The Patron Saint of Lost Causes (The Day My Sisters Died, Part 3)

If you are just joining in, I invite you to read Part 1 and Part 2, here and here.

——-

st. jude
(St. Jude – The Patron Saint of Desperate Cases and Lost Causes)

“If this is salvation, I can show you the trembling.
You’ll just have to trust me. I’m scared.
I am the patron saint of lost causes…

…We’re not questioning God.
Just those he chose to carry on His cross.”

-Anberlin, *Fin

I was a lost cause walking into the Emergency Room that day. The whole world was swirling around me, like a tornado. I sat in a plastic chair in a daze. The news was droning our story above me, but I was in so much shock I couldn’t process it. I heard my mom, as if from a distance, asking the ER nurse where Stephanie was. The nurse was repeating details of where Rachel was, but not Stephanie. Even knowing the truth, I didn’t want to admit it. I felt sick to my stomach.

After a few minutes, a detective from the police department came and found us. He led us through the hospital in what seemed to me like a maze. I could barely focus. Suddenly we were in a quiet conference room. My friend G– had followed, but wasn’t allowed into the conference room with my mom and I. I am not sure where Grace, my youngest sister, was. I can’t remember if she was there or not.

The only questions I remember from the detective were where we thought the shots had been coming from, and whether we knew anything about why the shooter had attacked us. I explained where I thought the shots had come from, later on finding out they had come from the exact opposite direction. That’s just how confusing it was. I also told the policeman that I knew the shooter had come from the YWAM base in Arvada down to where we were. Honestly, I had no logical reason for that. I just absolutely knew (and was correct). I thought at the time that maybe it was because I’d also been involved with YWAM.

After the questioning, we were taken upstairs to a huge waiting room. I walked in and saw one of my boyfriend’s friends there. I went right over to him and he hugged me, tears sparkling in his eyes. I sat down with him and my other friends who’d arrived. My mom and sister went into a smaller room off of the waiting room.

Another detective arrived and they called me into the room. I knew what this was going to be. I saw the look on the detective’s face, the agony in his eyes. “I’m so sorry. I have to tell you that your daughter Stephanie is dead.” My sister Grace let out a loud cry. My mom had tears streaming down her face. I remember feeling numb, not crying. My friend G– looked at me and grabbed my hands. “I need to tell you something important,” he said. “You need to remember this.” Yet today for the life of me I can’t remember what he said just then. I just remember his desperation. “We’ll pray for resurrection,” he said a moment later. “All is not lost.” I knew it was.

We waited.

My dad was in surgery. They were trying to take Rachel into surgery, but were having a hard time because she kept losing blood. My boyfriend arrived in the middle of this. I took him to a side room and that was where I told him that I loved him for the first time. He tried to stop me, but I wouldn’t be stopped. “No, you need to know. I love you.” I was desperate.

His mom was there, trying to find out what we needed. Scores of other people showed up. My friend Sarah, who had tried to get to the church but couldn’t get through the police barricade, kept trying to get me to eat. I wasn’t hungry; how could I be? She and my boyfriend insisted I should eat. When I told them the only thing I felt like eating was dark chocolate and Mountain Dew, they went to the gift store and bought me a bar of Cadbury’s dark chocolate. Someone handed me a bottle of Mountain Dew.

It’s so odd the little details you remember. Friends. Chocolate. Mountain Dew.

My dad came out of surgery and was in the recovery room. They asked if we wanted to go see him, and of course we did. We were escorted through two sets of double doors. My mom, Grace, and I huddled together as we walked through the doorway. My dad looked only semi-conscious, laying there on a white hospital bed with tubes everywhere. My stomach was dropping lower by the minute. We gathered around the bed.

“Where’s Stephanie?” my dad asked.

We looked at each other – my mom, Grace, and me. No one was speaking! Why wasn’t anyone saying anything? A resigned sort of feeling came over me and inside, I bucked myself up a little.

“She’s… she’s gone,” I said.

I have never said any words in my life that were worse than those three. Out of all of the horrible moments in this horrible day, this one was among the most awful. I watched as my dad’s face contorted in pain, and my heart seized.

