Posts Tagged ‘cheli’

Let’s just begin by saying I’ve been “in my head” almost this whole damn day. I knew it was coming….I thought I was prepared. But…it ended up being a double whammy.

Let me explain……

I’ve already made a social media post about it being National Bereaved Mother’s Day. How odd….really. We get our OWN Day. Not Mother’s Day – even though we ARE STILL MOTHERS! But a whole day. Before Mother’s Day. Like every.other.day of the year is any different. Like we don’t realize we are walking around without our child(ren) here with us. Or that we don’t realize Mother’s Day is coming ….. and again…it’s gonna hurt like hell.

NO – this is actually for a different reason.

Allow me to invite you into some parts of my brain. The crazy inside my head.

You see…today is the 59th birthday of someone who I once loved. Of someone……who is the reason I “celebrate” on days like today.

What an oxymoron. What a double edged sword. What a place where my two worlds collide. You see – as hard as Mother’s Day is for me….there are times….that Father’s Day is even worse. This…because….I chose who was to be their father. I chose the person who would take their young lives. And for this – I’ve owned way more than I should…at times.

But – it started with love. Love of a smile and personality. Young love. Some might say stupid, blind love. Some even say I should wish he were never born!! But how??? Because then…I would have never had my 3 boys! Cody, Cory and Caleb are here…because he was here first. I couldn’t imagine life without them…therefore…I also…cannot…imagine life without him. Without the love we had…at first.

I also own – my part in the deterioration of our marriage. Neither of us were perfect. Although – that is what most saw. The perception – because of the portrayal – was almost perfection. When we split – it was difficult. It was…unheard of. There were only a small number who knew my why. And I chose – to not share with the world. Believe it or not…..I wasn’t out there saying he was bad. We just didn’t fit…any more. Probably – we never did. But God was going to use us – even if – even if we weren’t meant to be together. Our lives were intertwined when I got pregnant with Cody at 16. From there….as I told my Sunday School girls so many times – God rewrote HIS plans…from plan A – to possibly ZZZ by then! He is good like that….and keeps on rewriting…and using my mess ups…for His good.

No – I am struggling today. I chose him. I chose the one. The one…who took them from me. I will own many things – but I will no longer own his final actions. Those – are on him. But I do struggle with the fact I chose him.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. So many times – now – I want all the answers laid out in front of me before I will leap. But, my friends, that is not how life…or God…work. My faith…has been tested….and strengthened….over and over again.

My choices – led to even more heart-wrenching realizations through the years. From hearing about a pastor I finally – once opened up to – saying “I guess Cheli wasn’t lying all this time after all.” While standing in my parent’s kitchen on THE DAY the boys died!!! To now – still hearing about some thinking how I “Use my boys story for the attention”. Guys – it hurts. It all hurts.

I hurt today for the love lost….the family lost. His family…was mine…..until it wasn’t. I still remember all the birthdates….the memories are still there. I know it will never be the same. But today – I acknowledging….it hurts. It has hurt for a very long time.

I’m not a perfect person. Nobody is. But I’m pretty real. I’ve withdrawn…over and over…just trying to protect my heart. I’ve withdrawn to protect my children, my husband, my family. But sometimes…I just want to be real. It hurts. It stinks. I’ve lost more than just my boys. I lost my house…my safe spaces. I lost friends…and I’ve lost (and grieved) a whole lifetime of memories with people I considered my family.

I sit here – thinking again just how fragile life is. I have a wonderful family…wonderful friends….wonderful life. But – there is sometimes a draw to sit…be real with myself…and know this life never would have existed…..had I not chosen him. Had I not experienced loss…profound loss. I would not be who I am today…without all of it. Every.single.puzzle.piece. Every bit of it is necessary to make me…..me.

and I’m learning to like me. I like the mom of adult children. I like the friend of real people….who accept me as my crazy, freaking-real and always back-and-forth self. I like the life I’ve created with my family. I like the way I live on purpose. I like….no…I love my life. ALL OF IT.

Has it been easy? No. Would I do it again? I’d have to. It’s the only way possible to get to the me I am today. It’s the only way possible to spend time on this earth with all five of my kiddos. It’s the only way to experience them here so I can look forward to eternity with them there.

So – some day – most always – you will see me – and never know some of this…underneath it all…thought process…going on in my head. But today – I wanted to share. I hope you aren’t scared off. I hope you’re not…thinking she should be committed (although there are days……;))

All of this to say. Be yourself. Inside and out. Be real with who you are. Struggles and all. I struggle because I chose him. I struggle because his birthday is hard. I struggle because I miss some of the good times. I struggle because it’s hard to explain. I struggle because I am afraid having these feelings will hurt others I love today. I struggle because I’m always afraid I will never be enough. I struggle because I want to help more than I can. I struggle because I own more than I should. I struggle because I take too much on. I struggle because I love big…but then sometimes I don’t love big enough. I struggle because I don’t like to get it wrong.


I also struggle because I’m so happy now…how can I be sad? I struggle now because I feel so loved and I sometimes don’t always know how to love the right way back. I struggle because life has been so good to me…yet I see others feel like it hasn’t been so good to them. I struggle now because my life seems easy to so many…am I hurting their faith by being too real?

See…depends on which side of the sword you fall. You choose. Remember that. Remember you choose where you land. I allow myself to see my struggles, my pain and my hardships….but I try…to always choose…to land in the land of love…abundance…and faith. God has carried my through so much. He has always had my back. He has stood in the room….with my boys….and carried them home with Him. He has watched me cry and always sent me some kind of sign of love…at JUST THE RIGHT TIME! He as shown my how by sharing…others have come to have hope…and to love Him. I’ve NEVER…been alone.

And…neither are you. Today is somebody’s birthday I once loved. today is a day for Mother’s who’s children no longer are here with them. Today is a day for feelings to be real. Today. Is just another day. and…tomorrow will still come. Which “head-space” will you be in when you wake up? Who will you choose to be today? Tomorrow? I choose to be the one who still loves….who still is real…and feels…ALL THE THINGS!

If you’ve made it this far…thank you. I’m not sure if any of this makes sense….or if I’ve just rambled. Just know…you are loved…and you aren’t alone.

Much love – today and always – ~C

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It’s not that I consider myself an expert in grief or joy- but since I’ve just survived (not celebrated) the 25th anniversary of the deaths of my three sons, I feel I have seen more than most how this plays out in my own life.

Grief and joy seem to be polar opposites. There are a lot of people who think that one cannot experience joy while experiencing grief….and also not experience grief while experiencing joy. I beg to differ.

In my life…I’ve experienced the deepest of grief in losing my three sons at the same time at the hand of their father – and then…only nine short months later….lost my mother. You could say, and I’d tend to agree, it was the worst year of my life.

