Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A year ago we lost her...

One year ago today, at about 5:00 am, was the last time I ever saw my oldest daughter alive. We were up early to get to race about two hours away and she woke up for no particular reason. She came in to tell me what she had planned for that day. She was gone that afternoon when we returned and planned to stay the night with friends. Turns out she was at a party where there were several 18 to 19-year-olds drinking and smoking pot.

We learned that when we received a phone call from one of her friends telling us that something had happened. She gave us a phone number and told us it was a sheriff's deputy. This was about midnight. I called and the deputy would give me no details over the phone. It didn't dawn on me until later why he asked me for my address.

When I got off the phone with the deputy, I called all the hospitals in the area and none of them had admitted her as a patient. Worse yet, none of them were aware of an incoming emergency. I told my wife I was going up there. Quickly, I showered and dressed.

As I was about to walk out the front door, a police car was pulling into our driveway. This was why the deputy wanted our address. I met the officer outside and asked, "You have some bad news for us I guess?" He asked me to step inside.

There in our living room, he told us that Amanda was gone. He didn't know details. He just had the unenviable job of coming to inform a family they had lost their 17-year-old daughter.

One year ago today, our world was rocked. We were stunned and paralyzed for days, still in shock for weeks. Then just numb. Now, here we are one year later.

You've heard it said that time heals all wounds. Not this one. The loss of a child is one that will never heal. It's just not part of the natural order of things and, as such, it's not something we expect or get over. I realized early on that this pain we feel will never stop nor subside. It's just a pain we'll get used to over time. It will always be there, we'll just learn to tolerate it.

We're not moving on, we're moving forward.

"13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words." -- 1 Thessalonians 18:13-18

That would not be possible except for the knowledge we have that we will be reunited with Amanda in Heaven one day. The hope that Jesus Christ offers is the reason we can keep going. Without that hope, I don't know where we would be right now, but I know it wouldn't be here.

We've been so blessed with the love and support of family, friends, and so many in our community. All of the prayers, love, calls, and visits have given us strength when we were weak. There is no doubt in my mind that all of them were sent by our Lord and Savior, each one a messenger to remind us that we are not alone.

A year has passed since we lost Amanda, and likely we'll pass through many more before we see her again in Heaven. But the fact that gives us hope and that keeps us going, is that we will certainly spend many more years with her there than we'll spend apart here.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.


  1. Unfortunately I can completely sympathize with you and your wife's pain, I so wish I didn't know. My heart goes out to you all and many hugs.

  2. Thank you Tgately. Our hearts go out to you as well. I wish that nobody knew this pain, and that nobody would ever have to know it in the future. May God grant us all peace and strength through this terrible journey.


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