After a couple of minutes we went back out to the waiting room. I felt like I’d been tackled by a 200-lb linebacker, and I was laying in the middle of the field with a concussion. Friends came and went. I sat with them, trying to distract myself. My mom came and got me when the doctors said we could go see Rachel. They couldn’t get her body warmed up enough to go into surgery, and she was losing blood fast.

So my mom and I, my friend G–, and two of the pastors went in to her room to pray. My boyfriend sat outside the door.

I think I lost my mind when I walked into that room. This was my baby sister. I’d always, always looked after her. When she was in the hospital a year before due to an ovarian cyst, I was the one that stayed with her longest and didn’t want to leave. When we were little and under the care of some sadly misled babysitters, I was the one who snuck into a dark bathroom to check on her as she was in time out for 25 minutes. She was MY baby sister. I may not have always been the best oldest sister, but Rachel was so special to me. Only 2 months before, I’d become weirdly overcome by sudden emotion and told her, “I just don’t know what I’d do without you. I just want you to know that, I don’t know what I would do without you.”

All this must have rushed through me when I saw her laying there, eyes closed, tubes everywhere, ribs bruised. I prayed. I don’t even know if prayer is a good technical term for it. What I did was to say everything in my power, to beg with all the words I had that she would stay with me. I used my words like swords to fight off evil; Eowyn in the Lord of the Rings, facing the Witch King.

I quoted all of her favorite movies; she loved movies. Harry Potter. Lord of the Rings. I told her that she was my Marianne, and I was Elinor, and please, please don’t leave me here alone. I called desperately on God to save her life. I asked her to please come back from the darkness. And I sang.

“Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don’t give up.

Because you are loved.”
Josh Groban – Don’t Give Up (Because You are Loved)

Finally, I’d said everything. I’d prayed everything. I’d sang everything. I knew it was time to give her to God. My friend G– disagreed with me. I stayed in the room to go along with him, but it was clear. It was time for me to let God do whatever He decided. Soon after, we all left and went back to the waiting room.

Grace and I sat building a puzzle in one corner with a friend of hers. It was late; 10 or 11 o’clock at night. I tried to distract myself by just looking for pieces to the puzzle in front of me. Some minutes later, one of the pastors appeared. The look on his face told me everything. I sucked in a deep breath.

“I’m sorry. Rachel has gone to be with Jesus.”

I started crying then. It hurt, oh it hurt more anything I could imagine. Grace started crying too. I was afraid I’d make her cry even harder, so I stifled my tears, to be strong, for her. We sat huddled together, Grace, my mom, and I. Trying to hold ourselves together somehow. The pastors prayed, as a sort of benediction.

The nurses came and asked if we wanted to see Rachel one last time. My mom, Grace, and I walked in to the quiet dark room that only minutes before had been bustling with light and activity. Rachel lay on the bed as if she were asleep. Her eyes were closed. She looked peaceful. I could feel her, still in the room with us. The nurses had mentioned that she could, as an organ donor, donate her eyes. As we stood there with her, we softly discussed. “No, we can’t,” we decided. She was the only one in the family besides my dad who had gorgeous blue eyes, and they were one of her trademark features. We couldn’t do it, it was still too close, the pain too sharp.

There were many other defining moments over the next few days. Planning a funeral. Visiting my dad in the hospital. Finding pictures of my sisters for the press and for the funeral pamphlet. Meeting Rachel’s best friend, Aimee, for the first time. The viewing. The service. Hearing stories… one of the most amazing being from the paramedic who took Rachel to the hospital.

He said she’d died in the ambulance. And suddenly she came back, and light filled the ambulance and even her skin color changed. I can only imagine; her blue-gray skin is tattooed on the walls of my mind. How breathtaking that must have been. Even in the darkness – light.

Just as it was in life after.

——

Life After

“This is the correlation
of salvation and love
Don’t drop your arms
I’ll guard your heart
With quiet words I’ll lead you in.”
Anberlin – The Unwinding Cable Car

In obvious ways, this event radically altered my life.

But what I wasn’t prepared for was the beauty it would bring me. In fact, a part of me still recoils to think of calling something so ugly a place of beauty. And yet. Darkness births light.

I learned resiliency.

