My husband, Joey, called me on my way to work and told me of the horrible news. It wasn’t real – I was in shock and could not truly understand how such a vile thing had happened, so unexpectedly.
You see, Pete was not perfect. He had a life full of mistakes and mis-steps, he had darkness in his past, but he was trying. He worked his BUTT off, day and night, trying to make a new life and opportunity for his only son. Sometimes I even disagreed with how much he worked – he was a workaholic. Sometimes I wished he wouldn’t work so much, for his own sake. But the reality of it was that it was how he sought to make a new life for his son. He had made some bad decisions, but had been given a shot at a new life. He would stop at nothing until his son was as far from harm’s way that he was guaranteed to be a success. Working was Pete’s outlet. His avenue for loving his children. He was an inspiration to everyone around him. But that wasn’t the biggest part of Pete. He was everyone’s friend.
You’ve never met someone as simple, as open-hearted and as genuine as Pete. If you have been blessed enough to have someone like that in your life, you know what I’m talking about.
There were no charades with him. No shadows or misgivings of what he was thinking, what he meant.
He cared about you. He meant what he said. If you offended or hurt him, he’d let you know. He didn’t know how to joke around too well - he was that sincere. But he would do anything for you. Literally, anything.
One day he came up to my desk at work and told me one of my tires looked a little flat, and asked if I’d like him to take it in to get looked at. We were leaving for Colorado later that day to see my husband’s family. I was slammed trying to finish my work before leaving town, and accepted his offer, asking, “Are you sure? You really don’t have to. We can take Joey’s car.”
“Nah,” he said, “It won’t take long. They’ll just patch it up and you’ll be good to go.” He took my car in for me. It was a small act of kindness, but made a huge statement to me of his selflessness, his heart. This sort of kindness was a daily ritual for Pete. I don’t think he thought much of it, he was just kind-hearted. It was natural for him, like breathing.
Pete is in the hospital now, hooked up to a ventilator & medication – he’s on life support. His brain is dead. There has been no brain activity since he arrived at the hospital yesterday morning. A bullet is lodged in his brain at the back of his head. So much fluid has built up in his head that the doctors cannot do surgery. He has a son, a daughter, and a wife. She is 6 months pregnant.
We spent a couple hours at the hospital yesterday, being with the family, offering what small ounce of comfort our presence might bring to them. What else could we do? One feels helpless, as though the world is crashing in, unfairly, and there is nothing we can do to stop it from hurting those in its path. But since discovering what had happened to Pete yesterday, I have realized that the one thing I can do, even if for the comfort it brings my own heart, is share Pete’s story.
Within the next couple days, Pete will be removed from life support. He will pass and his soul will leave this earth. But his children – his son, daughter, and one one the way – will still be here. When that day comes, and it will be soon, we will be launching a drive to raise money for his children. On that day, the message will become Pete Was My Friend, and we will do everything we can to spread the story of a father’s love and tireless work to make a life for his children better than he had. My mom is helping spearhead this effort, because, well, Pete was her friend too.
She wrote something that I’d like to share here. You’ll be able to read the entirety of it in a couple days, but here is an excerpt:
If my friend Pete knew he was going on a long trip and would be gone for a very long time and could not take the boy with him, I believe he would have asked me to please look out for him. Please make sure he’s not scared or alone. Make sure he has what he needs. “He’s a great boy, he don’t need much to be happy.”
That’s what he would say. And I would do it. I will.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
In these days of gray, this interim time where his family seeks to come to terms with what has happened, and the coming pain of losing him, please pray for his family. Please pray for his children. And think about it. Think if you might join us in seeking to give his legacy and his passion life, even after his ends. He worked for those children, for his babies. He did whatever it took to give them a better life, and soon we will all have the opportunity to give to them. A bank account is being established in his children’s names and we have the opportunity to honor Pete by giving to the cause that kept him alive, that kept him going. His family.
Thanks for reading.