I am glad to see this area's caring heart.
When I wrote the column that appeared in the Jan. 29 edition of The Mirror, I never thought I would receive this kind of response from it. People I've never met have told me how sorry they were to hear about the loss of my cousin.
Every time someone comments on that piece, the memories of Christen come over me like a flood. And I'm thankful that they do.
I like to remember her laughing so hard she started to snort. I smile when I think about all the golf cart rides in the freezing weather around our grandparents' yard. I'll never forget the way she always said "I love you" right after picking on me to ensure I wouldn't be angry.
I know these memories will be easier to take as time goes on, but for now they are still fresh. They still strike the chord in my heart that says "I'm sad that she's gone." So when you approach me about her, please be patient. I may not have much of a response.
My lack of a reply comes from remembering the fun times (there were no other kind when she was around) and trying to maintain composure, knowing that we won't be able to share any more of those moments on this side of eternity.
Don't get me wrong; I appreciate everyone's kind words. I know that writing about it helped me to articulate what I was thinking. I just hope it helped others recognize their need for God.
I hope that people who read my column realize how we are never promised tomorrow. We should get right with God and with other people while we still have the chance. We never know when we will lose that chance.
Although it's difficult to believe that Christen won't be there the next time we eat a family dinner, I can take refuge in the fact that she is where she will never be hungry again.
I know she was right with God. I know she trusted Jesus as her Savior and obeyed him as her Lord. I have no doubt where she is, and I thank God that He can use a 16-year-old to show adults what faith is all about.
I still believe this loss will change lives in a big way. I pray if you have not placed your trust in Jesus that you take this opportunity to do so.
We all have to deal with losing loved ones, but it doesn't have to be debilitating. A week after Christen's death we received a call from my in-laws. They told us that my wife's cousin had hit an 18-wheeler and died.
My wife had not seen him in several years, but she is not sure if he was a Christian. That unknown still haunts her.
Don't make guesses about your eternity. Know for sure that your place is reserved in Heaven. If you do, your loved ones will have an indescribable peace once you're gone -- just like my family has today.