Kathy Heckel was an ordinary woman living in Las Vegas, Nevada when she met Loyd Groves, the love of her life. When the two fell in love, however, Loyd revealed that he had been dead for several years and Kathy should move on with her life. Yet Kathy refused to give up on him and continued to visit him at his gravesite every day until the authorities forced her to stop. Read this strange but true story of Kathy Heckel and Loyd Groves to find out why they loved each other so much and how they learned to stay together forever.
Chapter 1: A Boy, His Dog, and an Unexpected Romance
Kathy Heckel was just an average girl, sitting in her kitchen with a cup of coffee. She was reading the morning newspaper when she saw a photo. It was a man with a dog. The man’s name was Loyd Groves and he owned one of the most reputable dog-training schools in town.
Kathy had always loved dogs, so she decided to call him up for some more information about his school. When they spoke on the phone, Kathy discovered that he had been looking for someone to help him out at his school because he wanted to spend more time doing what he loved: training dogs.
Loyd invited Kathy to come see his school before deciding anything, so she set up an appointment for the next day.
Chapter 2: Depression Leads to Mutilation
Kathy, now Kathy Heckel, had her first manic episode when she was just a teenager. The family doctor prescribed Lithium to manage Kathy’s mood swings, but the medication was not enough. Kathy would spend hours in front of the mirror picking at her skin until it bled. Her behavior became even more erratic as she began cutting herself with razor blades or knives, often leaving scars on her body.
Doctors recommended shock treatment, which only made things worse. Kathy’s weight plummeted from 130 pounds to just 80 pounds, and she started having hallucinations where a little girl told her people were going to kill her because they were jealous of how beautiful she was.
Chapter 3: An Unwanted Engagement
In 1986 Kathy Heckel began dating a man named Gordon. Kathy knew she had to break up with him because she wasn’t in love, so one day when he was out of town, she invited a bunch of friends over for a party. While they were listening to music downstairs, her dog got loose. It ran up the stairs, knocking over some dishes that Gordon’s mom had bought her for her birthday present.
A fight ensued about whether or not Kathy should keep the dishes even though they were damaged. Eventually Kathy threw them on the ground and yelled fuck it! She told Gordon to get out of her house before he tried anything else and then they walked around in silence while they decided what to do next.
Chapter 4: An Almost Happy Ending
Loyd had been released from prison, he was now free. He walked the streets at night, pondering what his next move would be. He didn’t have any money or a place to live, but he knew that he couldn’t stay in the town any longer. Police were looking for him day and night. The only person who could help him was Kathy’s father, who was still angry with him for taking away his daughter’s happiness.
But as Loyd walked by her house one night, he saw a light on upstairs in her bedroom window. It had been so long since he’d seen her face that just being able to look at it made him feel like things might be better again someday soon.
Chapter 5: Kathy’s Final Farewell
Kathy Heckel was waiting for the bus. The last bus. Her plan had been to take this one, after all the others had left, and go home to her apartment and think about what she should do next. Kathy had taken a break from her job as a lawyer in an office on the fortieth floor of an old building downtown. She’d gone home to Chicago to try something new, something that would make her happy again, she thought. But it wasn’t working out so well.
Chapter 6: The Immortal Life of Loyd Groves
In the final chapter of his story, we find Loyd and Kathy back in their hometowns. The year is now 1978. They live on opposite sides of the country, so they don’t see each other very often. But they keep in touch through phone calls, letters, and cards that they send back and forth to one another. In 1986, Loyd dies from leukemia. On his last night alive, he tells Kathy: If I go first, promise me you will write my story. And she says yes.
A year later, when Kathy was 27 years old, her father died. So did her mother a few years later, both without knowing what had happened between Kathy and Loyd. One day in 1989 after talking with an editor at Harper’s magazine about writing a novel about a love affair gone wrong, she decides to call up Loyd and tell him her idea for the book (which would become Suspense). She’s nervous because this is the first time she has seen him in person since 1975.