(? Today’s conversation is a hard one. I want you to know that while it is full of hope, friendship, and a powerful story of community, it begins with the tragedy of suicide. I have included an article below from the Wall Street Journal, featuring Becky and her children as they discuss the hope they have found in the aftermath of losing husband/father, Mark.)
In today’s episode of The Turquoise Table, host Kristin Schell interviews Becky Powell and Katherine Reay. Katherine is an award-winning author of novels, including Lizzy and Jane and The Printed Leather Bookshop. Katherine recently wrote her first non-fiction book with Becky called Awful Beautiful Life: When God Shows up in the Midst of Tragedy.
On May 13, 2013, Becky faced the unthinkable: she learned her husband had taken his own life and had borrowed millions of dollars over the years from friends and colleagues. While grieving her husband’s death, she became the focus of open FBI, SCC and Department of Justice investigations. Today’s episode is a gripping story, but it is filled with grace, faith, and community.
Becky bravely shares how she tried to hold things together for her children, but constantly felt behind for the first six months after the tragedy. She learned that her husband had borrowed 21 million dollars, that she now owed multiple creditors, and lawsuits were coming at her. Amidst the investigations and FBI agents taking computers and files from the house, Becky’s community rallied around her in support. Throughout it all, God used her friends, family and attorneys to show her He was there for her. Becky’s priority was her children, making sure they felt they could talk about things and that they didn’t play the victim; that they instead were going to move forward.
The lawyers predicted Becky’s legal battle would be tough and would go on for three or four years, but in the end, the entire proceedings took 18 months and Becky paid back 100% of the principal owed to each creditor. Becky herself pushed to pay back the creditors, and it helped with her healing process, to move forward knowing she paid her debts. Katherine and Becky met and began the process of writing the story together. Katherine explains how she crafted the story arc, conducted interviews, and held space for Becky to share her emotions and deepen the story. Becky shares her lessons and just how beautiful her community was to her and her family, as well as how God taught her to receive.
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Two of my favorite novels by Katherine:
Becky’s story, written by Katherine, is available on Amazon:
Awful Beautiful Life: When God Shows up in the Midst of Tragedy
The playlist for the book’s chapters is available at:
Podcast Discussion Guide
Katherine, Becky, and Kristin recording the podcast a few weeks ago. This was Becky’s first podcast interview! Can you spot Mojo under the coffee table? He’s the official podcast producer.
Katherine Reay, Suzanne Bell, and Becky Powell at The Turquoise Table. Suzanne is the “link in the chain” who connected Katherine and Becky.
Wall Street Journal Article
Becky and her children were featured in the December 2nd issue of the Wall Street Journal. The article discusses emerging treatments offering hope to loved ones who are left behind after suicide.
As Suicides Rise, More Attention Turns to the People Left Behind, WSJ, Dec 2, 2019.