But was it? Was it the worst YEAR of my life? By stating this – it would infer that my entire year were wrought with the immense grief and difficulties these two events brought about. But, that is not entirely true. Because during this same year, I got engaged, met my first nephew, spent time with family and friends…..and during those times…I was able to feel immense JOY…..but it was still in the “time” of my grief.

So….which is it? Was it the worst or the best? Well….it was both! And…sometimes the two collided!

I explain it like this. On the day I got engaged and the time afterwards….I felt such joy and happiness and wanted to share with everyone…including my children that were no longer here. I call that “where my two worlds collide”. It’s where what is happening in the now and what I want to happen…can’t…because they are no longer here. It is feeling the sadness and grief for what should have been but no longer can be….colliding with what is happening in this moment…and the joy it brings me…in the present.

I also call it a double-edged sword. And, I feel so many decisions and things in life are like this. I feel I could have missed out on the possibility of grief and joy co-existing in this moment. If I had chosen grief, I would have allowed myself to only feel the angst of missing my kids…the anger of them not being with me to celebrate this moment…the sadness of realizing life without them….and most…would probably say it was a validated feeling. And I don’t argue that…BUT…I would argue to say if I had chosen this side of the sword…I would have missed out on the joy of the moment….the love I was feeling….the possibility of life moving forward….of feeling a purpose for continuing on…for so much.

So…I chose joy. That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel the grief….not at all. What it meant though….is as I allowed the pendulum to swing back and forth….MY CHOICE….was to have it land on joy. I didn’t allow myself to get bogged down in the “what should have been”…..but I DID allow myself to feel it. Instead, I chose to feel it….and then KEEP MOVING FORWARD into the joyful feelings.

It seems hard and unlikely we are capable of making these choices. But to that I completely disagree. If you know me, have been around me for long or have heard me speak – you KNOW I believe in the power God gave us.

“We don’t always get to choose what happens to us…but we always have the power to choose how we react!” ~me

This is what I call the power within. I don’t tell people to not feel what they are feeling or going through…but I do tell them they have the power to choose what they wish to do about it. How they choose will determine so much. I truly believe in feeling your feelings in a way of working through it. Feel it – grieve – be frustrated – be angry – just don’t stay there. Unless you want to…and truly…who wants to stay there? It is hard and miserable.

The night my boys died I cried out “WHY NOT ME?” I wondered why it was not me instead of them. But then I chose to calm down and promised them I’d live the rest of my life trying to figure out what my purpose is. There must be a reason I am left here without them…and I promised to spend the rest of my life trying to figure it out. Because as long as I’m pursuing it…I’m living. I’m still breathing…they aren’t. Does that hurt? ABSOLUTELY it does. But it was my new reality.

My reality was to either choose to wallow in the grief…or to learn to find joy…and allow them to coexist. I chose the latter. And it is truly a choice. To keep moving. Sometimes I choose and then fall into the opposite of my choices…and so I have to choose again. I didn’t say it was easy….all I’m saying is it is possible.

The crazy thing is – in the past 25 years I’ve met more parents who have lost a child/children than I ever thought possible. I’ve realized the island I felt like I was on – is actually a continent because it is so large…. with citizens who never intended to travel there and now have a citizenship they never wanted to have.

But while on this continent, I’ve watched it’s citizens. I’ve seen the ones who have chosen grief over joy – and it makes me sad. They allow the pendulum to swing – but you can tell the choice is grief – because that is where they tend to land. I’ve also watched citizens choose joy. They allow their grief and joy to not just coexist – but they sprinkle each in healthy doses as they share with others to show them this island is not our only place of residence. The island of loss is just one of our dual-citizenships. It isn’t what defines us – but it is something we will not deny as being a part of us.

I’ve also seen some who think they’ve chosen joy over grief. They act as if the loss didn’t happen. If I don’t talk about it or acknowledge it – I can move forward and find joy. I’m afraid, however, the body knows. The unhealthy art of stuffing our feelings, not being real enough to allow our hearts to feel the tough stuff….isn’t truly joy. It isn’t really moving forward. It’s more like running away from something instead of moving towards something. This, too, makes me sad for others. As much as they think they are choosing joy….they are sometimes working so hard to NOT allow grief in…they are missing out on true joy.

All of this to say – I believe you have to allow both grief and joy to coexist in your life. But…I also believe you must make a choice on which one you will land on….which one you will lean into when the other gets too heavy….when the angst of grief is pulling you down and into a place that seems unhealthy and you can’t or don’t want to go on…that is when your choice of joy must happen. You MUST start to retrain your brain to go back towards the blessings….the now…the possibilities of life from this moment on.

Each day – we are one day closer to our loved ones. Each day – we have the ability to make progress. For me….it looked like purposes. Find yourself a purpose. It might only be for the next few moments, the next few hours, a day or so, or months…but you MUST find a purpose for why you are here.

My initial purpose – was to plan a celebration of my boys that was more about how they lived instead of how they died. It had to be safe enough for all the school-aged children to feel safe to be there and to feel what they needed to feel. Then, it was going to their school…so those kids could see that I was “okay”. Because I felt like if they could see that it was okay for me to keep going…they’d know it was okay for them to keep going as well. Then, it was to help take care of my terminally ill mother. To care for her, repair our broken relationship, to create memories I would need to carry me in my new grief when I lost her too. It was to take the burden from my father when mom was ready to talk about her final/funeral wishes “because unfortunately I knew what would be needed”. It was to put her mind at ease knowing her wishes would be taken care of and her love would be poured out. Then, it was helping to take care of my family in new loss. But – there was also joyful purposes. It was planning my wedding and my sister’s wedding. It was talking about creating a new life. My purposes kept changing – but I was always finding them.

Was it hard. You bet it was. In the midst of it all, I was also allowing myself the times needed to talk through my grief, my losses, my feelings about each event. I was being real with myself and those closest to me….so that I could work through it instead of sitting in the middle of it.

I didn’t do all of it right. I promise you that. But…I’ve made it 25 years. I’ve experienced a lot. I try to share now…not because I did it perfectly. But I did make it here – and learned a lot along the way. I share to help those who are new to the grief part. I share because I want to see them able to make the choice of joy and grief coexisting.

I also want to make my boys, and my mom proud. I want to make my children still on this earth proud. I want to help others, and believe that now, that is my purpose.

Much love ~c

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A couple weeks ago I was blessed and able to snag tickets to the Carrie Underwood concert here so I could add another mother/daughter concert to our list! We went and had a blast! She is quite a performer and puts on an excellent show!

My sweet girl has a beautiful voice – but also has a large dose of stage fright – but totally enjoys the musicality of other gifted artists. And….this momma LOVES watching her watch others do what she loves to do! I love this part of our relationship and the age she is at! We get along….we have fun….we laugh…..

But on this night – we also cried.

