’t need to know, and quite frankly, may NEVER know, simply because so much of this nightmare has traumatized Gia in ways that will impact her psyche forever. She has so much to process through that I simply cannot explain and her road to recovery is not going to be easy.
That being said, and as some of you already know, she had to be hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and depression of her own that night. Meanwhile, at just around 10:30 in the morning on August 23, 2019, I stepped outside her room for just a minute only to see the Parker police chief walking up the hallway towards me with “that look on his face” that I already knew what he was going to say, but then the words:
Mrs. Williamson, we did locate your husband in his car this morning with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. I am so sorry to inform you that he is, in fact, deceased.
… at which point I fell to the ground with a guttural wail that I’m told could be heard throughout the hospital. An hour later, she was taken by ambulance from the ER to in-patient treatment where she stayed for the eight longest days of my life.
Very long and tragic story short? My daughter has suffered! Of course, we both have, but her heart is broken in ways and pieces that I can’t even begin the fathom. After “that night”, with the exception of the pure happiness she was feeling on the first day at her new school, MY DAUGHTER COULD NOT SMILE! She’d been broken in too many ways by too many people to count for so many years ahead of “that night” that by the time he went and left us the way he did, she was DONE with smiling, and understandably so.
Meanwhile, last year when we moved to Parker we noticed this “holiday house” near ours. You know, “one of those houses” where the homeowners go completely overboard in all the right ways to make passers by drive past SMILING and leave filled with holiday joy and spirit! Well, these “holiday house” people even decked their halls for Halloween, which by the way, is Gia’s favorite holiday of all!
The displays they put out each season are absolutely incredible and only God Himself knows how much time they must spend putting them together. They’re synced up with a local radio station, the character boards dance and sing with lights, lights, and more lights everywhere! Last year, all three of us must driven by both displays at least a dozen times, and Zack and Gia had been looking so forward to seeing what they were going to put out this year.
So that with, I’ll go ahead and get to the point. This October, Gia and I were on our way home when lo and behold, “the Halloween display was up”! But she was so downtrodden and her was spirit still so broken, that as we approached their house (which is situated on the corner of a thoroughfare we pass by to get home every single day) she didn’t even glance at it. Her elbow was resting on the door with her chin in hand and she was just … silent. Still, I decided to make the turn and stop in front of the display anyway, thinking, “what could it hurt”. Well am I ever glad I did!
As we sat there watching the digital monsters doing their little dance and the light display just a rollin’ and poppin’, I caught a glimpse at the side of her face and I just about started to cry. No, wait! I did cry! SHE WAS SMILING! For the first time in SO LONG … SHE WAS SMILING! It was probably one of THE best nights I’ve had since this nightmare started, and my words just fail to do it justice. When we got home, and although she still can’t really talk about or hear his name at this point, we both agreed:
Dad would have loved that!
I gotta tell ya, folks … that moment was a true “light in the dark”. It was that little glimmer of hope that somehow, somewhere, buried beneath all her trauma, heartache, and ashes is not just my daughter, but all the beautiful memories of her and her dad that she can’t afford to let surface at this point because they’re just too fucking painful.
A couple of weeks after “the night of the lights”, I was sitting in my office and I started thinking to myself:
Those people put SO much of themselves into those displays every season, and THIS season that display just bought your kid the smile of a lifetime! I wonder if anyone has really ever thanked them for pouring themselves into “strangers” the way they do?
… at which point I made the decision to drop them a little gift and a thank you note for what they unknowingly did for my daughter. Not too long after that and I got a friend request on Facebook. IT WAS HER … “the holiday house lady!” Slowly but surely she’s becoming less and less of a stranger and a couple of nights ago she messaged me to let me know that they were going to do something special for Gia, which is what these videos are about. So, with all that being said …
Dearest “Barri and Gerri”:
I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH!
My heart is beyond full, so is my daughter’s, and I’m pretty flipping sure my husband’s is too, because I believe with EVERY shred of my being that he is seeing ALL of this! I bet you never realized what an impact your hearts, generosity, and kindness for STRANGERS was going to make on my little girl during her very darkest hours. WELL, NOW YOU KNOW! “Only Light Can Kill The Darkness” is the tag-line of my life now, and YOUR lights have killed some of ours! You will always be in my heart and prayers going forward.
~ Love Cat