Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ninja Stories

One of my favorite things about Billy is his ability to surprise people.  He does this sort of sneak-attack thing, and people don’t realize that he’s been there until he’s gone.  But it’s not just that he’s sneaky.  He’s clever and stealthy as he works to care for the people in his life. 

So it makes me smile when other people leave little surprises for him!

I started a story last night about a little message that Rob left for Billy, not realizing that there would be more to the story.  Here’s Rob’s message from last night.  He left it without Billy knowing.  I think someone pointed it out to him later, after Rob had left.

This morning (Tuesday) when I came in Billy’s room, a second message had been added to the board. 

Case and Hilary Wilson (friends from Fort graduated from flight school with Billy on September 2, 2010) had visited last night, staying later into the night.  I don’t know how late they stayed, but it was definitely after Rob had gone home.  Case is full of fun stories, and it’s clear he likes to pick on people.

As he visited with Billy, he picked on Billy’s choice of helicopter.  Billy had learned to fly a Blackhawk.  Case knows how to fly an Apache.  The joke (or maybe it’s reality?) is that Apaches are easy to fly, and they break down all of the time.  Hence the photo in Billy’s facebook album…

Billy tagged several of his friends as the caveman.  (Nate, Chris, and Case were a few.)  Ah, the jokes between friends.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised to see the following message (to the left of Rob's message) on the board this morning. 

Little did Case know, Rob was coming back.  And somewhere along the line, he left a third message. 

So who wins this one?

The banter made us all smile.  Our whole family agrees…Billy’s army friends are really good for him!

I like to think of Billy as a ninja of sorts.  He has this sneak-attack way of loving people, and he’s incredibly good at it.  My brothers can tell stories about Billy’s ability to find things and figure out surprises without being discovered.  (He used to unwrap and re-wrap his Christmas presents without my mom ever knowing!)  And I have a few of my own. 

My favorite one happened right after I bought my first car.  It was a teal Dodge Shadow ES—not the most premium car, but it was my first one, and I loved it.  Except for one thing.  The speaker cover on the front passenger door was missing a little plastic piece.  The missing piece was no bigger than 2”x3”, but its absence was annoying.  The speaker cover kept sliding around. 

I had taken the car to the dealership to find out if I could get a replacement part.  When I found out that the little plastic piece would cost about $20 or $30, I decided to forget it.  I’d live with the annoyance.

A few days later, I got in my car, and I noticed a new little plastic piece.  I KNEW Billy had been there.  It couldn’t have been anyone else!  Without me knowing, he had gone to the junkyard to get an old piece out of some other Dodge Shadow, paid $1 for the part, and replaced the piece in my car.  But he also got a hold of my car keys somehow, because I always kept my car locked…  It’s things like that, that prove that Billy loves me. 

I think we’ll have some more ninja stories to share about Billy in the future, but for now, I wanted to ask all of you for some.  If Billy has cared for you in some surprise/sneaky way, that sort of “got” you without you realizing he had been there, would you share them?  You can message me on facebook, and I’ll share the story on the blog, or you can post a comment here.

As we’ve hung out with some of Billy’s friends (people who have quickly become our friends as well), we’ve heard story after story of ways that Billy went above and beyond to care for the people around him.  And we’d love to hear more of them…especially the stories where there’s an element of surprise. 

And a quick note on how Billy is doing…  Today was a good day.  His energy was good.  His sense of humor was great.  He slept a lot this morning because there was a bit of hospital drama last night (equipment changes, work orders, fixing things, etc…the usual stuff that can keep patients from sleeping).  But he was up and awake for most of the afternoon and evening.  I think we kept him up until 11 tonight (Tuesday). 

He had a CT scan today, and it helped to give the doctors more of a clear picture on what’s going on in Billy’s body.  But it’s not going to drastically alter his treatment at this point.  There’s still a lot of fluid building up in his body, but now it’s in “pockets” instead of one big area.  This makes it hard to drain the liquid (they’d have to do 5-6 punctures, which is a bit invasive).  The liquid is still infected—probably with both bacteria and cancer.  So if you’re praying specifically, please pray that we’d be able to knock the bacteria out, and that the liquid would thin enough to be drained, or decrease, or disappear all together.  Also, pray that God would protect Billy’s lungs and liver from cancer, and that his bowels and stomach would work again.  He’s got quite the rash/red spot developing on the left side of his belly and upper left thigh.  Pray that God would calm that part of his body, and restore it to full health…  Thanks for praying!

