The Day My Life Changed Forever: August 13, 2013

5:47 am August 13, 2013

There was a knock on the door. I looked out the window and saw a cop car. Not good. Never a good thing to have a cop at your door. Worse this time of day.

I grabbed my bathrobe; Ron got up to get dressed.

Officer Wiggins had seen the news on the police wire and volunteered to come to our home with the news. He knew our family. His son had graduated just a few months before with our son Peter.

Officer Wiggins came in and told us our 20 year old, Andrew, had been in a car wreck. Our son was dead.

I sat in the corner of the couch. Numb. My son was dead.

Our three children living at home had heard the door and the noise in the living room, and one by one they came into to ask what was happening. One by one we told them. One by one they each got off the couch and went back to their room. Their brother was dead.

I sat on the couch numb. My son was dead

Ron called the other children to give them the news. One daughter on vacation with her family. Our former Marine in Denver. Our gymnastic coach son in Michigan. Their brother was dead.

While Ron called the kids, I got on Facebook to see if I could learn more. The local police knew very little. The Troopers were still processing the scene.  All they knew was that our son was dead.

One young man had posted kind words on Andrew’s page. I sent him a message asking him to call me. He told me they had all been at the end-of-the-season cast party for Texas! the day before. (This had been Andrew’s second year to be in the outdoor musical. Andrew loved that show. He loved being a professional actor and dancer. He loved the cast and crew of the show.) On the way home from the cast party, about 11:45 pm, six young people had been riding back to Canyon, Texas, when the driver ran a stop sign and pulled out in front of a semi. Andrew was killed along with four of his friends, including the driver. They were pronounced dead at the scene by a justice of the peace at 12:30 am. One person survived and was in critical condition. The driver of the semi was in serious condition. I had one question: “Was Andrew driving?” He was not driving, but he was dead.

I called my step-mom. Her grandson was dead.

Ron called more family. Their nephew, cousin, etc. was dead.

Ron contacted our pastor.  A member of his congregation was dead.  A youth from his youth group was dead.

I posted on Facebook and sent out an email to tell people their friend was dead:

“Our sweet, funny and talented Andrew Raymond went to be with Christ this morning about 12:30.

He was riding in a car going back to Amarillo from the annual End of the Show Ranch BBQ with other cast members from “Texas”. He and four others were killed when the car they were in was struck by a semi. One person in the car is in surgery. We do not know any other details at this time.

Please pray for our family as we deal with this loss.

Pray for the families of the others involved, including the driver of the semi involved. I pray that somehow, God will be glorified in this.”

Andrew, about a year before the accident.

Andrew, about a year before the accident.

The next few moments were quiet and still. It would be a little while before anyone arrived at the house, before we could really do anything but wait.

Ron and I talked a bit. We had plans to make. Arrangements for our son’s funeral needed to be made.  We talked quietly.

A few decisions were made:

1. We would not blame the driver. It could have as easily been Andrew. They took turns driving to events all summer. He could have been driving. Blame would not change things. It did not matter to us if alcohol was involved. That would not change the results.

2. We would make it through this. We WILL make it through this together.

3. The most important thing we discussed was this: OUR SON WAS NOT DEAD! Andrew was and is still alive!! He is alive in our memories, in our love, in our home, in the thousands of pictures we have of him, in the hundreds of hours of video of him. He is alive!

The reality is that Andrew is not dead. He is now living in the presence of Christ. He will be dancing and worshiping before the throne of his Savior for eternity! He is even more alive than he ever was on earth. And Andrew lived well! He lived life to the fullest here on earth. But now he is living eternally with Our Heavenly Father.

My life had changed forever that day. I have to deal with grief in a way I never dreamed. We had lots of things to take care of. Lots of details: legal stuff, funeral stuff, closing accounts, shutting off his phone, cleaning his apartment, finding his car! It took a long time to work through details and legal stuff.

But one thing in my life will never change: God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

On August 12, God was a loving, compassionate God. He cared for me. He loved me. He had begun a work in me and promised to carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. He sent His Son to die for me. He promised to never leave me or forsake me.  He was the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, Creator, Redeemer, Messiah and my Friend.

On August 13 those things were still true.

They still are true.

They will be true forever.

Even on remarkable days, some things don’t change.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Accident happened on TX State Hwy 287 north of Amarillo on August 12 at 11:45.  Five died instantly. Because of the remote location, a justice of the peace did not get to the scene until 45 minutes later. Five young people, all part of the show “TEXAS”, were pronounced dead at the scene at 12:30 am August 13, 2013. One young man survived.  He is still recovering.

