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. 

Available at and on Amazon. You can also order at your local bookstore.

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

  1. Pingback:  Trip Log 1.3 | kathleenbduncan

  2. Sorry to hear that!
    I see a strong woman – A woman that stands firm in all storms of life.
    One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
    Psalms 27:4-5

    He will hide you in His shelter. He loves you and honour you. He knows you by Name.

    Father in the name of Jesus I pray , comfort for my sister Kathleen and Her family. Oh Lord there is so much trouble for us in this world , the only place we can hide is your shelter. Oh Lord make her stronger then before- equip her with the Holy Spirit as you have a beautiful and bright future . Flourish the purpose and plan you have in this life.

    In Jesus Name

    Dariush Youkhaneh

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Mt heart goes out to you and your family for I know your pain oh so well. I lost my 19 year old son on 5/12/15 I a car accident. Had a cop knock on our door at 2:00 am.
    And yes I can see our sons in heaven more alive then ever. Glad I was able to read this.

    Liked by 1 person

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  35. Now I know your story, and again, I thank you for being so transparent in sharing what you are going through. I am certain you are ministering to so many bereaved parents, including me. I see now that you are on the cusp of two years without your precious Andrew, forever 20, just as our Robert is forever 20 (referring to my previous comment). The causes of our losses are very different, but ultimately the result is the same: we must learn to go through the rest of our earthly lives without them. Thank you for helping us do that; I will be praying for you and your family as you go through this 2nd anniversary.

    Liked by 1 person

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  37. the day my life changed ; March 19th 2005 My brother, Cory (20yrs old) fell asleep at the wheel and died instantly. That bang on the door at 3am from the cops telling me there had been a accident to call my father…I knew before I even called. I ran down the hallway screaming no over and over, I believe even punched the wall at one point! The call confirmed my guess. The hardest part was my father put it on me to call my mom and tell her, her only son is gone… How can I be that person? I still think to this day she resents me for it being me who told her like somehow it was my fault. I shut myself off from the world for 3 years at age of 26 I woke up, a divorced, alone depressed woman who found God was the only one who would understand my grief! He sent me an angel whom I now have been married to for going on 3 years! He and I have a son and life seems better. Life does go on & God makes it possible! He is always a on-time God. I still have “tuff” days when I still miss my best friend but then remember I will see him again! Thank you so much for sharing your story/testimony! 🙂


  38. I am sorry for your loss. We lost my 5year old grandson February 27,2015. He was sent home from school the day before because he was vomiting. By evening he was fine. The next morning he was very pale ,he walked up the stairs from his bedroom, collapsed and died. His birthday is coming up on June 29th just when I feel like I can talk about him without crying and it starts all over. Thank you for your words. My daughter has been so frustrated with things people say (we know they mean well)that upset her.I definitely am going to share this with her. She could use some of the things on your page.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Kathleen, I lost my son 4.5 years ago in a tragic accident at our home, still not sure what exactly happened, no drugs, no injuries, but we think a severe alcohol allergic reaction. I have been drowning myself in my work, (I now have 5 jobs) thinking that I am ok and then the loss of my Dad (we were very close) this past month brought all of the memories of losing Lucas to the surface and I have been struggling terribly. I read your post “What bereaved parents want you to know” out loud to my husband (Lucas’ step father) interrupted by tears but he sat and listened as I felt as if I were reading my life written by me…….You nailed it spot on, in every aspect and I somehow feel a bit of peace. I am so very sorry for your loss but knowing I am not crazy or alone has helped me already. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading your healing words. God truly is good and has blessed me greatly. Thank you again. Angela R

    Liked by 1 person

  40. You are so right in everything you have said. Here is my families story: We lost our oldest son James, on June 29, 1996, at the age of 23, in a car accident. He left behind 4 beautiful children and wife. I can remember that morning that police officer came to our door, just like it was yesterday. Another boy died in the other car. Then on July 1, 1999 a friend of our youngest daughter (Yvonne, just turned 15th on the 19 of June) had just got her drivers license so they were just going to take a ride down the and back. Her friend lost control of the car hit a tree, our daughter got trapped between the tree and car door, dying instantly. On January 31,2000, our Youngest son and his wife had a beautiful baby boy. On May 19,2000 he went back home to live with our Heavenly Father, SID’s. August 27,2010 our oldest grandson William, at the age of 20, was unable to live in this life anymore, and decided to take his on life, at our home. That morning I was getting ready for work and he came in my room and set down beside me on the bed. I ask him “Son is there something you need before I go to work?” And he just said “No grandma I just wanted to set here with you for a few minutes before you go and let you know that I love you.” Still to this day I wish he would have just talked to me that morning. I miss their voices, their touch, the sound of their laughter each and everyday but God has been good to us and gave us more beautiful grandchildren and great grandchildren and I know one day we will all be together again. GOD IS Great!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  41. As I read thru this, I relived my journey. It will be 1 year August 26, 2015; it’s like you read my mind and put it into such beautiful words. I am very strong in my faith, but don’t really know how to literally verbalize what is going on in there. Thank you. My son was the driver (he was 21 yrs old), he and his best friend died on impact. 1 survived 3 weeks in ICU and then went on to be with them and our Lord. The 4th passenger survived and she is recovering. Hugs to you and look forward to reading more of your comforting words. ❤


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  44. I can’t imagine the emptiness and hopelessness people must feel if they don’t believe their loved ones go to a beautiful place. Faith and belief is the one thing that comforts your mind, body and soul when you grieve. You have the most honest and beautiful blog. I hope it is helping you heal.


    • Belinda,

      Thank you for reading my writing. I have healed, not just through my writing, but with the help of God and my faith in Him. I have spent years studying the bible and believe it to be the inspired Word of God. Faith in Him and the promises found in the scriptures bring me peace and joy.

      My prayer is that my words also help others heal from their grief. Regardless of the cause, grief brings similar emotions. Whether you experienced the loss if a child, parent, partner, or friend, or other type of loss, grief is hard. We need help getting through it.

      Liked by 1 person

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  46. Kathleen we lost Kelly the same year July 30th 2013 12:06 pm. She was hit by a truck crossing a busy Texas road. I would say ditto to everything you just said. It was exactly as it unfolded for us. It is exactly what God has done for us. He has kept us in unbelievable and unexplainable moments. Sometimes I cannot get my breath. I know this though God has began a work in me that is fulfilling my life and bringing me comfort in the strangest times. I miss Kelly every single day.

    Much love Tom


  47. I must say that you are a very strong person!
    I am extremely sorry for your loss and I pray to God to give you courage and strength to move forward in peace. Please stay strong forever for your Andrew.
    Take care.


  48. I am sad that you have just observed a full year of Andrew not being with you but as you said and I truly believe….our sons are more alive than they ever were on this earth. To God be the glory…


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