“I love you,” the text said. “I’ve been shot at work.”
Terra called Josh’s phone. There was no answer. She tried FaceTime. Nothing. Then she called the Aurora, Ill., plant where her husband was the manager. The woman who answered the phone told her she was barricaded in her office and police were everywhere.
Terra said in a Sunday morning Facebook post that her heart dropped at that point. She grabbed her children and drove to the Henry Pratt Co. plant, where police couldn’t yet tell her anything. She went to the two closest hospitals and could find out nothing.
She waited for hours. She said her pastor, chaplains, neighbors and Josh’s co-workers sat with her and held her hand. She eventually got the news she had feared. Josh was one of five people killed in the shooting.
“With my pastor’s help,” she wrote, “I told my children their dad did not make it and is in heaven with Jesus. I’ve never had to do something that hard.”
Josh Pinkard and his family had moved to Oswego, Ill., less than a year ago when he was promoted by his company. He had started with Henry Pratt Co. 13 years ago at a plant not far from his hometown of Holly Pond, Ala., which is about an hour north of Birmingham.
Early Saturday morning, Terra posted a message for her friends on Facebook.
“I lost the love of my life yesterday in a tragic workplace shooting,” she wrote. “The world is darker and more sad now. A huge bright light has left this world. But God. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. I am lost and devastated beyond words.”
And then she said something which all of us need to keep in mind.
“Things that mattered yesterday do not matter today,” Terra wrote.
We go through this world with confused priorities. We waste our energy and attention on things that don’t matter. We angrily complain about things we can do nothing about. We scream at the driver who cut us off or who won’t stop blocking the left lane. We give our attention to things that won’t matter an hour later, much less in the days and years to come.
We fail to stay focused on the things that really do matter. We take for granted that the love we want and need will always be there waiting for us. We can’t imagine that it can go away. We don’t appreciate what we really need the most — until it’s gone.
Terra Pinkard is very aware today of what she had until Friday.
“I will praise the Lord for giving me this mountain of a man,” she wrote. “I will praise the Lord for the children we have together. And I will cry out to God during this immense time of sadness and need.”
Josh Pinkard will be coming home to Holly Pond, Ala., for burial near the grave of his late sister.
“Please remember us in the coming days, months, and years,” Terra wrote Saturday. “We are scared and are trying to catch our breath and just putting one foot in front of the other.”
When we lose those whose love we really need most, everything else suddenly doesn’t matter as much as we had believed.