In Memory of My Friend Sharon

On Friday, September 29, 2000, I lost one of my closest friends, Sharon, to domestic violence. Today, I am remembering her and her beautiful smile.

Sharon was in an abusive relationship. When the townhouse next to Ronnie and I came available for rent, I told her about it. Finally feeling like she had options and with somewhere to go, Sharon decided to leave her husband, Art. She moved into the townhouse with her two children, a son and a daughter who were close friends with our two sons.

Our homes shared a common wall. Not only was I happy to have my friend close to me, I also felt that with her right next door, we could protect her.

At approximately 4:00 pm on September 29, 2000, our son Lance called me at work. Usually, he called to tell me he had arrived home from school safely. This time, though, Lance said, “Mom, there are gunshots coming from next-door!” Then, he started screaming that Art was shooting at Sharon and her boyfriend, Ray. I told Lance to go inside and hide behind the entertainment center. I told him I would call 911, then leave work and come home immediately.

When I called 911, the dispatcher said they had already received multiple calls about the shooting.  I explained that my 11-year-old son was in the adjoining townhouse by himself. I was told someone would call our landline and give Lance instructions on what to do and keep him on the phone while officers were dispatched.

The 12-mile drive home from work felt like the longest drive ever.  I was scared to death that Lance would be harmed. I knew my husband, Ronnie, was closer to our home than I was and was in the middle of a physical therapy appointment. I called his cell phone and explained what little I knew and asked him to leave and go home right away.

When I got to our dead-end street, it was cordoned off with crime tape. Dozens of police cars and a SWAT team were on site. Our townhouse was located at the very end of the street, and I could see Ronnie on the other side of the crime tape, walking toward our home.

Police officers grabbed Ronnie and told him he had to get out, that one person was dead. It was Ray, Sharon’s friend. Art had chased Ray, shooting him in the back multiple times. Ray had collapsed on a neighbor’s front porch and died. Ronnie told the police, “I have to get my son!” They assured Ronnie that Lance was safe; the SWAT team had him and was bringing him to us.

At that time, we didn’t know whether Sharon and her estranged husband were dead or alive. Later, we learned that Art had shot Sharon multiple times and she had died almost immediately. He then shot himself in the head and was laying on top of her, dead, right inside the front door of Sharon’s townhouse.

In the meantime, I was telling the police that Sharon and Art had two children together. The daughter worked up the street at Starbucks, and I was pretty sure she was at work. The son was most likely at the local high school watching the Friday night football game. The police asked if the family had any relatives in the area. I said the only family member I knew of was Sharon’s sister in California.

The officers told Ronnie and me to go get the daughter from work and take her to a secure location. We agreed on the Shari’s restaurant up the street. Once there, we would have the daughter call her brother, then we would pick him up and take him to Shari’s as well. The police would send an officer to meet us there once we had them both. In the meantime, the kids could call their aunt in California.

When I got to Starbucks, I told Sharon’s daughter I needed to talk with her.  When I said she was going to have to come with me, the first thing she said was, “Where is my mom? Has something happened to her?” I told her I wasn’t sure. During the drive to Shari’s, she kept calling her mother over and over. There was no answer.

We found Sharon’s son at a friend’s house, getting ready to go to the football game. He and his friend followed us to Shari’s. With my cell phone constantly ringing and the kids crying, it was chaos trying to keep them inside Shari’s, but we needed to wait for information from the police.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the officer called my cell and told me Sharon and Art had died and department would be sending a police officer and a member of the clergy to Shari’s. The sight of those poor children collapsing to the ground when the police told them their parents were dead will be forever etched in my mind.

My beloved friend Sharon always had a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon. She was a beautiful, hardworking woman who loved her children more than life itself. When she wasn’t working one of the two jobs she held to provide for her children, she loved going camping and spending time with friends.

Sharon tried to escape her abusive husband and start a new life. When she made the decision to leave her house and belongings and start again, she had hope for the future. Unfortunately, she left all of us before her dream of a violence-free life could become a reality.

