Stacy Jo Poffenbarger is a woman on a journey of recreation after the death of her only child. Billy was only 22 when he died in a hanging accident. She is a Clinical Therapist and Certified Addiction Professional and dedicates her life to assisting the addicted and mentally ill. She was inspired to create the blog The Year I Wore Yoga Pants in an effort to find light, understanding and healing. To learn more about this journey, please follow her at theyeariworeyogapants.com and on Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
To introduce you to my son, I am using the words of his best friend, written and spoken at Billy’s one year memorial ceremony at his grave.
“Billy was kind, understanding, loyal, filled to the brim with life and energy, and above all else, he was misunderstood. All he wanted out of life was to be accepted. Perhaps that is why, he himself, was so accepting and nonjudgmental. It didn’t matter to him what others thought of you, he formulated his own opinion and would treat you as if he had never heard of you before, which stemmed from how he wanted to be treated. If he appeared brash or abrasive towards you, it was not out of malice, but rather, I believe he was testing you. He was testing you because he was searching, searching for unconditional acceptance.
If you knew Billy well, you’d know that he was not a big fan of movies. But the one genre of movies that he did truly enjoy were those hopelessly romantic movies, movies like Dear John or Garden State. This may have seemed strange to some, considering his outward personality, but to those close to him it made sense. For love and acceptance in those types of movies are blind, unconditional, unending and everlasting. I believe that is what he was searching for in life.
I met Billy in elementary school. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was already there when he came in, he was very angry, for he had been playing with the other children at recess at the makeshift handball wall. Instead of using handballs, they were all throwing rocks at the wall. That wasn’t allowed for obvious reasons, and it ended with him being reprimanded by the lunch aide. That wasn’t why he was angry though, he knew what he was doing was considered wrong, he was angry because he was singled out. He was the only kid who got in trouble, even though there were plenty of others who were also throwing stones at the wall. this was the first lesson he taught me. And little did I know that it was also the same as the last lesson that he taught me: That life is not fair. Any opinion otherwise is based on mere illusion.
I love him and miss him very dearly. He was my best friend, irreplaceable and one of a kind. I’m going to end this with a quote from his favorite show. Dante once said:
“People can say there is a balance, a logic that everything happens for a reason. But the truth is far less designed. No matter how hard you work, when you die, you die. Some spend their entire life trying to scratch their way to the top, and still die in poverty. While others are born into wealth without ever working at all. It’s a cruel and random world. And yet, the chaos is all so beautiful.””