For that – I was totally unprepared. You see…..I did not see this one coming. I did not see the need to “brace up” and “be ready” for the emotions to pour down our faces in the form of tears.

But that is exactly what happened.

As we were marveling in the many dress changes and the special effects and wonderful entertainment of the night – Carrie started to sing a song I, quite honestly, had never heard before.

The Bullet.

This song is very much about the loss of a soldier. And I respect that part of it. But some of the lyrics – brought me – and her – very much to our own story.

You see – the part about the limousines driving away – and mommas ain’t supposed to bury their sons – all hit me. And they hit me really hard….

But then…..

Then it happened…..

I looked over and she was crying….sobbing actually. The tears were real and they wouldn’t stop.

You see…..this is just another moment I realized – The Bullet – doesn’t stop.

She wasn’t there to see the limousines. She wasn’t there to see this momma bury her sons. She wasn’t there.

In the song there is a line that says – “The bullet keeps on goin'”. And it has.

It has affected her life since before she took her first breath.

She has never known her three brothers – but she has known about them. She never got to meet them – but she has experienced who they were through stories and pictures. She wasn’t here to experience how the bullets took their lives – but she is here and those same bullets are still goin’……..and affecting her life. She wasn’t here to witness their deaths….but she has grieved them her entire life.

Until she takes her last breath the bullets that took the lives of her brothers will affect her – and her children…….and their children.

The bullets keep on goin’

I wasn’t prepared for this during a fun night out with my daughter. I wasn’t prepared for the reminder of how the bullets tore apart my family and are still tearing us up inside. I wasn’t thinking on this occasion I would need to hold her and reassure her of how we can have the holes from those bullets having pierced our hearts – yet know we can still live and love – and be as whole as possible even though the bullets still sting.

I don’t know what I want to share in this blog. I really don’t. I just know it will never stop.

There will always be someone’s life affected by the bullets who took their lives.

Some of those people are affected in good ways. Some people learn about my boys and the way they died – but also hear of the love they had for Jesus and how that same Jesus carried me through – and they have found hope.

Some who knew the boys – are continuing to live….and I mean…REALLY LIVE their life….because they know their friends can’t.

Some though – like my daughter – their sister – have lingering affects. They have moments when everything should be fine – and it isn’t. Like at a concert – when you should be having the time of your life – and then BAM! You are sobbing because of something – someone – you miss so terribly – but never knew.

But I can also say their story has also strengthened her. She knows what it is to hurt – to lose someone you love…to lose someone you never knew you loved….to lose someone you wish you had known. She knows what it is to comfort – because of all the times she has been comforted. She knows that what you see – isn’t always the whole story in someone’s life.

You see – the bullet never stops goin.

Just like the ripples in the water. Your actions – might not seem too big….but they can keep going….and they can affect people you don’t even know – or realize.

Be cautious sweet friends. Because the bullets don’t stop. They carry on through generations – never stopping – and affecting many more than initially intended.

I want to share the words – because the true meaning for this song – of soldiers never returning home – is beautiful. I don’t want to take anything away from this part of it. But please know – because of our wounds – we reacted in the hurt of our own story – and the way the bullet stole them from us.

The branches on my family tree are forever changed.

BUT – although the bullet keeps on goin’ ……. so does the Love and Grace of Jesus. He has carried me – and will carry the future generations as well.

Much love – ~c

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Well…here we are. 20 years since my boys were taken away from me. 20 years past the day I didn’t honestly think I could live through. 20 years have passed and 20 years of life has been lived! …..and yet…I can still see so many things so vividly in my mind….as if it were just yesterday.

In preparing for this anniversary….God placed it on my heart to do something different. You see…I’m VERY private on these days. VERY! I take off work, I stay home…I don’t make phone calls…and I don’t take all the phone calls I receive. I allow my self to “go there”. I give myself permission to go back, to remember….to hurt and cry…and fall apart. I do fall apart…usually pretty hard. I usually wait until my husband and kiddos are gone…and I release it all. I cry out to God….I cry and allow myself to feel the ache…to feel the emptiness. I allow my mind to go to the places I try to keep it from on a daily basis. These are usually the days I reserve for me.

But this time…this time God reminded me of some very true realities.

This…didn’t just happen to me. They weren’t “mine” only. There were other family members, friends, neighbors, schoolmates, teammates, teachers, coaches…..just a lot of other people who also experienced the loss of my wonderful boys. And…there are people that have never met them….didn’t know them while they were here with us on this earth. These people didn’t know them…but they know us…and so they know their story. And..they love us!  And…this being such a momentous anniversary…I needed to do something…something to include everyone.

So, I took it to my kids and hubs to see what we should do. This was at the beginning of February…we talked about it…but then life happened and we got busy…and the next thing we knew…we were about a week away and still hadn’t planned anything. In talking to each of my family…..it seems we all had the same idea. We should do a balloon release to celebrate their lives! We agreed to release blue & silver balloons, the color of their school. Then, where to have it? We talked about the school….or the ball fields where their trees are planted…but ended up deciding on the cemetery. It was decided.

I then created a graphic for each of us to share. I remember my daughter asking if I thought there would be a lot of people there. I said…”maybe”. And by “a lot”…I was thinking 30-40!

Little did I know…this would get bigger than I ever imagined. I wanted to just get together…play some music and release balloons. And that is what we did…but it truly…turned into an event. Not an event I had envisioned…but in looking back…it is exactly the kind of event my heart needed!!!!

In listening to God and opening myself up to others on this day….He did a work and a healing on my heart through others!!! I’m so thankful for His provision!

We had news coverage, 2 professional photographers, friends helping plan, donated balloons…..and friends and family….there to support us.

It was overwhelming…the love I felt.

I told everyone…that 20 years ago…on that awful, dark grey day…I had crawled into the lap of God and let Him hold me. But on this day…..it was their texts, calls, facebook posts, faces and sweet messages that I felt…and it felt just like the arms of God were wrapped around me again! It was them….who gave me my strength. And it wasn’t a dark, grey day at all…. There was a beautiful blue sky, with wispy, angel-winged clouds….that evolved into one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

We had close to 150 people gathered to remember…to celebrate the lives of my sweet angels! It was overwhelming to see so many people from so many different facets of my life represented there with me! Seeing the love…and you could truly see love….was more than my heart could have imagined. The hugs I received….were just like the hugs I received 20 years ago today.

20 years ago today was the funeral. I remember it being dark and cold and grey…again. But I also remember staying there….and hugging every single person …..long after the graveside service was over. I remember the hugs…the love…and the way it made me feel supported and that I was not alone. That…is exactly what happened, again….at the balloon release. The hugs…the love….the smiles…the stories…the tears…the presence….of those who loved the boys…of those who love me…and my family…were like raindrops in the desert! They were the salve my wounded heart needed on this anniversary date.