October is National Domestic Awareness Month. If you or anyone you know is in an abusive relationship and needs help, there are resources available in every city. Click here for more information: http://www.ncadv.org/

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26 Responses to In Memory of My Friend Sharon

  1. OR Davis says:

    What a blessing for Sharon that she had a friend like you who could help her, if only for a short time, a friend who could truly understand, deep within herself, what Sharon was going through–a friend who remembers and can tell her story. Thank you, Becki.

  2. OR Davis, You are my rock and thanks for all your help down the yellow brick road !!

  3. Princess Manda says:

    My heart goes out to her Kids..Its horrible to see what one person can do and how much harm they can do…Sharon is in the best place she could be..watching over all of us with her smile..her story will make us and the rest of us stronger..you are a very strong person Auntie and don’t ever for get that!! and I love you to the moon and back!!!

  4. Mori Kam says:

    OMG Becki….I’m having flashbacks of an angry unstable man and what was my worst fears. How horrible for Lance and the rest of the family to experience such a senseless tragedy.

    • Princess Manda says:

      Yes Mom..It flashed me back also and to think that’s how my father was towards the ending and to know what you had to deal with..but you and Auntie Becki still and do stand strong..It sucks a lot but hearing other women speak out will make others stronger!!! Love you Mom and Auntie Becki..

  5. Katie Powell says:

    Almost all of what you assert happens to be supprisingly accurate and it makes me wonder the reason why I hadn’t looked at this in this light previously. Your piece really did turn the light on for me personally as far as this specific subject goes. However at this time there is one particular factor I am not necessarily too comfortable with and while I attempt to reconcile that with the actual main idea of your position, let me see exactly what all the rest of your visitors have to point out.Very well done.

  6. Thank you Katie for visiting my blog. If you have any personal questions that you wish to direct to me privately. Please feel free to contact me at beckikeyevents@gmail.com.
    Thanks and have a beautiful evening,
    Becki

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  10. Reblogged this on I Survived a Murder Attack — My Family Didn't and commented:

    Re-blogging this post from October. My friend Sharon was killed by her ex-husband.

  11. Sad and worst thing is it is all so unnecessary.
    Scott

  12. Oh my gosh my heart is breaking for you, for your friend and her children. xo

  13. Normal is boring, so I heard says:

    Most people in general are fascinating to me, and their lives always leave a lesson behind no matter how long or short a life they lead. It’s how we interpret the lesson. This women’s story has definitely made me open my eyes to what before I could not see. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

    • You are welcome. Sharon was such a sweet sweet person. She was loved by everyone and had such a fondness for animals. Always a smile on her face even during her worst moments. I miss her so much.

  14. Sue says:

    I just discovered your blog today. You’re a very compelling writer. I haven’t had time to read all your posts and I was wondering if you’ve explained on this blog why you and your children are estranged? Is this something you choose not to discuss publicly? Is this somehow a result of the trauma your children experienced during your attack? I can’t imagine anything more painful than this. It’s shocking that so many bad things happened to one person. I don’t know how you have managed to cope with all of this.

  15. Sue , yes I have explained it in the posts. The departure of my children is very complex. I can assure you I love Anthony , Ali and Lance very much. So much has happened due to my bad decisions as well as theirs as adult children. They all had a very privileged life which may be part of the equation. Maybe if they had not been spoiled so much they would see life differently. As adults is when they lashed out. When they don’t get their way they attack. I have always been able to cope by giving back and helping others.

  16. An fascinating discussion is worth comment. I believe that you must write extra on this matter, it might not be a taboo subject however typically individuals are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  17. May her soul rest in peace and give her children strength to go through all of it.

  18. Pingback: In Memory of My Friend Sharon | I Survived a Murder Attack — My Family Didn't

  19. secretangel says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Domestic violence is so horrible! You have been through so much Becky. My heart goes out to you and your families.

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