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LIFE | It isn't always pretty

Monday, October 27

This is my beautiful cousin, Holly, with her adorable daughter, Maddie.
I took these two photos about 5 years ago at a Thanksgiving Dinner we were having at my aunt and uncle's house.

Last week…on Thursday evening, October 23rd…
Holly's life was taken by someone at gunpoint, while she was alone in her car.

As you might imagine...this is the hardest post I've ever had to write.
This is the most tragic, shocking thing our family has ever experienced.

This blog is a "safe place" filled with ongoing inspiration to celebrate the beautiful things in life.
This post today is anything BUT beautiful.
Which is why I really battled back and forth on whether or not to even share this here.
It's so private and so devastating and so ugly.
But how could I not share it?
This is "Keeping It Real" in the absolute truest sense possible.

The reality isn't always pretty.
There is pain.
There is hurt.
There is loss.
There is suffering.
And there are unspeakable acts of violence committed every. single. day. in this world.

This harsh reality of life is unfortunately my reality right now.
My heart is so heavy.
My family and I are experiencing a tragedy.
A tragedy I only thought happened to other people…
to other families…and certainly only in the news.
(So say all of the many others who have experienced the shock of something so devastating).

Please keep our family in your prayers…if you are the praying type.
Especially lift up little Maddie…who now has to grow up without her mommy.

And pray for Holly's mom and dad…my aunt and uncle.
Pray for Holly's sister Chrystal…and her brother Charlie.
Pray for all of us.
And pray that the person responsible will be found and held accountable.

While we are grieving and working through all of the thick pain and emotion of this…
I'm trying to focus on Holly's smile…and how it could light up a room.

I came up with this today…and I'm dedicating it to Holly!

We're all going to eventually find our smiles again Holly!
Right now we're just going to have to hang onto yours!
Love and miss you!
Give Grandma and Grandpa a big hug for me!!

With the funeral later this week…
helping with details of a baby shower for another family member…
finalizing Save-the-Dates for an upcoming wedding of a friend's daughter...
and finishing up 80th birthday party invitations for another friend...
you must know my emotions are ALL over the place.


Janessa said...

So sorry for your loss~ How tragic to lose someone that way. We lost my dad in May and it is still so shocking and surreal. Prayer, family and hope of reunion is all that helps. ~

Pen + Paper Flowers said...

I so appreciate your comment Janessa! And I'm pained to know you lost your dad in May. Loss is very surreal…it's stinging and raw and I don't like it one bit. None of us do. The love and concern and reaching out of others certainly helps - so thank you. Thank you for taking the time to comment…especially when your heart is still hurting so much. Hugs!!

Unknown said...

I pray for God's love and light to sustain you and your family through this very difficult time. Holly still is, I won't say "was," a beautiful spirit. It comes through in her pictures. Thank you for sharing, and know you have many prayers sent up for you.

Anonymous said...

I sit here weeping at your story. I am so very sorry for you and your family. A loss in any family is terrible, but this kind of senseless and tragic death adds to the devastation. I know this devastation intimately, so wish you peace and comfort in the days, weeks and months ahead. Hugs to you.

Unknown said...

I sit here weeping at your story. I am so very sorry for you and your family. A loss in any family is terrible, but this kind of tragic, senseless death adds to the devastation. I know this devastation intimately. My wish for you is peace and comfort in the days, weeks and months ahead. Hugs to you.

Linda said...

A very nice tribute to your cousin. I am so sorry for your loss. No death is easy, but one so horriffic has to be much harder for you and the family. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Take care.

Koral said...

I'm so sorry this tragedy struck your family, and this beautiful little girl. I pray God surrounds you and your family with his love and light to sustain you all during this difficult time. You're in my prayers.

jackie fo said...

What a tragedy, I am so very sorry for your loss. She was beautiful.

Julie said...

I am so sorry for your tragic loss. What a shocking and surreal thing to happen. My prayers are with you all especially little Maddie.

Pam in IL said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Please know that you and your whole family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Kelly said...

Jessica, I have been a follower of your blog for awhile now, this is certaintly devistating news. I am sorry your family is going through this. I know you are a strong woman and continue to try to stay positive. I pray that God will continue to give you that strength throughout this time. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Kelly B

Renee said...

Dearest Jess,

Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts, prayers and in my heart. I am so very sorry for the loss of your cousin.

May she be a blessing to you always. I am here for you if you need a friend.



Anonymous said...

Jessica, I just found your blog today, and feel like I would love to be best friends with you! We have so many things in common... Then I saw the post about Holly and my heart sank. I am so very saddened by this tragedy, for all of your family, and especially Maddie. Thankfully she has the love and support you all can give her. Holly was a beautiful girl, and you're right, her smile was amazing! I pray for God to grant you peace, and forgiveness, when you're ready for it. My husband was brutally attacked by several gang members a few years ago and survived, but he now has AIDS because of it. Anger can consume us, if we let it. I pray you can move past it, so your heart does not become bitter. I pray for justice, and for healing hearts for all of you. I hope you can continue to celebrate the memory of Holly in some way, every day, for she lives on in all of you. I will keep you in my prayers! God bless all of you!!

‘What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.’
— Helen Keller

Pen + Paper Flowers said...

Hi Chris -

I've been wanting to respond to you - in fact, I thought I already had but I'm not seeing it posted.

Just wanted you to know how much it means to me for you to have taken the time to leave a comment - especially for just having found my blog!

I cannot even imagine having to go through what you and your husband have had to go through emotionally (and physically). I appreciate you sharing your story and I've been so inspired by the light you continue to shine despite it all. Thank you for reaching out. Thank you for being here.

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