That was Bobbi Fonner’s world.
She was grieving the loss of her soulmate, the boy she had met in sixth grade who had grown into the man she loved deeply. For more than three years, Bobbi had clung to Greg Fonner’s side as he battled an aggressive brain tumor that was ravishing his body. Initially, the doctors had given him 12 months to live — if that.
Now he was gone.
“It was really hard when Greg died,” Bobbi remembered. “It was like a piece of me was taken away. I was dead inside. I didn’t care about anything. I just went through the motions.”
Greg had been a pilot in the Air Force for 28 years. He earned an ROTC scholarship to Rensselear Institute in New York, then entered the Air Force. He was deployed in the Gulf War in 1991, flying a KC-135 refueling jet during both the Desert Storm and Desert Shield operations.
Bobbi, meanwhile, was born in Philadelphia and was the daughter of a manufacturing engineer. Her family had moved often for her father’s job and she became quite insecure after serving as “the new girl” at school far too many times.
However, one of those stops proved to be a blessing as she landed in the same school Greg was attending. And in the sixth grade, Greg had become a source of courage and inspiration for a quiet young girl. They began dating during their junior year of high school and remained together through 36 years of marriage.
“He was my opposite, I guess. I’m the worrier and I’m pretty quiet,” Bobbi shared. “He was the social butterfly. Everybody liked him.”
One of Bobbi’s special memories of their time together was a passion they shared for flying.
“We really liked to fly together,” she said. “He had a four-seater airplane and we would look at the sunset and the leaves. It was so nice to be up and away from everything.”
The couple changed addresses often during’s Greg’s time in the military before settling in Beaver County with their two sons, Paul and Kevin. They eventually moved to Ohioville, on 13 acres of property that included a small creek. The two began attending Pathway Church in 2000.
“He loved me for who I was,” Bobbi explained. “I didn’t have to put on any pretenses. That gave me a lot of confidence.”
Greg died on October 20, 2013. He was 62.
Bobbi was devastated.
“I woke up each day not caring about things as simple as getting out of bed. Why should I bother getting up when there was no Greg to hug?” she asked. “I felt like I was hauling around a ton of weight every time I was up and about. I was getting really depressed.”
Her spiral into the darkness would last for the next two years as she continued to struggle with the intense pain.
“I didn’t want to do anything except eat. I probably gained about 30 pounds. I just wanted to lay in bed.”
Trips to the grocery store, and even to church, had become unbearable.
“This world is a couple’s world, and I really didn’t realize it until Greg passed away,” Bobbi reflected. “I would try to go to church. I couldn’t stand it when I would see the couples. I would just turn around and go home.”
And home is where she experienced the worst day of her life, as she recalled it.
“I had a major meltdown. I just remember crying and praying. I really needed help.”
She asked God for a miracle. Then, after hours of tossing and turning in bed, she woke up to one.
“I got up the next morning and just felt different. I was smiling and realized I felt joy, happiness and hope about my life. My burden was also lifted. I can only describe it by saying I actually felt lighter.”
Bobbi was stunned.
“I always wondered if God listened to me and heard my prayers. Now I know, without a doubt, that God loves me. He hears my prayers.”
Now, the once shy and insecure woman is sharing her story with anyone willing to listen.
“I never thought I'd have a testimony to tell but now I do and I want to tell it. If you know me, I'm not one to get up in front of others and talk, but I feel God wants me to do this.”
She wiped away the tears welling in her eyes.
“He’s given me peace and I want others to know he can do the same for them.”