I am so grateful and blessed today to have a life that is actually beautiful. But lest you think this is one of those stories with a pat ending; it’s not. I didn’t snap my fingers and recover. It’s taken a lot of hard work. Grueling days. Countless tears, screaming and raging as I drive down the highway. Falling apart in my therapist’s office.

Now, I often feel that my sisters repeat the refrain back to me that I sang to Rachel in the hospital: “Don’t give up, because you are loved.” It’s tattooed on my rib cage, in memory. There’s some days I need those words every five minutes.

Even now, the sting of loss doesn’t fully fade. I’m 25 years old and every day, I become more like my twin, who I thought was so unlike me. Beautiful, but so bittersweet. And oh so many days I wonder what they would think of me now. Who we would be together. We never got the chance to become adult sisters. I lost the ones who shared my childhood; Grace is 8 years younger than me and has grown up differently. I lost partners in crime. It hurts, every day.

Rachel, though, wrote something beautiful in her journal a few months before she died. She talked about how you can let sadness overcome you and live in that sadness, or find the courage to carry it with you, but to no longer let it define all of your life.

I’ve learned how to survive dark days. What it means to be supported unconditionally, even from beyond. The sacred beauty of God as I now understand It – not the God of fantasaical youth, or the God of limiting cages, but the God who favored freedom, grace and wild love.

Maybe most of all… I learned how to feel. Not to drop my arms to life, but to hold them up to where salvation and love come in. Light comes in.

Feeling all the pain, all the horror and sadness and maelstrom. That’s the important thing. See, I kept my arms crossed in front of my chest for years, through a marriage, divorce, and addiction. Trying to hold it all back. Caging myself in. When I finally peeled my arms down and asked for help, that was the correlation of salvation and love, rushing in. If only I could just keep showing up, every day, and have the courage to not drop my arms.

That’s what it’s about today; that’s what I want to share with you. That’s what it took to make it through and finally learn resilience. To just show up, every day, and not drop my arms across my chest but to spread them wide to the world. It’s grueling work, and sometimes it takes all I’ve got. My Higher Power, my sisters… they’ve all supported me through to this point, just whispering, “Don’t give up. You’re loved.” And I’ve learned though that it’s really amazing what happens when you give yourself to the work: It gives itself to you. The light shines in the darkness.

And the darkness does not overcome it.

—-

I wanted to graciously thank all of my readers for accompanying me on this journey of telling my story. Your presence, as I have said to you over and over again, has meant the world to me. Sometimes, healing comes to a greater degree through being witnessed. Thank you for witnessing me. I am grateful to all of you. Especially to those of you from The Rebels Project – an amazing community of survivors that I am so privileged to be a part of. You guys are in many ways like family to me; thank you for existing. You’ve been a light in my darkness. If anyone reading has been affected by senseless tragedy, I encourage you to get involved with The Rebels Project, a place where you can find understanding community and support.

I am also very grateful to the band Anberlin, whose songs I quoted because their CD, “Cities”, was the only thing I specifically requested after December 9. The Unwinding Cable Car was on repeat in my CD player for months. That CD got me through the darkest days of my life and I’m forever thankful it existed. Thank you, Anberlin – thank you for the impact you’ve made. I’m looking forward to seeing you on your last tour this year.

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70 thoughts on “The Patron Saint of Lost Causes (The Day My Sisters Died, Part 3)

    1. Alex, you’ve faithfully read all of these pieces. Thank you. Sometimes (most times!) just being witnessed is worth more than words could describe. So thank you for doing that.

  1. Thank you. Thank you for being brave. For being vulnerable. For sharing your story. I read parts 1 & 2 last night and immediately had to process with Gil. As much as we’ve talked about that day, there were new things I learned from your perspective of the story. I so appreciate your willingness to open up in a space like this, to let people in, and to own your story. Dinner soon, yes?

    1. Oh yes. I would so love dinner soon. I’d love to hear from both of your perspectives and what you mentioned that you learned, I think it would be beautiful to talk about it all if you both are up for it. (I am) Please let me know what would be a good time for you! I am mostly available on weekends or Mon/Fri nights.
      And thank you – it’s been healing for me in a whole new way to share this. I’m so honored too, to have you witness this, especially since you (and Gil!) have both known me for so long and were so deeply connected to this. Adds a whole new layer to things.

