<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Update and a thank you---- 

First off, I want to thank all of the people who have left comments here, emailed me, and especially the close friends who have called. This has been so hard, so terrible, that I just don't think I could have handled it without the support I have gotten from so many caring people. I really do thank you all from the bottom of my heart for you kindness and concern.

Virgil used to say that I was the best thing that ever happened to him - well, I feel like he was the best thing that ever happened to me. We were so lucky to have found each other and had the kind of relationship we shared. Few people ever find that kind of love - that depth of love where you share everything about yourself. And I do mean everything - even the deepest, darkest secrets you have always kept to yourself your whole life. We told it all to each other and loved each other not in spite of, but because of, those things. Because all of those things were what made us who we really were. I loved Virgil unconditionally and whole-heartedly and always will. I knew things about him that he had never told a single, solitary soul, and he knew the same about me. That's so rare these days. Probably always has been. But, oh, is it special!

Unfortunately, it also makes it harder to let go and lose one another, especially so young. It also means that since he was "the one," there will never be another for me. It wouldn't even be fair for me to try if I wanted to, which I don't. I could never have that kind of relationship with anyone else because they would not be him. I will always have friends, but I will never love another the way I loved him. This also unfortunately means that my life will be so much harder than it already has been because I simply cannot do everything I need to do to take care of myself anymore since I became so disabled. There are a number of things I needed to have a man around to do. Like, I can't run a chainsaw and cut the firewood I need to heat my home (yet can't afford to buy it, either). I can't unload 50 lb. bags of dog food out of the car when I get home. I certainly can't finish building this house we started building together. I have done quite a bit of damage to myself even trying. I didn't realize how much until recently when I couldn't do even a fraction of what I could when we started. I always knew I was going against the doctor's orders, but I never realized how much damage I was doing, and now it is too late to do anything about it. I'll manage some way. I really don't have much choice. I have to have a home, and it's cold right now without all of the insulation, and I dream of having my sink hooked up in the kitchen and hot water and stairs instead of cinder blocks to get up on the porch or a ladder to have to climb up into the loft and.....I have family and a few friends, but it will sure take a whole lot longer, and it surely won't be the same as it would be if we were still doing this together as a team like we did everything else in our life.

And there is so much of him here in this place. He is in every board because he cut the logs that the lumber came from. He was part of the decision-making process in the design stage, and the place is designed for him to be here. Two long closets up in the loft, one on each side of the room, along with two sets of drawers that go on each side of the bed. Everything is in pairs. Our coffee mugs, our place mats, even some of our hats and outfits. I just can't imagine a life spent without him being in it. We were supposed to grow old together and sit on our porch in our rocking chairs and tell our grandchildren what interesting lives we had led, showing them all of the articles and interviews and such, sharing what we had accomplished and what we had learned. We wanted them to learn that one person can indeed make a difference in this world. That every single choice a person makes matters in shaping the kind of reality that becomes your future.

Now, it will just be me. And, I don't intend to stop doing what I do and being who I am. I couldn't if I wanted to. Believe me because part of me has tried. Like, this morning, I wanted to just curl up in a ball and not get out of the bed and face the world, but I couldn't. I got up, fed the animals, got my coffee, and started my day. It has been a really hard one, too. Maybe the hardest yet. I won't go into why, as some of what I am going through is just a bit too private for posting here. I may be able to talk more about it at some point, but right now everything is just too raw.

Anyway, enough of the pity party. On to the rest of this post. I promised an update, and I intend to give it to you.

I have been asked about funeral arrangements, so here they are for anyone who cares.

The "viewing" will be held tomorrow, the 19th, at Beasley Wood Funeral Home at 611 Janssen St. in Mena, AR from 6:00-8:00, and the funeral will be Wednesday at 2:00 at
Hilltop Church in Cove, AR (just south of Mena). I know that the vast majority of people who read this will not be there, but perhaps during those times you can hold Virgil in your heart for a moment or so and wish him peace. And, if I may ask, hold me in your hearts for a moment, too, and lend me a bit of strength to deal with all of that, especially since this is not what he wanted done. I won't go into that, either, as I don't wish any more pain on his mother than she is already going through. If this is what she needs to do to deal with this, then so be it. His body is just a shell anyway - his spirit isn't in it anymore. I can't imagine how it feels to lose a son. But I do know now how hard it is to lose the person you planned to spend the rest of your life with and the only person in the world who truly knew you and loved you for who you really are.

It hurts.

A lot.

Sorry, gotta go now. I've done all I can handle for one day. Those of you who have written me personally, I will get back to you individually when I can. I can only handle so much at once. But, I have read every word sent. Thank you all again.

Peace and love and light to you all-----

Dear Laura, I am not sure how I came across your message of thanks to all those who have supported you but I did and it led me to read your entire writing. You touched my heart and I envied the kind of love you shared with Virgil. It is a love not many and as of yet (not me) get to experience. My heart breaks for you for I can only imagine the pain you are carrying within and what you will face without him in your future. If you ever need someone to talk to feel free to contact me. My care2 address is creator32961. I pray that angels will surround you and that you will get to finish your dream house so that you can live surrounded by Virgil for the rest of your days. Bless you Laura at this most difficult time and try to believe that there will be light again in your life.
I never knew Virgil and I stumbled upon your page through one of the blogs recommended on the digg's downtime list.

