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Back with the Living

Back with the Living

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Back with the Living

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Sep 7, 2012


After many efforts to end his dependency on drugs and alcohol, Larry managed to find success through a twelve-step program and full surrender to his Lord and Savior. Upon his release from a life of sin, God let him know He wanted Larry to share his story. Though he is no one famous or important, his story is worth telling. The love and forgiveness of a God who refused to abandon him is something everyone needs to know.

God blessed Larry with a wife who gives him the love that was so woefully lacking earlier in his life. Larry and Nancy have been married for more than seven years, and live in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His passions include sports, fishing, and enjoying his life as a Christian. He is active in church as an usher and in many other positions where his experience is needed. He enjoys writing about any topic God lays on his heart.

Sep 7, 2012

Sobre el autor

Larry spent most of his childhood, early adulthood, and many of the years up until his late forties in active rebellion against God. The trauma of his mother’s death and his father’s rude attempts to express his love conspired to drive him from one awkward situation to another in his quest for a normal life. His unwillingness to accept God’s love and forgiveness led him through a series of failures and ultimately a stint in prison.

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Back with the Living - Larry Heth

Copyright © 2012 Larry Heth

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

WestBow Press books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:

WestBow Press

A Division of Thomas Nelson

1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403


1-(866) 928-1240

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

ISBN: 978-1-4497-6625-2 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4497-6626-9 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2012916257

WestBow Press rev. date: 9/4/2012



1   The Move

2   The News

3   The Sign

4   My Worst Fear

5   New Steps

6   Mixed Messages

7   A Way Out

8   Back to School

9   GI Joe

10   The Big Surprise

11   Two Roads

12   Reality

13   City of Chaos

14   Chaos to Nightmare

15   A Fugitive Heart

16   Endless Cycle

17   Reality Check

18   Life Behind Bars

19   A Lion Gone Wild

20   The Final Blow

21   A New Beginning

22   A Fight to the Death

23   Back With the Living

24   Love Comes Knocking

25   The Married Life

26   For Better or Worse

27   A Night to Remember

28   Family and Friends

29   A Final Thought


I would like to first thank my Lord Jesus Christ for giving me life, and the opportunity to share that new life with others. It was His miraculous power that could only bring me back with the living, and I am eternally grateful for that. May this book bring glory and honor to His name alone.

I would like to thank my wife for putting up with me, as there were countless days when I all but ignored her while I was writing. There was even a time when she commented, I wish you would get through with this, so I can have you back. Well, sweetie you now have me back.

I also want to thank my friends Sharon, for trudging along with me for the first part of the book. Your efforts were more than commendable. You have truly been a dear friend in all of this.

I would like to thank my friend Ron for helping me finish this. I could not have done this without your faithfulness until the end, and the countless hours you spent talking on the phone with me as we hammered out all the details. Finally for just being a friend, really a brother ,as you saw me go through a lot of difficulties. I know that you were praying for me the entire way, and I am grateful.

Finally, there are many others I must thank, including my family and friends for your prayers and support, and for encouraging me to finish.


Hi, my name is Larry Heth. I would like to tell you my life’s story. My family was loving, caring and very kind, and yet I still struggled to be a part of that family.

When I was a child, my mother was my whole world. At the age of 12, she passed away, leaving me bitter, hurt and hateful. I felt abandoned and full of anger. I couldn’t understand why she had to leave me or how was I going to live without her. Her passing was the beginning of a life full of despair, hopelessness, tragedy and death.

I will also tell you stories of many things that I have done that are on the humorous side. As you read this, you will see a person who had no concept of life or love. I realize that many books have been written about the lives of people more well known than I, but I feel mine is worth reading. There came a time in my life when I found hope and love. I found the Lord Jesus. So, I ask you to bear with me as I tell my story…how our Loving God with His Amazing Grace brought me back with the living.

My Hope and Prayer is that one person who reads this story, who feels there is no hope in his life, will find that hope in Jesus. May God reach out to you and touch your life the way He has touched mine. I now have hopes, dreams and a wonderful wife to share them with. This is all due to the fact that Jesus cares and He is there for all who come to Him.

Chapter 1

The Move

Before I begin my story I would like to introduce you to my family. First, my Father. He was a well-built, rough, burly looking man. My dad was a very good provider for his family. In fact, he took it rather seriously; I believe he took it to the extreme. At the same time he was a very compassionate man always reaching out to someone who needed a hand. Now my Mom. She was a very beautiful delightful-looking woman. She could have passed for a movie star. She always had a beautiful smile and a kind word for everyone that crossed her path. I also had a brother. He was 4 years older than I and fairly tall for his age. He was a good brother but mostly kept to himself. As for me, well, I was a skinny, brawny kid who was very active, but very shy around the girls.