      1. We will plan something soon then. It was so strange finding out about the shooting on BBC news while I was in Hong Kong and then helping Gil in his grieving process from afar. And feeling so deeply that there was nothing I could do. Anyway, yes, we can definitely process and chat more about it over dinner soon. Much love to you.

      2. Oh wow, I had no idea. I’d lost track of timelines and didn’t realize you and Gil were together during that time. Or that you were in Hong Kong during. That’s rough. Wow.
        Yes let me know! Looking forward to it. 🙂 Much love, and peace, in return.

  2. “So tell me, what is our ending? Will be it beautiful, so beautiful? Will my life find me by your side? Your love is beautiful, so beautiful.” (Beautiful Ending, BarlowGirl)

    What a beautiful ending this is, indeed. And I know that your life will find you by their sides again. ❤

    1. ❤ I love you dearest best… I am so crazy grateful for you in my life. And so grateful too that you knew them and remember them.
      They're with me all the time… Hermione was doing her crazy "stare at ghosts" jig last night and I think it was them. 🙂 I was writing this just then.

  3. Like the other two posts before, I have tears running down my face. My heart is so heavy. I too don’t know exactly what to say other than it takes a very strong woman to share your story across the web-verse. Thank you. I know this will impact everyone (in their own way) who reads it.
    -Gillian

  4. “But what I wasn’t prepared for was the beauty it would bring me. In fact, a part of me still recoils to think of calling something so ugly a place of beauty. And yet. Darkness births light.” And what your sister journaled ” you can let sadness overcome you and live in that sadness, or find the courage to carry it with you, but to no longer let it define all of your life.” Truer or more beautiful words do not exist. Its how I’ve survived my pieces of awful. It’s how I’ve managed to overcome. And it’s how I describe my last. There is beauty to be found in the darkness. And the darkness has fed my appreciation of the light.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. As hard as it was for us to read, I can’t imagine how hard it was to write. I know you’ve said it’s been healing and I’m glad. You’re an amazing person with an unstoppable future. I’m glad to know you.

    1. I so agree Deanna. I’ve found so much beauty in the darkness. There’s a poem I love (and that my sis Rachel also loved) talking about how in God there is a deep darkness… for me now, it still holds true to my present envisioning of a Higher Power/Higher Self/whatnot. And darkness is so impactful in the gratitude I now feel for the light.
      You are very welcome. It was hard to write, but now that it’s done, I feel different. I finally have a clear view of what I’ve learned through all of this, and I’m grateful for the lessons it’s brought; I have to believe my sisters had a hand in that. Thank you so much for witnessing this process, and for being a part of my online blogging world as well; I consider you a friend and I also am glad to know you. Peace to you tonight…

  5. I actually read this yesterday but I needed a day to process. I cannot even imagine that strength it took to write this. My little sister is the most important person in the world to me. I am tearing up right now at the mere thought of losing her in such a cruel way. You are such a beautiful writer. And I appreciate you sharing.

    1. Thank you… in a way, it brought a lot of healing and closure for me to share. It’s still painful most days but like I said in this post, there is beauty too. Which is amazing.
      Thank you for reading, so appreciate your presence with my story.

  6. Incredible. How do you write such a perfect balance of light and dark like that? I saved this for my lunch break, which is good because I have tears in my eyes. I don’t know what else to say, Laurie. You’re an incredibly strong human, you know that?

    1. Maybe the balance comes through because that’s so deeply what I feel about it; a mix of dark and light all together. But isn’t that life?
      Awww thanks *hug* You’re wonderful, Aussa. So glad I know you! Thank you so much for reading all of this… it really means a lot to me.

  7. I started and restarted this comment about a bazillion times – I just can’t seem to express what I really want to say. So, let me just say that your story touched me and I wish I could learn how to live without my arms crossed so much of the time.

    1. Awww Jana… thank you for reading… your lack of words means more than your words, believe me. Thank you.
      I hope I’ve inspired you a little to live with your arms open at least a bit more of the time – even if just a minute a day. It’s hard work…ugh, super hard work… but oh so worth it. I think that’s how the light was able to move into my life after all the dark.

