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 ………….