I’m hoping these links work….because if you are reading this…no matter where you are in the world….you are now a part of my story….of their story and I want to share this day with you. I thank you for the time you’ve taken to read my blog…to allow me and my part of His story…to reach into your life. This is a video…of the day I had…of remembering…of loving…and of being loved. These are just some of the small reminders…that God shows up!!! He showed up 20 years ago….and He has continued to show up…through the hands and feet of the people who love HIM!

Click here to watch the coverage from News 9. A big shout-out and thanks to Steve Shaw for being so kind and respectful of my family while covering the event.

And this video is a small representation of the day we had…taken by my sweet friend Mary from ToMorrow’s Memories Photography! Please take a few moments…to watch…to see God…and to thank God…for life…for love…and for each other.

So…if you can still see this…through the tears…I know you are really wonderful and I thank Him for you! I ask that you share…so that others can see the goodness in life after death……in hope after tragedy….in love over hate!! I am asking God to do big things…in and through this day of remembrance! He….has done such a good work through this tragedy…and I know…He is just starting to “show up and show off!”. I’m just praying….I’m strong enough…and up for the ride He has in store!!

There is so much more to share…but for now…this is enough. Until then……………

Much love and thanks! ~c



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Here I am again…It seems these are the times I blog. The words on the page…are just therapy for my hurting heart. I haven’t wanted to blog much lately. I just told a friend yesterday I just want “to be”. To be present in my now…to not feel any pressure to be so uplifting in my own grief…to be able to not wonder how or what I’m going to write. 

But here I am…I turn to this to release my emotions…to be real…to remember…to feel. The keyboard is a safe place for me to pound out my raw feelings…to be honest with myself about where I am….where I am not…where I want to be…and where I can’t be…all at the same time. 

I’ve tried to not dwell on what today means. I’ve even been intentional on trying to NOT think about …..the fact my second child, my sweet Cory….should be having a glorious 30th birthday celebration today…. Maybe I would be in cahoots with his wife to throw him a surprise party! Maybe I would be flying somewhere to surprise him….. Maybe….maybe…..maybe…..

But I’m not….doing any of it. So part of me just wants to not.do.anything.

But my soul isn’t like that. As I sit on my back patio…with coffee and iPad….I just can’t do it! I can’t act like today isn’t a special day! I can’t act like today doesn’t hurt. My iHeart radio is playing in the background. I’m worshiping….and crying…and hurting….and smiling at the funny memories….and OH.SO.THANKFUL I got to be the mommy to such a sweet….wonderful….loving…outgoing…singing-all-the-time…laughing…did I mention loving?….hungry ALWAYS….smart….funny….just an all around GREAT kid!! 

So….I am sitting here…tears are blurring my vision…I’m physically shaking…  I sent a text to work today…told them to put me down for a “sick day”. The reply….”I’m sorry you’re not feeling well. I hope you get better soon.” Well….how do I say….I’ll be fine tomorrow? Maybe not really …. Fine…..but I’ll be better. How do I know this? Because it won’t be Sept. 2nd any more! Because the only real part of me that is sick….is my heart. My heart hurts. For those of you that have never experienced grief….it can manifest as a physical pain. It is indescribable…so I won’t try. Just know…it hurts…it aches…it is all the way to your core…and sometimes..you just can’t shake it. 

30….10 here with me….and almost 20 in heaven. 

How I long for the day I am there with you and can hold you again. My arms ache for your hugs….my eyes long to see your smiling face…my ears yearn to hear your beautiful voice singing praises….. I just want to be with you again.

Sweet Cory….today I celebrate you. I would never give up the pain I feel today….because it means I once had you here with me. I only hurt because I loved you so deeply. I am so proud to be your mom. But it wasn’t supposed to be like this. I never thought I would be the one left here to carry on your legacy! But…really…who am I kidding? When you were here….I don’t think I even knew what “leaving a legacy” truly meant. Just something else you have taught me since you’ve been gone. You see…I met Jesus shortly after you were born…You and your brothers…taught me about “childlike” faith. But truly…it’s since you’ve been gone I have learned about faith…what truly relying on God looks like…and allowing Him to carry my burden…so I don’t cave from the weight of it. You would never want me to give up….which is one of the biggest reasons I haven’t. You showed me how to love….to laugh…and to enjoy life. I know you wouldn’t want me to stop doing those things …just because you aren’t here with me. I feel you….I can’t touch you ..physically…but you are here with me….

Like this past week when I was talking to your sister. She has a beautiful voice…just like you! But…she doesn’t share it with others like you! So we were talking about it…and she told me she thinks she is most like you. I cna’t tell you how this made my heart burst…with joy and pain…all at the same time. Joy…because she never even knew you…yet she KNOWS…she is like you! Pain….because she never even knew you…yet she KNOWS…she is like you! I told her if she is like you….YOU weren’t afraid to be on a stage!! She told me…”see mom….that’s why he needs to be here! I need my brother to encourage me!”.   I told her you were here….encouraging her daily. She felt it. She knew it. It was a precious moment. All because of you.

And…your brother…Bryce. He loves you so much. He is smart..just like you.  Things come easily to him. Smart! And driven. And the appetite…yup. He is ALWAYS HUNGRY…and every time he opens the refrigerator…it makes me think of you! Your endless quest for “just a slice of cheese”….or anything else you could get your hands on. He is also fiercely protective of me…just like you. He organized the #remembercory and asked everyone to wear red today…for you…and for me.

You’re still here. In so many ways….and I love that. Your legacy is far reaching…farther than even I can imagine. Your short ten years on earth are still being measured in love and encouragement and souls you’ve reached for Jesus! Your heart….beats with every beat of mine…..  Your voice….is heard every time your sister sings in worship and any song she sings…. Your smile and silly face…are seen every time your brother smiles and plays around with me.  You will always be with me. 

But….my mommy’s arms are aching….to hold you again. I can’t believe I’ve lived almost 20 years without you here with me. I can’t imagine you who you would be today….and trying only hurts my heart even more. It isn’t an option any more. I didn’t know you as a teen…or a man in your twenties…and I’ll never know you as a 30 year old. So…instead of allowing those thoughts to permeate my soul and continue to break my heart…instead…I will CHOOSE….to celebrate that you were born! I’ll celebrate the wonderful, silly child you were! I’ll celebrate the time we had! I’ll choose to #remembercory the way you would want me to…… I’ll listen to worship songs all day…especially Point of Grace….I’ll smile…I’ll even laugh…I’ll eat and then eat some more…and I’ll love those around me and enjoy the family I have. I will do all of this…because it is what you did. It is who you were…. It is what you’d want me to do.

and I want nothing more…than you to hug me….smile…and tell me how proud of me you are….for how I carried on without you…. For how I continued your legacy… I’m proud you are my son. That will never change…no distance or time can change that. 