  8. I’ve never known tragedy like you’ve experienced but I know a little about the strength it takes to keep showing up each day, to not close yourself off to the world. You inspire me. You’re so young and so wise. I’m sending you light and love from my little corner of the universe.

    1. Karen, thank you! You inspire me in return; your blog is a highlight and I always enjoy reading it. I so appreciate you coming here to read my story, it means a lot to have your presence and witness to it. Sending light to you in return, my dear.

  9. Thank you for sharing your story. It is beautiful and tragic, like a real life “The Shack.” You have found light even in the darkest and you have shared that light with the world. Thank you for being “God with skin on” to so many of us.

    1. Thank you for coming by and in doing so, sharing in my story. So appreciate your words, and it is an honor if I can share divine light with others… that’s my greatest hope.

  10. Whew. I must let you know I read this – it would seem wrong to just stop by and not say so and to acknowledge your terrible pain and loss. And also the beauty you have found out of the shadows – yes, how strange that is and you capture it perfectly. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading!

  11. I won’t “ugly up” your beautiful words with my own comments. I can’t think of a thing to say other than you’ve touched and inspired me with your resilience and strength. Having read your Six Song stories first make this three-part series on your sisters even more poignant. Glad our paths crossed.
    Sending you much love and light…although, you seem to create that for yourself 🙂

    1. You don’t ugly them up!!! You are a lovely woman and only contribute more beauty. Thank you so deeply for stopping by and reading, it means so much that you were witness to my story of loss. So hope that I’ve passed on some light to you, and if not I’m sending some now. 🙂

  12. Thank you for your courage, raw honesty and clarity. My heart goes out to you and your family. I lost my sister when she was 40 to cancer six years ago and am still not able to really talk about it fully yet you shared a story like this without holding back. You have mad courage. Bless your heart.

    1. I’m so sorry. My heart goes back to you as well. It’s a unique experience to lose a sister and I so understand why you’re not really able to talk about it yet. Thank you for sharing it with me. Though I don’t fully “get it”, I do in some aspects, and honor your loss.
      It took a lot to get to a place to share in the way I do now, so I count myself courageous yet also see the process, which is definitely not easy.
      Thank you so much for reading. It means so much. Especially when you get losing a sister.

  13. My two sisters died of natural causes 14 and 5 years ago. I still hear their laughter, their words of comfort. I still want to smack them from time to time. I miss them.

    But my heart goes out to you and I am happy that you have found peace with such a life-changing tragedy. May your sisters rest peacefully and I hope that your father, mother and Grace are as strong as you are and that you help each other through those dark moments.

    I found you through Aussa.

    1. Ohhhh. I know what you mean. I hear their laughter every day, their words, feel their hugs. Haha and I would love to give my twin a piece of my mind some days! 🙂 I miss them desperately.
      Thank you so much for your wishes Elyse, they mean a lot to me.
      And Aussa is lovely, isn’t she? So privileged she asked me to post. 🙂

  14. There aren’t words. I can’t stop crying for you. I want to take all this hurt away from you. I am so sorry that this was your path.

    I send you hugs and love.

    1. Julie – thank you… it is a painful path to walk, there’s no denying that. And oftentimes I don’t have words, myself. How do you word something that’s this horrific?
      I so appreciate your presence to my story. Sending love and hugs back to you.

      1. Alright, just reading your response has turned on the tears again. Holy Cow. I don’t know if horrific is a strong enough word. You are a very inspiring individual.

        P.S. I followed you home from Aussa’s…

  15. I’ll admit your story was very difficult for me to read, your story brought home a lot of emotions I tend to still force back after the death of my brother. I’ll never compare loss or consider one harder than the other, it’s just not my style. You have my full respect and admiration, for going through such a horrific tragedy and being here (mentally and physically) to tell the story and learn from life, specially at such a young age. I think many people don’t understand the significance of sibling loss, I certainly didn’t give it a thought until it punched me in the face. The growing up or old without our sibling(s) when until that moment you couldn’t even imagine having to do so. Having to restructure life in our minds, how things will play out so differently now. No family picnics, the empty space at our wedding, so many things that are simply obvious as children growing up that will be shared throughout our lives and to have that ripped away…having to reconfigure living in a different future was the hardest thing for me to do. I still fight with it 11 years later. Embracing a new existence, somehow.

