Here’s Bill Biddix. I remember the night I picked him up by the call center he works at. We chatted a bit and he said it feels as if the doors are finally opening for him, after being suicidal for three years. But, why?

“I was going to college and met my wife. She was a multimedia artist, absolutely wonderful woman. We spent sixteen years together, fought cancer together and when cancer decided it wanted to repeat, she fought through chemo radiation first time, second time decided she just wasn’t going to to it; two weeks of the day she was diagnosed she was gone.

“I had plans with her to open a restaurant. She’s gonna run front of the house, I was gonna run the back. We had huge cookbook of handwritten recipes and whole business plan: we had investors lined up, everything. And then she died. I had planned a lot of things in my life but being a widower at 35 was not one of them.

“After she passed away I taught myself to knit. I started going to a farmers market back in Columbus. I was knitting there, had a lot of people asking. I end up turning around and selling teddy bears I was making. Had a couple of policemen and firemen come up to me saying how much they liked them; wanted to know possibly getting few for the young kids that get involved in a situation where police and firemen have to show up.  I ended up donating over ten thousand teddy bears to children’s hospitals, firemen, policemen. Now and then I just came across kid walking around with one of my teddy bears. I knew they’ve been through something bad that they ended up getting one, but it made me feel good that I actually provided some sort of comfort to somebody I didn’t know.

“It’s been difficult over the past few years to find someone I could compare to her let alone replace her. I ended up having to leave the house we shared for eight years because the memories, the ghost just kept following me and I was ready to kill myself. It was either I left the state or I left life. I ended up putting the map on the wall, through a blindfold on and threw a dart. Ended up in Phoenix. A lot of people laugh but it honestly why I am alive, because I got out of state. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t be.

“When I got to Phoenix, I put application out for job, got a call back within five minutes, had a job next day. In my professional life, in my personal life, friends, finding a place to live – everything just fell into place, just nobody to spend time with. I think she’s blocking me. She might be a little bit jealous – she was a Leo, so. I always feel her presence. Something comes up she’s the first person I want to talk to about it. It always just fixes itself. I can actually feel her here in the backseat here… kind of embarrassed.

“I still see her in my dreams on regular basis. She comes to me with advice. Beats me up in my dreams if I’ve done something really stupid. Every time there’s a blockade in front of me I get something that just steps around and pushes it all the way for me. I can only think that my wife is still watching over me because there’s nothing that I’ve done different than I did back in Ohio other than not have her around.”

listen to Open Conversation episodes also every Tuesday on KJZZ 91.5, NPR member station in Phoenix, Arizona, a bit after 9:30 am PST.

music by Lee Rosevere and Loopstache 
recorded, produced by Regina Revazova

note: this content is intended for listening. This transcript might not be accurate. We advise to listen to the podcast to get full range of emotional highlights and other story elements.

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