Yesterday afternoon I learned that the man who killed Evie passed away over the weekend. According to the attorney general, he died from complications of the burns he suffered in the attempted murder/suicide (you can click here for more information.)
In the days between the fire and Evie’s death, as she lay unconscious in a hospital room, I was shocked to find that in my first real test of whether my beliefs stood up to the harsh light of reality, they did. I didn’t wish him ill. I was upset and scared for my friend, but I harbored no anger at her attacker. It was clear to me that there were forces at work far greater than I could understand.
From the moment that Evie died, my fervent prayer was that there would never be a trial. After all that her family and community have been through, a trial would be too much. Not to mention the media circus that would have surrounded it.
And then yesterday… I was at work, sorting through the newsroom email and opened a press release from New Hampshire law enforcement. Just as seemingly unconnected to me as any of the others. And there were their names. Barry Winters, the man who killed Evelyn Spodnik, has died.
And just like that, it’s over.
Once again, I find my inner resources tested, and once again I’m surprised by the results. I feel relief that we won’t have to live through a trial, but I am not cheering because he is gone. I feel relief on his behalf that he won’t live the excruciating life of a severe burn victim; but I feel no gladness at his death.
I suppose the closest that I can come to putting it into words is this: I feel a sense of completion and a sense of peace.
And once more, it comes back to Mr. Blue Eyes, whose presence in my life was always oddly twisted up with Evie. She died while he and I were on the phone for the first time and he sat with me through that initial burst of shock and grief. That first conversation would have lasted for hours no matter what, but he seemed to be perfectly guided with exactly the right words at the right moments.
I often said to Mr. Blue Eyes that if it had only been that first night on the phone – if we had never met in person or ever spoken again – it would have been enough.
To close the circle, it was the final night when he and I said goodbye that Barry Winters was released from the hospital and taken into police custody.
There have been so many miracles from my relationship with Mr. Blue Eyes – most obvious was the experience of a deep, true, and vulnerable love. But an equal miracle is this: God sent someone to be with me as I experienced a tragedy beyond my wildest imagination. And now that tragedy has played itself out and come to completion. And so has this chapter with Mr. Blue Eyes. I will continue to grieve for both Evie and Mr. Blue Eyes, but apparently God thinks that I’m strong enough to handle it on my own now.
Thank you God for putting Evie in my life. Please hold the souls of Evie Spodnik and Barry Winters in your hands and let them be at peace.