March 11, 2022

Lots of elevens today


March 11, 2011. 11 years ago today we stood at the edge of a cliff I didn’t know existed. Widowhood, betrayal, heart break, humiliation, darkness, and total despair. It was the darkest night of my life watching my babies hurt and knowing that their lives had just changed in a way I couldn’t protect them from—our lives have never been the same. 

This year the emotions have hit me differently than they have in the past. The other day as I watched Kylar jump onto Scott’s lap and throw her arms around his neck and give him a big kiss, I felt tears well up as I thought of this anniversary we had coming up. I felt so much sorrow for Emmett to not be able to give that to his five amazing children. He didn’t just lose his life that day, he lost millions of those moments of being able to make the choice to show up and love them, to feel their tiny arms around his neck and kiss them goodnight. I can’t imagine a place darker than that, or a loss more great. 

I have felt him around them lately, and I know the longing he has to be able to do that one last time. 

If his voice could be heard today I know he would shout from the roof tops and beg other fathers to cherish each moment, and never let one slip by. He would tell them to be present, and not let selfishness stand in their way of what is most important. He would beg them to hold their babies close, and sacrifice anything—if needed—to never leave anything left unsaid or anyone left unloved. He would tell them to make more time count, and never end a day with regrets. He would beg them to stay true, and stay away from the dark. He would tell them to not just be fathers…but to be dads. He knows what it is like to get distracted, and he would want other fathers to learn from what he lost. Time is not the only thief…you never know when yours will run out. 

Emmett you would be proud of the people these babies are becoming. They show me every day what love is. They shine a light so bright it has been the lifeline that kept me going even when I wanted to give up. 

To anyone who has ever felt broken, I have been writing and sharing this story…because I don’t want you to ever feel alone. I don’t ever want someone to feel like I did…that the dark was going win. I know our stories are not the same, and also…I know you know what the darkness feels like, and I am sorry. 

I am sorry for the hurt you have felt, and the times you have cried. I am sorry for the struggles, or people, that have left you questioning your worth. I’m sorry that there have been moments that you didn’t know how to make it better for your babies, and you struggled yourself to get a breath. I am sorry that some days you didn’t know if you would make it through. 

If that is where you are today I want you to know that the morning will come…the day when you wake up and it isn’t because of a nightmare reminding you of today. There will be a moment—someday—when it feels like just a memory. There will be light again. 

Watch for the light. You deserve the light. Look up to the light. Fight for the light.

Today we will remember the light, and take another breath and let go of a little bit more of the pain we found in the dark. Another year reminding us that we still have so much more to live for…and so do you. 

If anyone has a positive memory of Emmett—or a way he, or his story, has touched your life—please feel free to leave them here or on Instagram or Facebook. His children cherish hearing about the things that help them remember the good they want to carry on. 


Anonymous said...

I was a widow at the young age of 22. My husband died tragically in an accident on his motorcycle. I had to learn how to live for me again. It will be our anniversary June 20th. I have remarried and have been married 3 times now. I am about to be 60 years old in July. I have followed your journey since the first dateline episode aired of that awful night you experienced. You have brought so much life back to me by all your words of encouragement. It's a different tragedy but you have taught me that God never lets us go. His faith never goes away. We have to keep that faith and let God take the bad things and learn to live one day at a time through the good and the bad. I have never let my husband's memories go. I keep my story out there and still know he is still watching over me and guiding me. He will be waiting to see me again and I feel his presence all around me. I love to see you so happy and have remained faithful by teaching your children their father always loved them. I used the bible verse about how there is a time for everything. I still check in on how you are doing. I have learned that forgiveness sets us free. Praying for the evil things people do to us helps us to not hold grudges. To stop blaming ourselves. To stay true to ourselves and putting our pain to help others. I will always believe that your husband's tragic death was not his fault. He was dealing with so many evil things that I truly believe none of those things define who he was. People get lost and don't know how to deal with bad situations. I will always believe he loved you and his family. May God continue to bless you through your hard work to help so many others. Your words will continue to help others through awful experiences. Your light is shining on so many others dark days. Please don't stop this journey. I can't wait to see your children follow in their mom's footsteps and know they too will be loving advocates for many years to come.

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