I was born in Topeka, Kansas where I grew up in a two-story brick house. While I lived in Kansas I always had interesting and challenging things to wonder about. One very interesting thing was the terrain. It was quite breathtaking to see the farm country surrounded by miles of golden wheat, corn and barley fields. One of the challenges of life in Kansas was the possibility of tornadoes, especially during the summer. You never knew when you might have to run for cover. When one was spotted, a siren would sound and you only had a short time to take cover.

I can still remember being asleep in bed when I was 5 years old and suddenly being awakened by the loud crash of glass breaking over my bed. A tornado had hit a large tree in front of our house, uprooting it and leaving the base of the tree sticking through my bedroom window. I frantically screamed for my brother, who was in the other bed and at the same time yelled for my mom. Every time after that when I heard the sirens going off, I was the first one to head down to the storm cellar. That was the first time I had ever felt that scared, but there would be other times during my life when I would be just as scared. The next three years were pretty much typical for me as a kid. I had few things to worry about.

In mid-summer of 1960 my world suddenly took a different turn. I remember my dad coming home from work saying he had some news for us. We all sat down on the couch as my dad sat in his chair. He began to tell us that his boss had offered him a new job if he wanted to take it. He would become a foreman, which meant a large pay increase. My father worked for the railroad, ordering the parts for trains. He really enjoyed his job, but if he accepted the promotion we would have to move to a new location and he didn’t necessarily want to move. After Dad and my mom discussed it, they decided it would be the best move for the family.

When they told my brother and I that we were going to move we were both saddened by the news. My parents told us that we would be moving to a little town in New Mexico. At first I was a little puzzled since I had no idea where New Mexico was. I thought we were moving to a foreign country. Dad reassured us that it was in the United States, but I was still sad. I was going to have to leave all my friends. We had other family members living in Kansas and we would be leaving them too.

The day arrived when we had to leave. My dad picked up a moving truck and we packed all of our belongings. We said goodbye to our family and friends, and headed out to New Mexico. After a couple of days of driving we arrived at our destination. As we pulled up in front of our new home, I could immediately see the surroundings were much different than in Kansas. There was no farmland or beautiful wheat fields, there was only dirt and tumbleweeds. As soon as I stepped out of the truck I felt like I wanted to get back in and head back to Kansas. After several days we got settled in and I soon met some kids to play with. For some reason even at the age of 8, I was a kid who wanted all the attention, and I would do whatever it took to get what I wanted.

Shortly after we moved to New Mexico I was introduced to another kid who would end up being a good friend. We were talking outside one day when he suddenly went back inside and came back out shortly with some kind of pepper I didn’t recognize. When he asked me if I wanted to eat one I felt like I should because I didn’t want to be rude. I also thought that it was probably a bell pepper even though I didn’t recognize it. As I bit into it, my face got flushed and my throat and mouth felt like fire. My new friend stood there laughing. Then I asked him for a drink of water and of course he went inside and brought me one. I thought it would cool my mouth but each swallow only made it hotter. The hotter my mouth grew, the louder my friend laughed. I still didn’t realize what I had eaten but kept trying to cool my mouth. He finally gave me a tortilla, which actually cooled it off. I later learned I had eaten my first jalapeño. I was mad at him for pulling this little joke at my expense even though he finally apologized for not telling me what it was. After a couple of years I got used to eating these peppers along with my meals, and in fact, became somewhat addicted to them.

As summer came to an end I knew school would be starting soon. The thought of a new school was nerve racking. The fact that I had made new friends eased my mind a bit because at least I would have someone to walk with and I wouldn’t have to go alone. I was still extremely nervous, anticipating who my teachers would be, but most of all I wondered if the other kids would accept me. When the first day of school arrived, I was very nervous, which is typical for me.

I didn’t care much for the learning part of school, I just wanted to play. I looked forward to recess and playing on the monkey bars, swinging and going down the slide. It didn’t take long for my clumsiness to become obvious. The other kids saw this and immediately started to make fun of me. Don’t forget I was very skinny and small for my age and that didn’t help matters at all. This was not the way I wanted to start off at a new school.

I went out of my way, especially at recess, trying not to be so awkward, but to no avail. I started missing Kansas even more, and wanted to be back with friends who accepted me for who I was. I did make one true friend in New Mexico. His name was Johnny, and if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t have made it through school. He was a friend I could confide in about anything and everything. The teasing I received from the kids in school left deep scars that would haunt me for many years. I never said anything because I wanted to be liked. I thought if I stood up for myself they would dislike me even more. I still remember anxiously waiting for the last school bell to ring so I could go home to where I felt safe.

The first thing I did as soon as school ended was to run home to my mom. She always knew what to say to make me feel better. My brother was very reserved and as soon as he came home from school would immediately go up to his room. He really never spent too much time with me.