    I wish peace and, if possible, joy for you and your family.

    1. Man.
      Your comment was difficult to read, too. It just reminds me of so much, especially the going on without a sibling. There have been so many goddamn moments where I just want my twin, or Rachel, or both. At my college graduation. When I got divorced. Now that I’m 2 years sober. It’s sooooo hard that they miss those things. It hurts so much. I think the worst is not being able to talk to them about the big decisions in my life. That and not being able to talk to them about my crazy family. The two people I grew up with are now gone. My little sister is 8 years younger and didn’t grow up the same way, so it’s really different. they confirmed my reality. It sucks so much. I usually can embrace a new existence, like you said – but some days, ugh.
      The significance of sibling loss is SO huge, and not talked about much. I hope I can inspire people to talk about it more.
      Thank you for sharing your story, it meant more to me than I can say to have companionship in that sibling loss feeling this evening. Sending you peace and joy, as well.

  16. I sat down to read each of these in one sitting. They’re such beautiful, yet painful words. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. I can’t remember the last time I cried this much, but, for some reason, I have to finish them now. I can’t express my awe at your faith and courage or my gratitude for your writing.

  17. I’m so thankful to have “run into” your blog today. I am walking through the loss of my own sister, although we had many, many wonderful years together, unlike you and yours. My heart breaks at your loss and mine. What an amazingly hopeful journey you have shown us. Thanks for the hope. God bless you, C

    1. C, I’m so glad you came by. I’m so very sorry to hear about the loss of your sister. I don’t know if it matters how many years you have together, it’s still such a loss. Losing your companion, the one who gets your family like no one else, is such a big deal.
      So glad that I passed on the hope… thank you so much for coming by.

  18. Laurie, I don’t know how I haven’t been here before, but came to read this series from your guest post with Aussa. I do not have words to express how sorry I am and how strong and courageous you are. I cannot imagine going through this loss, and not only surviving, but thriving. I am terrible at keeping up with blogs, but am going to try to keep up with yours, because your words are so beautiful.

    1. No worries, I have stayed a little hidden I think. 😛
      Thank you so much for coming by, though… and for your beautiful kind words. I so appreciate that you took the time to witness my story. I don’t say that lightly, the witnessing contributes to the healing which is such a beautiful thing.
      The way I see my thriving is – at first, I survived. When I realized my surviving (which included addiction to alcohol) was not working, and realized then that I couldn’t change my “surviving” habits, I had to find something bigger to rely on so I could thrive… and gratefully I did.

    1. Thank you for taking it with me. It helps me beyond words to know that you read through all of this and in doing that were a part of witnessing and validating this part of my life. Thank you Laura.

  19. Laurie. You mentioned your sister’s journal and it made me think what people would find if they read my words after I was gone. It made me think of Laura (just above) worrying about writing full time, and how we told her her children would cherish the chance to have her words someday, to know her like that. I just want to say that you are an incredible person, and the legacy you’re leaving in words is strong and bright… you make me think of a comet blazing through the night sky.

    1. People do cherish the legacies of words left behind… I know my sisters’ writing is something I’ve held dear. I’ve thought about posting some of it time and again. About 6 months before her death she wrote some beautiful things about death, life, and grief. What an amazing woman she was – and I say woman because even at 16 she was so brilliant.
      Thank you for the lovely compliment Jennie… you’re making my heart a mush ball over here today! What a beautiful spirit you are.

  20. It’s crazy, the way the world spins and twists and alters our paths. I have avoided blogs, social media, and everything for a week, and somehow I landed on yours tonight. I don’t know if you saw my post, but last week was one of the hardest of my life. My childhood friend (who I grew up next to from the time I was six years old) lost her 18 year old son in a car accident a week ago. I have struggled all week trying to figure out a way to help her, to make her feel better. There are no words I can say. I can’t hug her enough, or laugh about the silly things he did growing up enough, or twitter stalk all of his high school friends to gather every piece of him that I can find to share with his mother. I can’t make it better, but reading your words helps me to realize that she will heal. You healed.