Cory…I don’t want to stop typing….there is so much to say. But just because I close this blog…the letter to you…doesn’t mean I won’t be thinking of you all day…that is nothing new. I think of you every day. But today…I CELEBRATE you!

All my love sweet boy…can’t wait to be with you again!!! ~momma

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Over the past couple of weeks I’ve posted a couple pictures that have had some very heavy meaning in my life. I’ve posted a lot of pics on social media…. but these 2 are ones that truly have a lot of “back story” to them.

The first one I posted was on April 19th and it was this one…..

If you aren’t familiar with what this is…..it is “The Survivor Tree” in Oklahoma City. April 19th was the 21st anniversary of the day when 168 people were murdered in a terrorist attack in Oklahoma City. This day is one I remember vividly…as do most from our area…. You remember where you were..what you were doing…at the exact moment of the blast……I also remember the days after. The news coverage…the talks with friends…watching and hoping for a survivor to be found.  This is very similar to the way I remember the days leading up to and after my own tragedy. But the Oklahoma City bombing impacted a whole city, state, country…and more. The families torn apart, the lives lost…the lives forever changed. That day….was horrific. 

On this particular anniversary, so many were posting pics and comments…”We will never forget”…was the resounding cry of so many people. It is a comfort to families and friends of those who didn’t make it and those who were a part of this tragedy to hear that people won’t forget. Won’t forget what they went through…won’t forget their loved ones…or the lives they lived.

When I posted this photo…it was with no words attached….just the pic. I know, I know…so NOT like me! But I didn’t have words. Not at that moment… Not yet.  There were so many photos that represented that day…but this is the one photo that resonated with me…..   

Why? Because to me..this picture doesn’t just represent that day….It’s also about what has happened since that day! It’s about survival!!

This resonates with me. This tree wasn’t anything anyone paid attention to before. It grew in the concrete jungle of the parking area and wasn’t really even tended to. But then….even with glass and shredded pieces of the Murrah building embedded into it’s bark…..this tree….kept growing. Not only did it keep growing…but it became a symbol of hope…of survival…because it “made it” through this even and has gone on to grow into a beautiful tree.

This is what I believe to be part of my message. It isn’t always about what happened the day…the moment…tragedy strikes. It’s about the moments and the choices we have to make after the tragedy!!! There are tiny moments and small choices….that can seem so insignificant in themselves….but when you put them all together…it adds up to parts of your story…your survival.. It’s about how this tree…continued to grow…continued to bloom…continued to survive. It didn’t wilt away in the difficult situation it had been through. It continued to seek the sunlight, the soil…and the water it needed to grow. It didn’t give up. It 

I truly believe…it’s not about me…it’s not about the tree……It’s about the way God uses each of us…to reach others…to show hope through our stories. Sometimes…it’s about others hearing that I can still get up and have have a life…not just a regular one….but a wonderful, joy-filled life! AFTER a tragedy! Just as this tree shows there is still MORE……room for growth….a place for beauty….a way to thrive….even after what may seem like the most horrific thing in the world has happened to you….. Sometimes…I’ve come to realize…just getting out of bed…getting remarried…having more children….still praising the God who allowed the tragedy to happen….is enough to give others hope that there is a way for them to get to the other side of whatever difficult situation they are facing!

If you are still here…..if you are still breathing….THERE.IS.MORE!!! And even better…it can be OH.SO.GLORIOUS! 

BUT….you must CHOOSE to see it as such! You must CHOOSE to look for the silver linings…. YOU must CHOOSE…to continue to live. 

Is it easy?? 

Well…maybe this next picture I posted will answer that…

I’m just keeping it real. 

Yes…I’m strong….I see that now…even though I haven’t always felt it. Yes…I know I’m a survivor….even when I haven’t always seen myself as one! Yes…..my life is awesome in SO MANY AMAZING ways…..but it doesn’t mean it isn’t still hard.

Yes….I am thankful to be here…to be where I am in life…with my faith, my family…and all that is happening around me. 

BUT….I grow tired…and weary…and even worn sometimes. Sometimes I just don’t want to any more. Don’t want to “what”? You might ask…..    Anything. Sometimes I just am tired of making the choices I need to…..in order to continue to survive.

So….What do you do when those times hit? 

Well… Here are my “go-tos”. (Not in any specific order!)

1.) You allow yourself to be tired. There. I said it. Give in and feel what you are feeling. Go ahead and realize you need a break. You can be tired….be sad…be mad at the situation…….whatever it is you are feeling…FEEL IT!


2.) You HAVE to remember….IT’S OKAY TO BE DOWN….BUT IT ISN’T OKAY TO STAY THERE! Ask anyone who I talk to and they will probably tell you…I say this… A LOT! Because it’s true. You have to allow yourself time to feel what you feel. But you can’t “unpack and stay there” as I’ve seen some posters talk about! You must find a way to get past those feelings and start looking for good…for hope…and feeling other feelings too…not just the ones that have got you down!

3.) Call someone in your “safe”circle of friends. Be real with someone and let them know you’re struggling with being strong. Let them know you are weary and need some help. This is hard to do…especially if you are a giver. Don’t let the fact that others view you as strong….let you feel like you can’t be down or have a time when you are the one who needs lifting up!!!   It’s okay…it’s even biblical! “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

4.) PRAY! Remember….God is with you…He has never left you! He doesn’t expect you to be strong all the time. He has told you to allow HIM to carry your burdens! “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalm 68:19. I emphasized the DAILY…part. Let that sink in…He is there for you daily!!! 

5.) Remember….if you try to do it all in your own strength….you will always feel weary. It isn’t something we were meant to do. We cannot be strong, all on our own….for the rest of our lives. We were created to rely on the strength the Lord gives us. And He does….give it to us. I know…because in all the times I’ve felt strong…yet tired…HE has lifted me out of it! He has carried me in the times when I could no longer carry the weight of my life….    “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31.

So….use the POWER He gives you. Make the choices to go on….but know…that it’s okay to take a break…to ask for help….to take the “super cape” off for a while. Allow others to minister to your soul. Refill the cup of your spirit until there is once more…an overflow and abundance to give to others! That is where I am. I am allowing others to fill my cup again…. That is what has taken me this long…to be able to put the words….with the pictures.

Love you friends…and I pray you release your burdens to Him who loves you so….and know I will pray for you as well…that He will guide the perfect one to you…to help you refill your cup…so we can both give out of overflow and abundance again! 


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To say today is tough..well..it would be a gross understatement. 

I could never have imagined being here. I could never have imagined living 19 years of my life without 3 of my children! But God knew…..

Remember when I posted about my 28 day journey?..well..today isn’t even day 28…that would be the day of the funeral. I really thought I’d be blogging and walking down a path of remembering…but God knew different. 

In the past 3 weeks my life hasn’t been anything I thought it would. But why does that surprise me? My grandmother unexpectedly went into the ER…and they were actually going to release her…but then her primary doc said to keep her for observation. Six days later…she left this earthly life and went to be with all her loved ones who had left before her! She was ready. But we weren’t. 

