Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mr Friend Billy

A picture and a letter is the topic for day 19 of Cait's 30 day blog challenge at Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous. The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was my good friend Billy, who unfortunately passed away a few years ago.

It was my first day of treatment. I was in a very strange place in my life obviously, and very apprehensive of what was to come. I remember walking into the tv room in the detox center and saw this guy with long hair wearing a hawaiian shirt watching something about the CMA musical festival on TV. He turned to me and said that he was supposed to be playing there right now. I took one look at him and was like where the heck am I? This guy is really on something and I need to get out of here. I was sure this wasn't a loony bin and that only addicts and alcoholics were supposed to be here, not scizophrenics. I was knew this was detox so figured maybe he had just gotten there too. He introduced himself to me and said his name was Billy. I decided it was probably best for me to go back outside and walk a little bit. I had already detoxed and being around someone on something at that point was very aggravating for me.

A few days later as I entered the world of the "normal" people and into the cabins with people out of detox, I heard people saying that a guy from Lynryd Skynyrd was in treatment with us. I of course was immediately interested, but really didn't care to much. I went about my day to day and kept running into Billy. He always said hi and that "There's just something about Sara." He was really sweet and we started to chat when we saw each other. One day I was talking to him and one of my guy friends whispered to me that that was him. I asked him what he was talking about and told him this was my friend Billy, we had met on the first day. This is when people really started calling me the brunette with blond roots. This was the guy everyone had been talking about. This was Billy Powell, an original member of Lynryd Skynryd.

Of course everyone wanted to know him and be his friend. I didn't care who he was. We instantly had a connection with each other and he became a very special friend to me. One day he was signing pictures for some of the nurses and he handed me one.

It sits on the top shelf of pics in my living room, a space reserved for the special people in our lives. Over the month we were together we became very close. I met his wife and one of his daughters and learned about his amazing life. He played the piano like no other and was working on a song about our entire experience. It was incredible. The most memorable experience that we shared together was definitely grief group. I can't talk about what was said but he talked about the entire plane crash and by the end of his story I was in tears. How crazy to live through something like that. Things went on that no one ever ever knew. He had a girl die in his arms. Many very powerful things were said and I saw how strong this man was and how it had altered his life.The things you learn about yourself in treatment are so so powerful. You are with these people for such a short time, but get to know there whole life stories and many times there deepest and darkest confessions. You can't get better without letting it all out.  Before we left treatment good friends signed each others books. His note is still so special to me.

I know its hard to read, but it is one of the most memorable messages I have ever received and still hold it close to my heart. Whenever I am feeling down I still pull out my books and read the messages. Especially this one.

We continued our relationship after treatment. He came by my hotel when he was in town, sometimes just for a hug. The last time I saw him was in 2007. He played a concert here in Nashville at the Bridgestone Arena. It was so much fun! We got backstage passes and had 10th row seats for Lynryd Skynyrd!!!

Here he is doing what he did best. We of course spoke many times after this, but I never saw him again. He passed away from a heart attack in January 2009. He was an amazing person and I am so blessed that I was able to have him in my life, if only for a short time.


1 comment:

  1. aww this is such a great story Sara! how amazing for you to meet such an incredible musician and have a wonderful relationship with him!


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