    You are beyond remarkable. I knew from the title of the first part that this was going to end badly. I missed that sister was in fact sisters, and my heart wants to burst for you. I can’t imagine, and I’m so very sorry you lost them. I love that you can look at is as light rather than dark. I hope I can help my friend to find the light. And I hope that you continue to share yours.

    1. Wow… Mandi… I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s son. That is so very heavy. It sounds like you are doing just what you can – being there. Which, take it from me, probably means the most. Words can be cliched and dumb, but presence is irreplaceable. And yes… healing is possible. It’s sucky and hard, but possible, and beautiful.
      Thank you for your kind words… I try as often as possible to see it as light. Sometimes it is very hard, especially when I miss them or when it’s been a rough couple weeks (lately).
      Just keep shining for your friend, she will see. And I’ll keep shining here for you friend. Just by being here. Sending so much love toward you and your friend tonight.

  21. And there it is. Light. You. Carrying on with the scars and glow that testifies to His unending love- even in the throws of evil, HE shall reign.

    I see His Glory shine in you.

    Not one ounce of courage and effort will be wasted. Not one ounce.

    I absolutely know that your sisters are dancing in your name- and celebrating in your triumph to overcome. They shine Heaven’s Light on you, and it shows.

  22. —-I’ve read every. single. word.
    My heart clenching like fists…My heart pounding fiercely…I had to remember to breathe.
    Inhale. Exhale.
    Powerful. So much detail. So much I can identify with.
    I remember I had on a black tank top, ripped black shorts, my toe nails were red.
    I remember everything. I remember nothing.
    I hated the doctor for not preparing me for my own death))
    This sentence: ““I just don’t know what I’d do without you. I just want you to know that, I don’t know what I would do without you.”
    I told Kay this a week before her murder.
    Laurie, you are an amazing writer. Did you say you are in your 20s? OMGOSH, God has BIG plans for your words, your pain, your rising up, your voice, your experience.
    How are you? How is your family? Does writing save you? Do you have a STRONG faith in God?
    XXXXXXXX
    Love From MN.

    1. Sooo strange to me that you also said that to Kay a week before she died… It’s weird, that impulse. I had SUCH a strong impulse to say that to Rachel about 2-3 months before she died. I was compelled.
      I know what you mean – “I remember everything. I remember nothing.” it’s a strange mix of both.
      And yes, I’m 25. I’m curious to see how my little life turns out… genuinely curious to see how it will be directed.
      I am okay most days. Last year was awful for some reason but with the help of therapy I made it through! Doing much much better now. Writing saves me CONSTANTLY. So interesting because for about a year after, I couldn’t write much at all. But now it’s my lifeline again. My family is well… we have an interesting relationship but in general everyone is doing well. My faith in God is interesting… I wouldn’t call myself a Christian technically but I have a deep, underlying belief in something Bigger, what that is I do not know. But I do know that it is constantly weaving threads throughout my life, constantly present, and that is such a comfort.
      I’m so glad to have met you here! I can’t tell you how much it means.

  23. Words can do so much. I don’t know you but I know you and I love you and I am grateful that I was able to read your story. Thank you

  24. I watched a video of you describe this. It was several months ago. And somehow I stumbled on this today.

    I just read all three posts with a lump in my throat. My office desk wasn’t the best choice.

    Very, very moving. I can’t even begin to understand trying to process everything on your own and then having to say those words to your father.

    I don’t even know what to say. But I’m pretty sure there are a bunch of people out here who can understand your pain… and that you understand their’s.

    And I imagine, like we often do when we connect with one another, that this means so much to people who get to realize that they aren’t alone.

    And that makes them just a little bit stronger and braver.

    Thank you for inspiring hope in others and for sharing such a deeply personal, captivating, tragic and touching story.

    A few more prayers headed toward you and your family today.

    I like it when people say I wrote something that mattered to them.

    And maybe you do, too.

    This really mattered to me. A lot.

  25. Your story is simply heartbreaking. Although you have felt unbelievable pain, it sounds as if you are a strong courageous young lady! You have experienced such a profound loss but have used your story to inspire others. God Bless You as you continue your healing journey!💗

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