Then we were also moving..but it hasn’t gone smoothly…not like I thought. It’s a blessing…this new home…for my family. And I feel a lot of wonderful “new beginnings” here in this place… But quite frankly..it’s hard to start in another place…when so many in my family will never see or be a part of it.

If I think about it…the last 19 years hasn’t been anything I thought it would. I thought I’d get to watch 3 wonderful boys grow up…experience their teens…grow into wonderful men…have families…so much. But I didn’t get what I thought would happen…but once again…I’m reminded.. God knew.

As I awoke this morning my phone was already buzzing and beeping with sweet messages of encouragement and remembrances. Friendships I’m thankful for that help to carry me through. But my morning time with God looked a little different this morning. I usually wake up and thank Him and praise Him for new days…new blessings. But this morning…today…as I acknowledged the newness of today…it also meant I had to thank Him for what today was…what it represented in my life… And to be brutally honest.. I HATE that! To acknewledge His goodness today…means it is good that it is the anniversary of my son’s deaths! It has taken me a long time to be able to do just that…

In my hurt and my emotions I want to cry out…

It’s been 19 years since my sons were murdered! It’s been 19 years since they took their last breath on this earth! It’s been 19 years since I’ve heard their sweet voices and laughter! It’s been 19 years since I’ve been able to put my arms around them and hold them…or hug their necks! I was robbed of their life…of getting to see them grow…that is what happened 19 years ago!!

but what God gently reminds me…is this…

It’s also been 19 years since Jesus walked with them…hand in hand..introducing them into the Kingdom of God. It’s been 19 years since their pain stopped…no more tears…no more pain! 

It’s been 19 years since they began true and total worship..among angels and saints..of the one true God! It’s been 19 years since God started carrying me…in my grief and pain..into His path.

For me…it’s been 19 years! Some of it…has been brutal torture on this momma’s heart. 

For them…it’s been less than a blink of an eye in their eternity of glory! 

For my momma’s heart…God has been good. He has blessed me with two more beautiful children. Each of them has placed their trust in Him..so I KNOW our eternities will last forever…together! My heart has hurt…and aches…for there are places in my heart nobody can touch…not even my two kids now.  3 hold..for 3 boys…It is a place my heart holds for them and only them. 

On days like today…I let myself go to those places in my heart that are only theirs. 3 holes…from 3 boys. I let myself remember, feel the happy and sad…the pain and the tears…the hurt and the anguish. But during these days…God always replaces it with truth…..and that truth is that He truly does have a plan for me. Jer. 29:11. And that HE truly does use everything for good. Rom. 8:28. 

He reminds me of my favorite verse… Hab. 1:5. For if He had told me….19 years ago and a day…what was getting ready to happen…what He would ask me to walk through…what HE would carry me through…and that 19 years later I would praise Him…and give thanks for this day…I would have NEVER believed it! 

But what I’ve come to learn and trust is ……. He knows…

Music has ministered to my heart in so many ways…this is by Jeremy Camp.

“He Knows”

All the bitter weary ways

Endless striving day by day

You barely have the strength to pray

In the valley low

And how hard your fight has been

How deep the pain within

Wounds that no one else has seen

Hurts too much to show

All the doubt you’re standing in between

And all the weight that brings you to your knees

He knows

He knows

Every hurt and every sting

He has walked the suffering

He knows

He knows

Let your burdens come undone

Lift your eyes up to the one

Who knows

He knows

He knows

We may faint and we may sink

Feel the pain and near the brink

But the dark begins to shrink

When you find the one who knows

The chains of doubt that held you in between

one by one are starting to break free.

Every time you feel forsaken

Every time that you feel alone

He is near to the brokenhearted

Every tear

He knows

He knows

Thank you for walking this journey with me..with my family. To watch my children now..how they love..how they remember…I know I am blessed! I hurt…but I will be okay. My heart aches…but those places will continue to heal. I know…beyond a shadow of a doubt..that I will see my children again..spend my eternity with them and all my loved ones…and for that…today…I am thankful!

Much love! ~c

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I can’t put into words the emotions going through my heart right now. God has literally broken me…in so many ways recently. I am watching as the world around me is hurting…people close to me are hurting…and I feel so helpless. All I can do is pray. 

I know….there is hope in every situation. I know..there is hope…in a God who loves us and works ALL things for good according to HIS purpose! But…I also know….that when you are walking through the big, fat mess of life…sometimes…you just don’t want to hear it will all be okay. You just want someone to let you hurt…for a season…. but I know…that seasons change. 

Today….would be my sweet son Cory’s 29th birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY CORY MATTHEW!!!  I love you more than I can ever express with simple words! I miss that sweet face of yours….those cheeks…that honery grin…..that smile.. It has been so long….so long since I’ve been able to hug you….or hear your sweet voice. I long to watch you sing….and act silly….and feel your feet slide across the bed to be sure I’m still next to you!! I remember holding you….as a baby…and even as a 4th grader! You were never too big for my lap! You were a sparkplug…giving others your energy and sweet spirit. You loved deeply….you were a great friend to others….and you were always smiling!! I miss you…and can’t imagine you at this age. I celebrate you today! I celebrate the life you lived! The ten years on this earth…that gave me so much joy! I thank you for those memories! So grateful to have them….so I can go to those places in my heart…that only you and I shared…until I meet you again! I can’t wait to see you singing in the choir of angels….praising God with your voice…..and be with you for all eternity! That is where I place my hope….and I’m so thankful for our shared eternity!

Three weeks from today…Bryce will be 16!! Yes….16!! As I was sharing with my sister earlier…..even though his brothers would be much older…this is my first experience with it. Seems so much younger…but since it’s my first time…well…it’s just weird! She told me that was a great word for it! Yup…..weird! Like I say…where my two worlds collide!

In the past week…I’ve been to two funerals. 

The first….someone who was only 30 years young! He was in a single car accident…killed instantly. Took his son to his first day of kindergarten that very morning…but never came home! He was so loved…it was evident. But my heart breaks for this sweet little boy….and all the family. Please lift them in prayer…

The second, was just two days ago. It was for a sweet young lady…who was eleven. I won’t say she was “only” eleven…because she was diagnosed with a genetic disorder at one…and told she wouldn’t likely make it to her second birthday! Well…she miraculously surpassed everyone’s expectations! Her story is now the one others are pointed to for hope…when diagnosed! God used this sweet girl and family…to minister to others in so many ways! I was impacted by the ministry of her life. And, I’m impacted by the faith of her sweet mom…in more ways than I can express. Please pray for this family as they maneuver through the grief and loss of this sweet girl….yet rejoice in her complete healing and the knowledge of her eternity!!

