Sunday, August 13, 2017
Sunday, June 11, 2017
The following is the letter I wrote for Rachel's "memorial" when she asked us to participate in the Every 15 Minutes program the year she graduated, 2007. I remembered writing it, but I forgot what I wrote and where I put the letter after it was sent back to us by the director of the program in our area that year, April Hines. I found the letter recently as I was rummaging through a suitcase that contains many of my old papers and writings.
The event was heartrendingly real, emotionally speaking, even though we knew our daughter would be returned to us, safe and sound, at the end. We barely got through it, and were only willing because Rachel was passionate about participating. Jill and I had already been through so much: As a teenager, Jill had been hit by a drunk driver and her two best friends riding with her, Paige Roark and Theresa Motta, were killed; my best friend, Erik Kolar, died from Leukemia when I was 23 and my own sister, Vanessa Alexis Elliott, was killed in a non-alchohol related single-car accident while she was living with me and Jill and our children. Death and tragedy were already too real for us. The things you do for love...
We are old enough to know the worst things can happen. We always hoped and prayed it would never happen to us. But here we are…
Because of the tragedies of the past, we always knew we needed to love you now. If we were taken from you suddenly, we didn’t want to leave you wondering how much we cherished you, how truly special and beautiful a young lady we knew you to be, how very proud we are of your accomplishments and your character. But, now, it is you who are gone, and we are left to wonder… Did you know? Did we make the most of those precious, fleeting moments God granted us to walk this earth with you?
Rachel, we have been so blessed to be your parents. You could not, and you will never know the joy you brought us, just being you, just being our little girl.
We promise you we will not allow the bitterness of this senseless accident poison our memories of you. This will have to be God’s work. Your future was so bright in our eyes, and you were so ready for it. We don’t understand how anyone, drunk or sober, could deprive you of it. Once again, we will have to trust in the wisdom and goodness of God. His promise that everything works together for good and our conviction that you are in a better place are our only consolations now. With His help, that is enough.
We love you, Rachel. If only we could say it to your face.
Mom & Dad