My father would get home from work between 4:30 and 5:00 everyday and Mom would always have dinner on the table. If it wasn’t quite ready Dad would go out to the shop and tinker with something until I was sent to get him for dinner. My mom was the only one who would take time and listen to me. My dad and brother just seemed to be too busy. I felt like there was no time for me in their lives. After dinner my dad would watch the news and then he would go back out to the shop and tinker around some more. My mom and I would sit down in the evening and watch TV or sometimes take in a movie. It would be around 8:30 when my dad would come in and by then it was my bedtime. I often wondered why my dad didn’t spend much time with me. I was a kid who needed a father in my life.

I made it through the school year, though. School was finally out for at least 3 months. I could play with my friends until almost dark, which is what I liked to do best. When my friends were busy I would often play basketball with my mom. We would play a game called Horse. In this game when you made a shot the other player would have to make the same shot or get a letter. The game ended when the word horse was spelled out. About 80% of the time I would lose to my mom. I wasn’t the best loser so I would walk away pouting with my head down. Mom would lovingly say Larry, it’s just a game, don’t take it so seriously. I played all summer long, and before I knew it, it was almost time for school to start again.

Chapter 2

The News

The last weekend of summer arrived. Vacation was over. My friends and I played as long as we could. We talked about starting school on Monday. We were a year older and starting the 4th grade, which meant going to a new school. We would have some new teachers we had heard about. Some of the teachers were very hard on the students and we were hoping not to get one of them. My friend Johnny and I knew the strategy was to grin, bear it and wait for recess.

The playground at the new school was about the same as that of the old school, with one bonus. There was a log which was approximately 15 to 20 feet long and went across a ditch. We used this log for a new game we called King of the Mountain. We would stand in line and wait for our turn, and then we would get on the log, grab each other’s hand and see who could push the other off. The game ended when everyone had had a turn and the last one standing was declared the King of the Mountain. I was always one of the first to fall, since I was so small and not very strong, but it was fun trying. There was a definite downfall to this log. After a good rain the ditch would fill with water and that meant my friend Johnny and I would end up falling, getting wet and having to go home to face our parents. We would come home wet and muddy and end up getting a spanking. We also played marbles which was a very popular game at that time. Marbles was something that Johnny and I were really good at. We would come home with our pockets full of marbles. The good thing was we didn’t have to be big and strong to play marbles.

One day we left school and ran home. We got home, said our good byes and went into our own homes. My parents weren’t home and I had forgotten that my dad had taken my mom to the doctor. I played inside and waited for them to come home.

Finally, Mom and Dad drove up and got out of the car and I met them at the door. I remember seeing a blank look on both of their faces as they walked into the house. My dad asked me to go get my brother so we could all sit down and have a talk. We sat on the couch and I sat next to my mom and held her hand. I wondered what Dad was going to talk about. He had a concerned look on his face as he started to talk.

Boys, as you know I took mom to the doctor today. The doctor told us that Mom has cancer.

He said that Mom would have to take chemo treatments. The doctors were very positive that it could be taken care of and the sooner she started the treatments the better. Dad also told us that the treatments would make Mom very weak and that we would have to help more around the house.

When I heard the news that my mom had cancer, I squeezed her hand with tears in my eyes. As always Mom assured me that everything would be alright. I’m not sure what went through my head, I just knew that the love of my life, my mother, had something I had never heard of before. I couldn’t understand why this had to happen to my mom. When Dad finished talking to us I went up to my room and began to cry. I wasn’t sure what cancer was, just that Mom had it. She was very sick and I wasn’t sure how to help her. What I didn’t know when I got the news was that the world as I knew it was about to change forever.

I felt like my back was up against the wall. I felt powerless about Mom’s cancer. I started to think about God and to wonder if He was truly real. I had never prayed much before, I guess nothing had ever seemed bad enough for me to feel it was necessary. For me to even consider praying things had to be extremely bad, and for me this was as bad as it could get.

Up to this time my concept of God was very shallow. I felt that He was above and we were below. I knew that when we prayed and were sincere God would answer our prayers. My family went to a Lutheran Church every Sunday. I wasn’t into the Church thing, but I had no choice, I had to go. I went to Sunday school classes and Confirmation classes, so it wasn’t that I didn’t know about God, I just didn’t think I needed a relationship with Him. To me God was there as a convenience for us. When we needed Him, He would be there to help us and if we didn’t need Him we could figure things out on our own. What I did know is that I needed God now to answer my prayers and to heal my mom of her cancer.

When I made the decision to pray it was because God was supposed to answer our prayers, that’s what He does. I was fearless in my pursuit, I felt like there just wasn’t enough time in the day for all my prayers.

The next day as I walked to school with

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