Prisoner of Hope – Our Darkest Day

Part 1 …….

I am about to bring to you, Reader, a personal account of great loss to me and my family.  I will open to you an experience of great loss and grief and, at the same time, great victory and triumph and peace for us.  I hope that you can glean from our hurt and loss to apply to yours or to help someone you love.

In January of 2005 I worked in a small town Police Department on the East Coast of the United States.  It was a normal day in my life – went to work, I knew at four o’clock I would drive home and feed the dogs and myself (my husband worked evenings so I wouldn’t see him until very late) and just relax with the TV or a book.

Our children were all adults by this time.  One married and living about 4 miles away from us.  Our daughter on the West Coast and  a son in China studying Mandarin and the youngest living in the Mid-West.  It was a bit lonely since we were a close family but communicated by phone regularly and saw the oldest often with his wife and our grandsons.

In the afternoon, while still at work, I felt a strong desire to call my daughter and see if all was OK.  I had seen on CNN that there were heavy rains in Southern California and that always meant possible mud-slides.  I called her and she said everyone was home in the small community of LaConchita due to mud on the main freeway.  That was pretty normal there in the winter months.  She sounded a bit afraid.  She told me there were reports of possible tornados and I asked if she was near a hill.  She said she was fine there and we told each other, “I love you”.

Those were the last words I heard our only daughter say to me.  My heart broke that day.

She, along with 9 others perished as the hillside broke free and covered several homes and streets.  A mother and her three young daughters perished next door while their dad went for ice cream.  It was a heartbreaking day in La Conchita that January 10th, 2005.  And a heartbreaking day for our family.

Being on the east coast was difficult.  I received a phone call from a friend that told me what happened and at the time all they knew was that my daughter was missing.  I immediately called my husband and he came home from work so we could pray and wait.  We had to call our sons.  We called Jonathan, who lived the closet and our youngest, Kirk, who was in Missouri.  We decided to wait to call Matthias who was in Shanghai, China until we knew the outcome.

That night was the longest night of out lives.  Waiting is hard on a normal basis.  But to be waiting the outcome of a tragic situation is pure hell.  We are a God-fearing family with a personal relationship with our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We try our best to trust and depend on Him to guide and carry us through life.  We are human.  We lack trust often and lack faith often.  But one thing I can say that was proven that dark day in January of 2005 is that we have a Hope in God that is anchored deep.  Meaning that when the clouds crash down on you and all looks dark – we saw an anchor fastened deep that would carry us all through this dark, hurtful time.

…………… to be continued ………….

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27 Replies to “Prisoner of Hope – Our Darkest Day”

  1. I am asking God to help me speak here, I am crying here….I can see your hurt and feel your hurt, but also I can understand you and the “Anchor” that made you all stronger
    Vanessa will never be forgotten, her memory will be alive in this page, in all our hearts and in Heaven where she feels no pain and looks down at you and guides you.
    Your faith amazes me,, And please I am speaking from Scotland where faith is not so big, I have 3 kids, 2 sons (19 and 21) 2 daughters (2 and 4) Had this happened to me I know I would question my faith, at least I think I know, it is the logical thing to assume.

    You are so strong to come through this as you have done and you are a credit to Vanessa and all she stood for in life. You and your husband brought her into the world, made her an amazing person. She left you too soon, but your faith is so strong, I know you will be able to hold her once more. I can’t begin to understand what losing a child feels like. I know a few friends who have lost their kids, one was an 8 year old girl from a form of Cancer. Watching them live on and work and laugh I admire their strength so much.Same as I do yours and your family and friends.
    My friend told me about a year after he lost his 8 year old Daughter, “I need to take on step at a time, one breath at a time and live for my Son and my wife” And he also said “No what if’s”

    I am glad I found this to read and thank you for sharing your heart with mine. You are a true inspiration to me and my way of thinking and loving/caring and being. The love in me is strong. Through my pain, I developed an understanding of “Love” and how to “Care”
    I can hardly see my screen here for tears and my Partner is behind me crying also, holding me tight. When I am done reading I am going to hum my daughters and try not to cry in front of them.

    You touched my heart this day. You reached inside my soul, my being and taught me something. I don’t know what yet, I just know you did. I believe everything happens for a reason, I have always thought this way. It helps me. Please, I hope it is ok to lave a song for Vanessa

    Tight Hugs..
    Shaun
    x

    1. Aw, Shaun, thank you – hugs to you. All you said touches my heart….. and go ahead and let the kids see you cry – it will touch them in ways you don’t see yet. Our kids need to see us vulnerable sometimes.
      (I have many Scottish ancestors – by the way)

      1. Yeah, I guess you are right. Maybe in Daddys eyes, he doesn’t want to see his babies cry?

        And tell me more about your Scottish ancestors when you can, I can at least show you your family tartan and a few other things…
        I look forward to getting to know you better.
        And you we both touched each others hearts ..
        Always a 2 way street.

        Hugs
        x

            1. I will dig out the mysterious family history —- my mom was tight lipped. But she came from Cambell’s and Crawford’s and Moffit’s. One of our sons was in Scotland with his wife last summer and actually saw the Queen and Kate as they were on – whatever they do – I think in Edinburgh

              1. I live in Edinburgh, Check, did this 2 weeks ago..
                http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/edinburgh-scotland-in-pictures/
                Cambell’s and Crawford’s and Moffit’s OHHH..They went against William Wallace 🙂 (Scottish Joke)
                We in Scotland have very little time for the Royals. If any do, they keep it to themselves. In a world of greed, we just see them as greed while the “Normal People” struggle on..True story..

                Small world isn’t it 🙂

                x

              2. hahaha – it is a small world. I will check it out.

                Oh – and my favorite author is George MacDonald – familiar with him?

              3. My partner or my son have this on Box Set, I am more into the Sopranos, Stargate etc, lol, and can paraphrase every episode of friends word for word 🙂

                My partner is trying to get me to watch Continuum. Time Travel, Dawns says I love it, so I will try it.

                What is Fringe about x

              4. Fringe is about parallel universes and strange phenomenon – some time travel – good old SYFI.
                Sopranos – I’m a Jersey Girl – the right kind – I understand New Jersey hahaha

              5. AHHH…I like that…Love that end of the world..
                And Fringe sound my cup of bananas..
                Really might dload it..

                Ta x

  2. May Allah bless her soul and help her in life here after.
    I can understand the pain of losing love ones. But the pain of a mother , who lost her child is something very very intense and huge. I am so sorry.
    You are a strong person. You shared this with us and i have no idea what exactly you have gone through while writing this. I just read 2 parts and i am feeling grief.

  3. Cate,

    I am so sorry. I went back and started reading your older posts. My heart hurts for you. I remember that day. I remember where I was when this story hit the news. I cried for all the victims and their families. You handled this trial with grace and tenacity.

    God bless you.

    ~ Darling

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