That said, I am sorry for your loss and the loss to the animal world and PETA. From what I read here, he must've been a genuinely nice person.

I am a vegetarian and I'm deeply amazed by the consideration shown by people like you towards animal welfare.

I hope humans and animals can co-exist peacefully in this world.

My condolences to you.

RIP Virgil.
Oh Laura, as I write this through my tears, I would give anything if I could be with you tomorrow. I grew up in Smithville. Was born in Mena and drove through Cove everytime we shopped in Mena. I lived down there, again, from 1999 til 2002. I wish I had known what you were doing then. I would have been right there with you all the way.

I was notified by PETA that Virgil had died and I want you to know what a tremendous loss this is to the welfare of animals everywhere. you can contact me through weezilgirlchurch@sbcglobal.net.

I am so terribly sorry for your loss and I want you to know that the next time I come home to Smithville, if it's okay, I'll get in touch with you.

Much Love, Pat Mowdy Lockhart, Texas
Dear Laura,

Even though I have been a vegetarian for almost four years and a vegan for the past year (thanks to a PETA 101 conference in my city in 2005), I am sorry to say I had never heard of your dear husband. After I learned of his passing from PETA, I read the "in memorium," and then your last two blogs. He sounds like an authentic hero, a man of real moral courage, and you sound like the partner/soulmate/spouse of his dreams.

The least I can do is spend this evening honoring Virgil's memory, during the wake. My prayers will embrace you, too, knowing that it is right that somehow your house be finished and your hard chores be taken care of by those who respect and admire you and Virgil. The chickens he has defended would help if they could -- and as a matter of fact all their little angelic hearts are surrounding you and Virgil now, loving you in the pure, unconditional way that you love one another and that our heavenly Father-Mother loves us all.

Virgil is still doing his good work, with his big heart and gentle soul. He will never stop. Life truly IS eternal. Because Love alone is Life, and Virgil has not stopped loving! Love will also get you through everything, in Love's abundant, gracious way.

Showers of blessings upon you and Virgil and your pets and the chicks who you have cared enough about to devote your lives to their freedom.
I'm so very sorry for your loss. It's a loss to the whole world, as well. I never had the privilege of meeting Virgil but his work and his writings have meant a lot to me. I was shocked to hear of his death and very, very sad.

I am thinking of you and wishing you strength to get through this.

I will redouble my efforts on behalf of the animals, in Virgil's memory.
Dearest Laura,
I have been keeping you and Virgil in my thoughts. Sending you strength and reiki. Wish I could do more.
{{{Most Gentle Hugs}}} if that's okay.

Love and Caring,
Dearest Laura,

I read about you and Virgil in a Peta publication. Your story touched me so very much. The way Virgil had SO MUCH COURAGE to leave his job and stand up for the animals being killed.

I'm a humane educator who travels to schools to talk about factory farming and vegetarianism. When I'm feeling down and wondering if change is really possible, if some people just can't be reached.....I think of the story of Virgil and how he had the courage to change.

THank you for all of the work you do, Laura. My heartfelt thoughts are with you during this hard time.

Bless you,
Rachel in Oklahoma City
I had contacted Virgil before to offer my support, that was several months ago. I just learned about his death today. I am sorry for your loss. His passing is also a big loss to everyone who cares about animals as well. Please tell his family that we are all proud of him and we won't forget what he did for the animals during these last few years.
I just found your blog, via the Free Slave. Condolences! What I will do about the situation: go as vegan as possible.
I'm so sorry Laura, I was beyond saddened to hear about this. Virgil was an inspiring activist and very supportive of all activists; what a huge contribution he made. Our thoughts are with you.

--Eleni and Rob
Hi Laura,
My heart and PRAYERS are going out to you. Your and Virgils story is alot like mine and my husbands. We have alot of rescued animals now and I also have a brain injury. You have touched my heart in a special way and will always keep you in my heart. And in Virgils memory will we do more than we thought we could do, for our "speechless" friends. THANK YOU for touching our lives. THANK YOU for the animals.
A deepest and sincerest Thannk you to you. You are in my thoughts and wishes. I am deeply sorry yet I know that you will continue what the two of you have started. Think of of as not the end but the beginnig of a beautiful chapter of life...
I came across your blog via the Humane Society of the United States. I read your story and my heart goes out to you and Virgil.
Shalomn, Cristi
Je suis tellement triste d'apprendre la mort de Virgil, toutes mes condoléances à la famille et les proches, les militants et les animaux viennent de perdre un grand activiste pour la cause des animaux. Merci Vigil aux noms des animaux!

I've shown Virgil's video to people for months and I just found out a couple weeks ago of his death. It is a terrible loss, but what he's left behind, his writings, is invaluable. I've read them and found that Virgil was a very intelligent and sensitive person. I hope they inspire others like they have inspired me--I've started work on a short story and hope to showcase the cruelty Virgil has described.
Although I've come late and, like many others, come to know of your and Virgil's work by accident, please know you both will always serve as inspirations to a world slowly awakening to the facts of cruelty. You both have made a great difference. Virgil's work was not in vain. May time heal your heart, Laura, so you may take up your chosen and noble cause again for those who cannot - God's innocent creatures. Peace and blessings to you.
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