You see….just last night…as my daughter was drying her hair and getting ready for bed…I received a text. It was her…asking me to come back to my bathroom where she was. I went back there…and found her in a heap of tears. She was sitting on the bath mat and just looked up at me with her big, tear-soaked eyes. I just fell to the floor and took her in my arms! The sobs began again….she stopped for only a moment..and asked me, “Why did they have to go so soon?”.  I held her tightly….because by then…I was sobbing too. I didn’t have an answer. At least, not an answer she was ready for or wanted to hear. You see, in the past 18 years, God has taught me that there is hope…and there are things that happen outside of what we want or understand….but that He will work them for good….and according to HIS purpose! But…we must look for the good! We don’t always see it…not at first. And I’m not saying it is good….what happened to my boys…or the hard things in all our lives. What I am saying…is you have to find the silver linings. The ways God is using your situation. 

After sis and I sat there holding each other and crying for what seemed like forever…we looked at each other. Both of our faces were tear-stained and our eyes were still filled with tears.  I told her I was sorry…I didn’t have the answer to her specific question. She told me….it would be easier if I did! Wow!! I hugged her again. I assured her there were reasons. But we might not ever know or see them…..but through it all…He is strengthening our faith…our trust in Him! She nodded and then cried a little more.

She asked me if she looked like Cory…… My heart skipped a beat. She said someone had told her once he was the one she looked most like. I looked deeply at her features….at her eyes…her chin…her cheekbones…and just smiled. They all look so much alike to me…yet so much like themselves. I can’t compare. Never have been able to. She reminds me of him. She sings….and I think of the times he sang. I think of the performances he had…and the ones she has to come. I think of her sweet nature and caring heart…and I’m reminded of his prayers and heart for others. She smiles….and loves people…and I’m reminded of the way he loved others and included everyone! She is secure in who she is….and I’m reminded of the security he had in Christ…and his faith….so much like hers.

So yes….she looks like him….but mostly…on the inside! Where it counts! 

She knows our eternities will be together…and sometimes it scares me….how badly she wants to be in heaven with them! But for now….I’ll just smile….with a tear creeping down my cheek…as I remember….and look forward…to the assurance I have that I will spend my eternity in heaven with ALL of my children!!!!!!

Such is my life! It is a collision of what would have been and what is….. It is a collision of who I was…and who HE is molding me to be!  

Friends, we all come to a place in life where we have to acknowledge there is a beginning and an ending date of life on this earth. There is a lot of joy…and a lot of pain that happens between……… My question to you…..is this…. Do you have the hope and assurance….that you know without a shadow of a doubt where, and with whom, your eternity will be spent? Don’t think it won’t happen…because it will. And nobody knows how long, or how short, our time on this earth will be. 

The hope I have…in knowing my family will be together again…makes this life so much more bearable!! 

If you aren’t sure….then I urge you to consider this….

We are born with a sin-nature…and for that reason we are separated from God. There is nothing we can do to change that! But, He loves us so much…..He sent His one and only son to die on the cross..taking on all our sins….even though he was without sin…. for us!!! He was resurrected and defeated sin! He wants nothing more…than for you to just accept Him….and his free gift of eternal life with Him! 

I encourage and pray for you…and look forward to eternitiy with all of you!!

Much love…and happy tears! ~c

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This past week my sweet baby girl was at church camp. She returned yesterday! I was fortunate in being able to pick her up from the church when she arrived back home! 

Of course, it seemed as if she had grown a FOOT! Even my husband thought so! And there were hugs goodbye to her friends…both new and old…and also to the great adult sponsors who were with her! 

IMMEDIATELY…in the car…she began gushing and talking and telling me how wonderful it was! But one of the most PRECIOUS moments I will ALWAYS remember…is before we were even out of the parking lot… I was driving..and she reached over and grabbed my hand…interlocked her fingers into mine…and looked at me and said, “Oh momma….I’ve missed you soooooooo much!”. WOW…my heart melted. OF COURSE…I had missed her too…but to hear she missed me and was glad to be back and wanted to just hold my hand….well…you can imagine how big my mommy-heart swelled at that moment!!! 

I listened to her tell me about all kinds of things…the games…the fun…the boys…the girls…all of it! I soaked every bit of it into my heart…these moments…this fresh attitude! This is the girl with a heart for God I know and love! (I soaked it in so that when her teenage hormones get to her…they hopefully won’t get the best of ME!) 

She just wanted to go home and sit on her own bed and use her own bathroom!!! Pretty reasonable requests…so I obliged. I took her to her grandparents before I headed back to work for the afternoon. She ran to each of them…and her cousin….and hugged each of their necks! She also slept almost the whole afternoon…so when I saw her again she was refreshed!!

A bit later in the evening…I got to enjoy time with just her in my car on a long ride. She started to open up about what God had done at the camp….in others and in her. My mommy-heart again swelled as I listened to how her heart had been open to him. About what going “ALL IN FOR GOD” meant to her. I listened to what her next steps would be…..and just smiled! Inside and out I was smiling. These are the precious moments I’ll always remember and be thankful for! 

Then….she asked if I had a pen. She grabbed the only one she could find and told me she wanted to get a tattoo!!! And she was drawing on her hand what it would be….. I looked over…and all she had drawn was a triangle. No words. Just a simple triangle. 

I didn’t tell her…But I knew immediately what she was going to tell me…. but I just listened….to her explain it to me..and what it meant to her.

Okay….imagine a triangle ….. and you are at the bottom right corner, your boyfriend is on the bottom left corner…and God is at the top of the Triangle. Now…see the line between you and the boy? That is how far apart you are without you both seeking out God and getting closer to God. But as each of you grow towards God…and seek Him out….you grow closer to each other…because you are closer to GOD. She told me the other bottom corner can be anything….shopping…her phone…or any of her friends! ( and yes…she had to tell me she knows her phone can’t get close to God…but she knows she can put it before God and move away from God and focus more on whatever it is at the bottom edge of the triangle!)

Here is a pic…for those of you like me..who are VISUAL learners!! 

I told my sweet girl I loved her explanation. And I’d support a tattoo of a triangle….AFTER she turns 18!!! But I told her the reason I knew about this illustration…is because I used to use this same lesson…when I taught Sunday School to my sophomore girls a LOOOOONG time ago!

She just smiled at me…and I loved this moment too! I have to admit…at first…there was a twang of being sad I wasn’t the one that got to teach this to her first…but then God nudged me and reminded me…HE will place the person in her path when she is ready to hear a lesson…and that person isn’t always going to be me!!! I see that by me being the one to reinforce it though…it made it just that more special in her eyes too!!! I trust you, God….and thank you for knowing better than me!!

As she laid in her bed last night…I prayed over her that this “camp high” would follow her through for a long time! I prayed that her newfound fervor for Christ stay lit in her heart and not wane. I prayed God would allow her to always open up to me and share with me her heart. I thanked Him for all the great moments I’ve had with both my kids in the recent weeks.

