Wally Byars III
July 18, 1992-August 23, 2014
Revelations 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
How sad it is to lose someone you love whether it be close or from afar. It’s even harder when they’re young, still so full of mischief. Wally Byars was one of the boys that grew up with my son, Reese. He wasn’t just “my son’s friend.” He was one of “our kids,” whom we watched growing up and coming into his own. We loved him just as much as we do Ian and Noah Hendrix or Kenny and Kevin Cox (to name a few) so, it’s heart wrenching for us to say good-bye.
It bothers me when people say, “He’s in a better place now.”
No, he isn’t. Wally wasn’t sick or dying of some terminal disease. If he were, then I'd agree. Instead, he was full of life and love. He adored his wife, April, and their child, Maddux. He was going be a father again and very much looking forward to it. He couldn’t wait! So again, no, he’s not in a better place which makes this all the harder to bear.
Wally was such a precocious boy. It seemed he was forever in trouble at school. He spent more time in the principal’s office than the principal did. It was so bad that at one point, he asked, “Will you ask my mom if you can home-school me too?”
“She’s not going to go for it Wally,” I warned.
“It’s not going to hurt to ask though.” I did ask Dawn. She said no. “Ask her again,” he insisted.
“No Wally. You ask her again if it’s something you really want.”
I actually agreed with Dawn. Wally was such an outgoing boy, he never would have been happy being home-schooled. At least, not for long. Wally was a social butterfly. He just needed to stop acting up and trying to be the class clown at school.
When his parents divorced he bounced around a little between them. As a result, I didn’t see him for a few years. Like with all children, it bothered him a great deal. Later, when he was getting ready to marry April, Wally came to the house and told me about her. “I want you to meet her. You’ll really like her!”
I did like her too. I ran into them at Walmart a few months later and he introduced us. She was a sweetie. He was gushing like a new bride himself when he introduced me. I almost expected a wedding march to start playing.
Over Christmas this past year, he stopped by the house to pick up a few things for his wife, April. “We have Christmas for Maddux already but, I just didn’t have any money to get April something,” he explained.
Growing up, I kept things on hand, like the Bath and Body Works in case Amber or Reese (and their friends) ever needed a quick gift for someone. Especially the boys because they never thought about those things until the very last minute. I was their “Last-Minute-Stop-N-Shop-Mom.” This has come in handy on many occasions for the children when they were young. Having an eBay store, I really had the goods now and Wally knew just where to go.
He came and did his “shopping.” He was so funny! “What size does she wear, Wally?” I asked as he browsed the clothes.
“I have no idea,” he answered thoughtfully. “I like this shirt though.”
“What else does she like?”
“I dunno,” he said, “Everything, I guess. She’ll be happy with anything, really. She’s not high maintenance; she’s down-to-earth. April has a good head on her shoulders. My wife keeps me straight.”
Since April is about my daughter’s size, he picked out a nice shirt we thought she‘d fit into. I cut the tags (because boys never think about that either) and reminded him, “Make sure you wrap it up. In a box. With wrapping paper. Preferably Christmas wrapping paper since that’s what the gifts are for.”
He laughed but I was serious. I had visions of Wally rolling it up like a sock and using sparkly wrapping paper that screamed, “Happy Birthday, wishing you many more!” across the sheet.
As a second thought, I said, “Here, just let me wrap the things up for you and you can come back and pick them up.”
Wally laughed again, “No, I got this. I promise I’ll wrap them up really nice for her. She’s going to be so surprised.”
He got a couple more things and something else for Maddux. The day after Christmas Wally messaged me that April liked everything and the shirt fit well.
I had messaged him the day before Christmas though. “Did you wrap everything?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“In CHRISTMAS wrapping paper?”
“LOL YES!” he answered back.
Just a few months ago, Wally was at the house and while we talked he told me about how he and April had once separated and then reconciled. I was surprised. I didn‘t know any of that had happened. “It was all my fault,” he said of the break up. “But I got her back, Michelle and this time, I’m not going to let her go. I want April to know that I love her very much and I always will for the rest of my life.”
He did love her for the rest of his life. Rest in peace Wally. Thank you for being you. You were one of the good kids and we will all miss you terribly.
John 6:40 - "For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."