I don’t know how long this blog will be. Could be long. Could be short. In the end, it just has to be.
It’s been five days. Saturday. The day started off fairly normal. Actually, pretty good. Friday was my friend Brittany’s birthday and the following day was the day we planned to go to the Beyond Van Gogh art exhibit.
By the way, if you get to go, you really should. I discovered paintings of his that I’ve never known about but are now my new favorite Van Gogh paintings (Almond Blossoms and Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette).
The plans for the rest of the day were focused on celebrating Brittany’s birthday. There was lots of time between the exhibit and the bar plans of that night so I went home to lay down and take a nap. Things changed after that.
I woke up to a random phone call from my friend, Danny. I was groggy and my head was foggy so I didn’t really understand what he was telling me. Danny was also emotional in his expression so it wasn’t clicking as it should. He was telling me that his sister-in-law, Becca, had been found in her bedroom dead.
Rebecca Richardson, Becca as I knew her, is the sister of Danny’s wife, Jessica (Jesse). I met her, I believe, when she was either picking up or dropping off her son. I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight or anything, but damn, she was hot! Fiery red hair and curves for MILES! I always joked with Danny about how hot his sister-in-law was. He laughed it off every time. Jesse would just roll her eyes at me.
The last time I saw her, she and I were helping Danny and Jessica move in with Becca. While Jesse and Danny got things in the house organized, Becca and I did most of the physical moving and coordinating things in the vehicles. We made a pretty good team. She was a welder and I took welding in high school and we were able to talk about that. At the house, I looked around her kitchen and she also liked to cook. I told her that we should pick a day and cook together. She agreed and the plan was made, though the date was never set.
Now, it never will be.
As the police were there investigating, Danny was keeping me updated, but more so, trying to keep himself together.
Jesse found her.
As any friend would, I offered myself to them. I couldn’t immediately come over, being that the house was a crime scene. I did make a run for them and was able to drop it off. At their request, I also set up a GoFundMe for the family. If you want to donate, you can HERE.
I’m never going to be able to make those “Your sister-in-law is hot” jokes. I’ll never get to cook with her and show that I was the superior chef. We’ll never be able to go chill as a group. It’ll never happen. Because of my admitted crush, I didn’t even befriend her on the socials. (Relax everyone. My wife knows about the crush. She saw pictures. It’s okay. Chill.)
Becca and I will never be friends to any degree now. Ever.
Becca will never be able to take her niece to the Zoo. Ever.
Becca won’t be able to lovingly torment her brother-in-law again. Ever.
Becca will never send an “International Sisters Day” text to her sister. Ever.
Her son will never be able to celebrate Mother’s Day again. Ever.
I’ve been forced to reflect on life a lot since I got that phone call five days ago. I’ve reflected on where I stand in the world. About what I am leaving behind. About my relationships. When was the last time I told so-and-so that I loved them? When was the last time that I told someone that I appreciated them? Do the people closest to me truly know that I love them? Do my children know that I love them? What was the last thing I told my kids? If something happened to me, what will be the things my kids remember about me? Have I taught them enough? Have I spent enough time with them?
What is my legacy?
I have also been thinking about the people around me and how they interact with each other. As much as we all laugh and poke fun at each other because of Biden or Trump. Republican or Democrat. Liberal or Conservate. This view or that view. This lifestyle or that. This job or that. This status or not. When something like this happens, you realize how little any of that means at home. It’s not to say that those things are not important, but we ignore the little things that we don’t miss until it’s gone.
Especially when that’s taken.
Becca didn’t just pass away. She was murdered. Murdered by a jealous ex-boyfriend. He’s not worthy to have his name mentioned here. But the circumstances surrounding her death have also forced me to reflect on relationships. I don’t know the details of her relationship, but I have talked to many friends who have been in romantic relationships that started to show signs of toxicity and abuse. If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, GET OUT NOW! Contact someone. File Police reports. Yes, I know police reports and EPOs (Emergency Protective Orders) are just “pieces of paper”, but they do create a paper trail. Learn self-defense. Purchase a weapon, if you must. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Whatever it is that you have to do to get you and your family away from an abusive partner, DO IT and DO IT NOW!
And if the abuser is you, get help now! Some people may not think that you can change, but I do. I think people grow and learn. Proof? Think about yourself as a 15-year-old. Are you the same now as you are now at age 20? 25? 30? 40? I’d hope not. But we have experienced life and learned lessons over time and therefore, we’ve grown.
No one is perfect. I’m not perfect. I’ll admit that I’ve had to make MANY personality changes over years. I wasn’t the best boyfriend. Upon reflection, I would go so far as to say I was abusive; my behavior was toxic. But I listened to others who suffered. I learned better ways of handling situations. I grew up. I’ve changed. If you are the abusive or toxic person in the relationship, I believe you can change. Please do. For yourself more than for any other reason.
I’ll close this blog with this - Love each other. Everyone has something to contribute to society and everyone has the right to do so. Don’t judge each other. Allow people to live their own life in accordance with their own thoughts. Your neighbor doesn’t have to think like you do or pray like you do or eat like you do or enjoy what you enjoy. But they do deserve respect.
I dedicate this blog to Becca and the legacy she’s left behind. I’m sorry that I didn’t work harder to become your real friend. I will do what I can to help your sister and brother-in-law cope with losing you. Again, if you’ve made it to the end of this blog and would like to help Danny and Jesse’s family through these troubled times you can donate to their GoFundMe HERE. If you want to send a message to them, you can email me at DLHearnWrites@gmail.com with the subject “Becca” and I’ll personally deliver your prayers, well wishes, or advice to them. If you’re in an abusive relationship, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you realize that you may be the problem, please find a therapist near you and seek help. If, for whatever reason, you find yourself feeling suicidal, please contact the new shorter phone number 988. If you aren’t feeling these things now, but you have in the past, go ahead and save those numbers in your phone so that you already have them.
I love you all. Be good to yourself. Be good to each other.
Until we meet again,
Thumbnail photograph by Bess Hamiti.
This is Rebecca Richardson and her son. She will be missed.