I’m loving where my life is right now with my kiddos! They are awesome teenagers and I’m the luckiest mom in the world. To say there is part of my heart that still has a twinge of hurt and wishing I had seen my 3 boys be teenagers…and what wonderful times I would have had with them….doesn’t even begin to express that part of my heart.

I am choosing to know there are moments like this that will always be wonderfully bittersweet…and relish in the what I’ve had…where I’ve come from …..and where I am right now! I love it! ALL of it. And I can honestly say that I wouldn’t….change….a thing!

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Crocodile Tears

Last night while preparing dinner….I asked my hubs where our daughter was? She had taken a shower and had been drying her hair…but I hadn’t heard anything coming from her way for a while!

So, my sweet husband went to check and when he came back he made a funny face….and then said she was just sitting in her room crying.

Well…needless to say I finished what I was doing and went back to her room. She was coming out and I could tell she had tried to pull herself together to make it seem like everything was okay…but this momma was having none of that! I told her to come back to her room with me.

When we got back there we both sat on her bed. I looked at her and asked her what was up. She looked at me and her lip and chin started quivering. She was trying so hard not to cry. She even turned her head and her hair was covering her so I couldn’t see her face…but I knew she was about to break. I went and got a box of Kleenex….came back and closed her door and moved closer to her. She just broke.

She cried so hard.

Then….when she was able to pull herself together…she told me she had
been been listening to some Christian music. She had her earbuds in and was just sitting on her bed and listening. This isn’t uncommon. She spends most of her time listening to music. I don’t limit the genre and let her go with her mood…..but today….everything she listened to was Christian.

She told me she had forgotten just how powerful Christian music can be….especially when you are just sitting still and quiet and listening to the words. She said the first song reminded her of her brothers. That alone….brought a tear to my eyes.

But then…she said the second song reminded her not just of her brothers…but of the fact she has never met them. She admitted she is jealous because it seemed like most of the people in my life had known them….and here she was…..12 years old…and she had never met her brothers!!! That…..made my tears….start to fall and just hit the bed.

Then……she said the third song talked about changing the world. She told me she knew she was going to do something to change the world…but her brothers would never be here to witness it.

I’m sure, you know by now….we were both just embracing and bawling our eyes out. I held her so close and so long I thought I would snap her in half. There was so much going through my mind. I felt so guilty….for bringing her into this world under those circumstances and asking her to live a life…..without meeting her brothers.

After a while…we separated….(we had to blow our noses sometime..) and she looked at me and just said……”it’s just not fair!”.

It’s not fair.


She is so right. I didn’t know what to say. I told her I knew her brothers would all love her and be so proud of her! But she looked at me…and asked, “But how am I supposed to know they would love me?”. I looked at her and told her….she is just going to have to trust me.

Of course I told her I knew how each of her brothers knew Jesus and since I knew she did too…I knew we would all spend eternity together. But she said that this life without them…will just seem so long. Then…she kinda grinned…and told me it wasn’t fair…I was going to get to see them first! Wow! She is just like me…that is exactly the sentiment I had when I lost my mom. I couldn’t stop crying….and at that moment…it wasn’t because she was gone…..it was because she got to see the boys FIRST!!! I told Breanna that story…and she just smiled at me.

I also told her…there are a lot of people who hurt so bad…they don’t think they can continue in this life without a person they love……and they don’t think they can ever get over the sadness they feel. I told her I felt that way the day her brothers died. I told her how late that night, I went in the other room to be by myself. I told her how I talked to the boys, I cried…and I yelled at God….”WHY DIDN’T YOU TAKE ME??????” I told her how God had calmed my spirit…and I realized if I was still here…HE must have a reason. I promised both God and my boys…that very night…I’d continue my life here on this earth…trying ….searching for what the purpose for me still being here was.

I looked my sweet daughter in the eye…and told her if I hadn’t gone on….I wouldn’t have her with me today…or her brother! I told her I was so thankful God allowed me to be a mom again! She touched my face and told me I would always be her brothers’ mom too! The tables had turned…and she was beginning to comfort me now!

I told her if she had any questions or ever wanted to talk about her brothers….it was fine. She told me it didn’t feel like she could talk about them…it felt like they never even happened. My heart sank. I felt that in protecting her….I had hurt her. So, I assured her she could. She reminded me I had told her not to tell her friends about them though….

I had to explain to her….because of the way they died….I tried to protect, not just her…but her friends too. She knew how they died…and had me to talk to about it…but her friends might not understand all of it and their parents might not want their kids to know something like that…..it was just too much for some.

But then…I looked at her and told her it was part of who she is. I told her it was now hers…I told her I trusted her with their story. She could share with whomever she thought she needed. I told her I trust her judgement. She isn’t to do it for attention…but it is a part of our family…it is a part of her…just as much as it is a part of me. Even though, physically, she hasn’t met them. They are her brothers and are a part of her life too.

I apologized. Over and over I apologized. I was so sorry she had to carry this burden. It hurts me to the core to see her hurt so much…for loving brothers she has never met and carrying this around with her. How do you process that? I mean, I have memories with them….she just has stories….and wishes to know them!!!

I thought of the families we know that have lost children. I thought how all of those….the siblings knew the child. And each of them…..were sick….not taken like her brothers.

These are the days that haunted my soul before I got remarried. These are the reasons I almost didn’t have any more children. These are some of the…….there is NO book….no “How to raise children after their siblings are murdered” website to go from!! These are the ways….the enemy toys with my mind and makes me feel selfish for having more children!

I just have to trust God….that these children are not only part of my continued purpose on this earth…but that each of them….has their own specific purpose. I also have to trust God…..that their purpose will be great…BECAUSE of who they are…and the story they have!!!

My daughter is right……she WILL change the world. I told her she might just do it with a part of her brothers story! They may not be here…on this earth….to see her do it…..but one day…when we are all in heaven together…they’ll pat her on the back for all the jewels in her crown and say “Well done, sis…..well done!”.

She smiled….I smiled. Thank you God for this child and her heart. Thank you for trusting me…..with this part of your story. It’s hard…and it just isn’t fair…but it is OURS!

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.” (‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭1‬:‭11‬ NLT)

Please pray for our family as we try to figure out what this looks like. We talked about how we are in a new season. I am at a place where I’ve never been…she has now grown past all her brothers and I’m in uncharted territory with her and her brother now. We are in a season of hoping our life change will somehow create world change in us…in our hearts. My sweet girl has such a huge heart! She is more, at her age….than I could have ever aspired to be! I pray for protective coverings over this heart….so her part in HIS story will be HUGE!

I love each of you…and thank you for allowing me to share in our journey. It’s hard. But….OH SO WORTH IT!!
Blessings! ~c

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