Billy is sporting a new look…but we’ll have to save that for tomorrow (Wednesday). 

Thanks for the love, support, and prayers!


  1. I can't wait to hear all of the stories. So happy to hear that Tuesday was a good day. So happy to hear that Will's brothers in arms are You all. Praying that their presence brings a bit of a break and some much needed joy.


  2. Good morning, Michelle,

    The lyrics to this song have played NON-STOP in my mind since early Sunday morning. Can't explain it but this seems to be what our Creator has provided for me to pray without ceasing...on behalf of you and Billy and your family. Perhaps you might locate the music online, as it is Spirit-lifting as well.

    Many thanks for the loving and tireless updates you post (at all hours of day and night) to keep us in this very important loop.

    Love, Lou Ann

    If I Stand (Rich Mullins)

    There's more that rises in the morning
    Than the sun
    And more that shines in the night
    Than just the moon
    It's more than just this fire here
    That keeps me warm
    In a shelter that is larger
    Than this room

    And there's a loyalty that's deeper
    Than mere sentiments
    And a music higher than the songs
    That I can sing
    The stuff of Earth competes
    For the allegiance
    I owe only to the giver
    Of all good things

    So if I stand let me stand on the promise
    That you will pull me through
    And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
    That first brought me to You
    And if I sing let me sing for the joy
    That has born in me these songs
    And if I weep let it be as a man
    Who is longing for his home

    There's more that dances on the prairies
    Than the wind
    More that pulses in the ocean
    Than the tide
    There's a love that is fiercer
    Than the love between friends
    More gentle than a mother's
    When her baby's at her side

    And there's a loyalty that's deeper
    Than mere sentiments
    And a music higher than the songs
    That I can sing
    The stuff of Earth competes
    For the allegiance
    I owe only to the Giver
    Of all good things


    And if I weep let it be as a man
    Who is longing for his home

  3. What a cool brother! I take it his love language is "gifts"?

  4. I win... "no way Jose" is a joke in itself because few people know that "Jose" is Wills real middle name. He'll tell uounits Joseph but it's really Jose.
    One time, I was using a small computer desk at the apartment, not really sufficient for my computer but it worked. Anyways, I stepped out for what was supposed to be a while but I came home early... I walked in the door to see Will was in the middle of putting together a new computer desk he bought for me. He looks up like "oh crap what are you doing home." if you looked up ninja in a dictionary. Wills picture would be there.

  5. That's supposed to say "people" not ouunits....

  6. Thank you Michelle for keeping everyone posted on Will's condition and the events happening there at Walter Reed. We are praying very hard for the miracles that he needs right now and those down the road as well. Please take care of yourself as well. Warmest regards, Michael Patterson (Friend of Brennan Avants)

  7. I had the honor of being able to spend 4 days with Billy, his family, the Williams clan, and Billy's extensive network of comrades, friends, and aquaintances over the last weekend.

    I also am honored to have met and spoken with several of Billy's doctors, nurses, liason officer, batallion commander, social worker, and Red Cross staff.

    You can't understand the level of commitment that each of these persons has toward the care and comfort for Billy, and his family, unless you experience it.

    There is no doubt that WRAMC is not a happy place. There are tragedies in every ward, corridor, and lobby. Amongst all of this there is also an extreme level of hope exhibited by everyone you meet. You get a hint of that when you approach the building from the garage and you see a banner that proclaims "Warrior care starts here". They truly do take care of their own. Everybody cares, even the short order cook that recognized the Billy's Brigade shirts we all wore over the weekend sending his regards to Billy to hang in there. WRAMC is the best place in this country for Billy to be.

    Billy's smile has been repeatedly mentioned in this blog. I know it's worth a million bucks to me. So smile to that patient, chat with other visitors, thank that orderly, and you will be passing on everything we all know and love about Billy.

    Uncle Jack Williams
    Marblehead, MA

  8. Michelle,
    I just heard about this from my friend Lisa, in Durango. We know Jill from Calvary Durango (But I'm in Gainesville, FL now) and if memory serves, you were in the same grade as my eldest brother, Evan Gifford. Just a quick note to say that I'm sharing your pain! You and I have never really socialized, but if I saw you in a crowd I would know you :D

    I feel your pain more than I can express. I'm not that far away--if you need ANYTHING-please feel free to call on me! God is GOOD.


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