If you have experienced the death of a child, please consider While We’re Waiting, a faith-based ministry to bereaved parents. They have helped me heal. 

110 thoughts on “The Day My Life Changed Forever: August 13, 2013

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. There is such grief here but as it has been said it is not the same as those who have no hope. He shall not come to you but you will go ti him and someday be reunited around the throne. That is our great hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking.I don’t know this kind of loss, nor do I ever hope to. In those moments, when you were able to truly understand that your beautiful son was more alive than he ever had been before…….. this is the kind of strength I long to have. This greater understanding that the “real life” does not happen until this present life has passed. I know this my head. In my spirit even. But, I’m not sure if my heart truly gets it, though. I have only a tiny glimpse of this truth…….a few years back, when my son was involved in drugs, after agonizing over him for so long, after trying to “fix” him for so long, I finally let go of my imaginary control. I sat on my living room couch and finally released him to the Lord. “Whatever it takes, Lord.” I said. “Whatever it takes. Do with him what You will. Because, I am more concerned with his life after death, than I am with his life here on this earth. Do what it takes to bring him back to You.” This is one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. But, the peace He gave me was supernatural……..

    Goodness……this should perhaps become a blog post……

    Thank you for sharing your heart during this painful, tragic period. I applaud you for your bravery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! It should become a post!

      Don’t you love when your thoughts start rolling and you just write?! Be sure to post a link here when you get it written.

      We’ve dealt with addiction in our family as well. All are in recovery. The time before was hell. I love your term “imaginary control”. So true.

      Blessings.

      Like

      • Thank you for your posts. They give me hope that even though all seems lost, it’s mostly found. My granddaughter knew Andrew and could very well have been at that party that night as she was working at “Texas”. I am thankful she didn’t go. You are an inspiration to me personally.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Kathleen, thank you for sharing such a heartbreaking story- your story- with your readers. I am so sorry for your loss, what you’ve been through, and all the days that followed. You must miss him so much! Your story of loss and faith is an encouragement to others. Blessings to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Losing loved ones is so very hard. It must be so hard to lose a child. Yesterday marked 1 year since my husband’s sister died from cancer. We found out she had cancer 4 days before she died. It’s been a hard year but at the same time, I’ve seen where God has been faithful and where he has given us peace that passes all understanding. Thanks for sharing your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a powerful post! There are no words to express the mix mash of thoughts. So beautifully written! Thank you for sharing! I will reflect on this again.

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. Thank you for this God – honoring post. I especially appreciate the decisions your family made right from the start in the first crashing wave of your grief – not to blame, that you would make it, and that your son is ALIVE. Right now our sons are alive with the Lord and I thank you so much for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Kathleen! I can relate with you so much, The day my life changed forever is also 2013, except that it was in the month of June, June 15 to be exact. I lost my 21-year-old JC to drunk driving. I hold on to God’s promises on Romans 8:28. It is more than three years now and publishing my first book about the disease of alcoholism had been the result of God’s promises for me and my son, and our whole family. I am happy to see you here, always!
    Aui

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Febuarary 18, 2013 we made these same choices. Our precious son, Brandon, stepped into the presence of Jesus.
    Thank you for saying these things so well.
    We voiced our choice like this “A sovereign God has a high and holy purpose in everything he allows”. This will never change.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Miss Kathleen ~ Thank you for sharing your story with me/us. Thank you for sharing Andrew with us.

    Your’s and Ron’s heartbreak comes through so grippingly that the tears stream from my eyes. You and your’s are encouraging to me (and others). I am glad you all were able to grab on to your faith and hold tight to it. I know it is a saving grace as each day comes and goes.

    May today, especially, you and your’s and friends of Andrew speak of him. Remember him, say his name while they opening remember wonderful things about Andrew and the others who dance and sign now on the streets of gold.

    Lovingly,
    Kathleen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Kathleen my sister in Christ…I have read this post multiple times. Your words touch my heart deeply every single time. Your son is beautiful. I know his face and memory will live in the hearts of those who knew and loved him always! Romans 8:28. Your pain will not be wasted. God bless you my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Kathleen my sister in Christ…I have read this post multiple times. Your words touch my heart deeply every single time. Your son is beautiful. I know his face and memory will live in the hearts of those who knew and loved him always! Romans 8:28. Your pain will not be wasted. God bless you my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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