My Story – Chris Burd Tanner
This is my story
My story is like many others. In the fall of 2009, my husband of 23 years, Rich Burd, died of suicide. He was consumed with guilt over his , now failing, business we built from the ground up. We were like so many during that time when the economy took a turn we couldn’t get out from under the New Facility expense from 2007. We saved our money and built a home that was mortgage free. We had college funds for the 4 children and took amazing vacations, that were paid for by our manufacturer. He was personally responsible for 81 employees and their families as well. We thought we did everything right. We were expanding our business and adding employees, everything looked bright. Then the crash. We took ALL our savings, almost $2 million worth and pumped it into the business. It was gone in less that 8 months. The house now had a mortgage, the kids college funds were gone, the savings were all gone and we were still losing $500,000 per month. Rich’s life was about his family and his work. He loved them both. His kids and I loved him and felt we were in this together. He became detached from his friends and was no longer coaching his son’s teams because they had gotten too old. He felt there was nothing left for him to do. He wrote a note to me and it said how sorry he was for failing me. It was the saddest letter I have ever read and hope I will ever read in my lifetime.
My children and I woke up early Monday morning, November 10, 2009, to our whole life gone. He was my life. He was my children’s father who cared and loved us more than he loved himself.
The money was never important to Rich. It was the fact that, in his mind, he let down me, his kids, his employees and all their families. That was the burden that broke him. I would always tell him he was too sweet of a man to be in this business. He took everything to heart.
What is life like today?
Life today is a second life for me.
I feel like I have lived 2 separate lives, both of which I have been truly blessed. I have found a husband who was willing to take the second half of my life to be my partner.
He knows my deep sadness and is willing and committed to help me and my children through this journey. You never forget and you never stop thinking about the person you loved that is now gone forever, but you can open your heart to love again. It takes an amazing person to jump into the shoes of a person who has died. I can only imagine how difficult it was/is for my husband, Matt. He is a brave and strong man who I am proud to call my husband. We have made a new life together and that has made me truly happy again.
My 4 kids are almost all adults. The youngest has one more year in college. The past 9 years have been terrible, life changing, wonderful and amazing! What still makes me sad is that Rich Burd is not around to experience it with us.
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