As is common with Facebook, many of us accept friend requests from people because they know someone who knows someone who knows us. That is how I met Debbie.
Her profile isn't so different than some of the rest of us. Debbie has children and grandchildren whom she loves to pieces. She lives with her husband, and an adopted bird, and three dogs. They live in a modest home in the western United States and she refers to it as their money pit. She works to help make ends meet. Baking, cooking and crocheting are among her talents. She also creates spectacular quilts. Her generosity and good works follow her, and her kind heart is as warm as the hearth beside a cozy fire.
Debbie married the sweetheart of her youth. He lived just five doors down from her house and referred to her as the girl with the pink curtains. There weren't many girls on that street, and the guys were always short a ball player, so Debbie would stand in and pitch for them. It was enough for the time being that she was just friends with David because her father often called him DDT, for David D Trouble. As with many childhood sweethearts though, David and Debbie built a foundation upon their friendship and soon they grew to love each other. She cried on his shoulder, and he told all the boys in the neighborhood that he was going to marry her.
Being just sixteen Debbie encountered a bit of friction announcing her plans to wed David. He was no older than she, and he had a wild side. They were just two young kids, wet behind the ears, wanting to plunge into the ocean of matrimony. Their marriage was held in such low regard, and the perceived chance of making it was such a longshot that even the preacher bet against them.
Like many marriages there were rough spots that needed sanding and they worked those out together. One major change took place the day Debbie announced that they were moving to another city in Arizona. She told David he could either come or stay, but the drinking was staying behind.
It was the beginning of a new life, but not without heartache. Their youngest son, Scottie, especially liked his new home. Here he could hunt, and fish, and he loved the snow. He was a good boy, and a hard worker. He liked helping out at the grooming shop where Debbie worked, and loved being around the dogs. Many times he could be found dragging home a stray by a rope around their neck, or giving away puppies on the corner. He wasn't perfect, but was never bad. To Debbie, he was mama's boy, and he aimed to please her.
Scottie was deaf until the age of three, when they discovered enlarged adenoids were causing his hearing loss. With surgery he gained his hearing, but his speech was littered with the leftovers of that impairment. Sometimes, he had to endure the taunts and teasing of the neighborhood bullies until one day after a little encouragement from David to stand up to them, he picked up a motorcycle shock and cleaned house. That day he earned their respect.
The worst tragedy of Debbie's life happened one day while David's parents were visiting. Scottie and two of his friends were on their way to Tucson to pick up his friend's brother, Scottie's best friend. David didn't want him to go, but the child's pout moved his mother's heart and Debbie gave in to the look. Soon, the three boys were on their way with a full tank of gas and full smiles. Failing an attempt to pass a car, and instead of getting back in the line of traffic, they misjudged and headed to the opposite side. The car was struck and burst into flames. Scottie and the other two boys were killed instantly. There was nothing left of the car but the frame.
Debbie was gone shopping and David was doing yard work when the highway patrol approached him with the most horrible news of his life, but his ordeal was not over. He was also face to face with the worst thing he ever had to do, break the news to Debbie, the mother of his sweet boy. His nightmare continued as he told Scottie's brothers, and the rest of their loved ones. With all three families frozen in gut retching shock and sorrow, and the boys remains unreleased far from home, David drew on a strength and presence from deep within. He took the lead and arranged and paid the expenses for all three boys to be brought home together.
Three boys and three funerals in three days; Debbie's baby, her Scottie, one of them. Standing before a closed casket, Debbie recalled the weeks before Scottie died. David's grandmother was in the hospital, and the family went to say their goodbyes to her. They all took turns and hugged her neck and Scottie was the last in line. She hugged him longer and told him she would see him on the other side.
Debbie's work helped her to get out of bed in the mornings and she forced herself to be strong for David and her other two boys. After a few months, dazed and drained, she fell apart. Thanksgiving that year Debbie told her mom she had nothing to be thankful for, but her faith would not let her go.
In the night God reminded her that He spared her son Luke. Just a short time before the accident that claimed Scottie's life, Luke was hit by a car and his leg shattered in seven places, his pelvis broken and his jaw shattered. He nearly died on the medical emergency flight to Phoenix because the weather delayed the landing. Not only was Luke's life spared, but a short while later, the life of her new grandson, Cody, who was born premature and weighed only one and a half pounds.
In Debbie's words, "So, the Lord has blessed us through all the trials we have gone through. We thank Him every day for the things he gave us and didn't take away. David and I have become the best of friends through all our trials and heartbreaks. We grow every day and depend on each other, and I think that's what makes a marriage. Two people growing to be the best of friends. We raised our kids the best we knew how with the knowledge we had at the time. There was no book to follow. It was kids raising kids. Thank God we learned something before our grandkids came along."
I have never met Debbie face to face, but I do know that we have traveled similar paths. She has endured and overcome horrendous adversity in her life. I have great respect for her, and have come to love her as a dear friend. Debbie and her husband of forty-one years, live in Show Low, Arizona. Just two young-at-heart kids, the best of friends, bonded together by the glue of adversity and a deep faith in the One who overcomes.
Printed with permission and as told to me by Debbie.