This story I’m about to tell is very difficult to both speak and write about. Although it has been about 3 years now, the memories and heartache are still very fresh.
In May of 2012 I was in a very dark place in my life. I was struggling with drug addiction and trying to get myself clean. The addiction came from being cut off of my medications from my physician for missing 2 appointments. I hit the street to meet my basic needs to relieve the pain i was in. It led me down a very dark road that i wanted out of, but the pain was more than i could deal with at that time.
Every evening i would call and talk to my daughter Kellie in Dallas Texas, I lived north of Seattle Washington at the time. We would talk about her life, pregnancy and my struggle to get clean. I looked forward to our conversations every night, they brought light to my dark world.
On May 23rd, 2012 in the late evening hours i had tried to call Kellie several times but there was no answer. Soon after, my son Jonathan called me to tell me that Kellie was dead. I broke down, i was a wreck and my son, from 3000 miles away, tried to console me. He was so strong and was very mature, almost like he was my dad trying to console me. Jonathan was there at Kellies side, watching the carnage, yet he was being strong for his dad. I will never forget that.
Jonathan proceeded to explain that Kellie, who was 5 months pregnant, along with my 7 month old grandson Jeremiuh and another family friend had been struck by a drunk driver at nearly 100 miles an hour. Kellie had a severe brain injury, so did my grandson Jeremiuh who was only 7 months old. Jonathan went on to tell me that the family friend, Jeremy Price, had died at the scene of the crash from a brain injury and that Jeremiuh was on life support at Children’s hospital.
The staff at Parkland Hospital put my daughter on life support to try and save the baby she was carrying. Unfortunately the baby suffered a brain injury in the crash as well and died before they could do anything to save him. Kellie’s mother made the staff Keep Kellie on life support even though she had been deceased.
I flew to Dallas the next day thanks to a friends grandmother who bought me a ticket there. Being addicted, i was unsure of how things would work out for me but I didn’t even hesitate to go, that was my baby girl and grandson and nothing else mattered.
I arrived in Dallas with no money and $20 worth of heroin to get me by and keep me from detoxing for a couple of days. After seeing my daughter on life support, it was no question that my life was about to change in a major way.
Kellies mother Gina was there to make my life a living hell, she forged documents that made her and another woman the medical power of attorney and tried to block me from any and all meetings with the doctors and surgeons and kept me from voicing anything over Kellies care. This was her way of grieving.
No matter what, I wasn’t about to leave my daughters side, i lived at the hospital and prayed with her, read to her and played her iPod for her. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months. Every day i watch Kellie struggle to breath, fighting for her life. I did everything i could to try and make things okay. I did her hair, painted her finger and toe nails, helped the nurses with her care and i just kept seeking answers. There had to be a reason for all of this. I thought God was punishing Kellie for my sins, yeah, you get all kinds of thoughts like that during such horrible times. I beat myself up over and over for my failings and short comings.
Trying to make sense of it all led me to the bible. God showed me the answers through His word and in interactions with various people at the hospital. The answer was simple; so many people are making bad choices that no matter how good we are, our lives are going to collide with the consequences of their sins. We are all surrounded by this, no one is exempt.
Now i had the answer, and it was tough to swallow because i was one of those very people destroying our society. I was participating in the very thing that took my grandson and daughter from me. But, now having the answer helped me seek a solution. This was a big one, huge! How do we solve this issue of people making bad choices? How can we make society see and understand the consequences of their choices? It starts with me! Then i teach those around me to do the same, and so on!
I made a video of my daughter and made a plea with people to not drink and drive and put it on youtube. The video has gone viral with over 3 million views on youtube and millions more on other social media sites.
As the video was taking off, i was working on fixing me. I was clean now, had been since the end of June. Now i needed to be the change i wanted to see around me.
I began by reaching out to others who were suffering. There were 2 older homeless ladies that i met near the hospital. I took them to my empty apartment (in Dallas) that i had for showering and preparing food to take back to the hospital with me a couple times a week. I allowed them both to stay there and put their lives back together. “Lisa”, she had an addiction to Crack cocaine and tried but did not succeed. “Kathy”, had an addiction to prescription medications, and many health issues including Hepatitis C. (I’ve changed the names to protect their identies)
Kathy was able to get the help she needed and now has her own place in Dallas, she is almost 70 years old. Although i had a lot on my plate with my daughter in the hospital, i took the time to help direct them both toward the steps they needed to accomplish their goals.
I found great peace and joy helping them both, but mostly i found Gods purpose. We should all be willing to step out of our comfort zone and help those that society has cast aside. God intended for us to love one another as we love ourselves, it is His commandment to us all.
Getting back to my daughter, it was a horrible and eternally scarring situation we were all in. There was so much behind the scenes drama, heartache and unnecessary and intentional pain being caused that i had to start making plans of how to deal with each issue. The biggest issue was forgiving Mathew Moore, the man that killed my grandson and put my daughter in a vegetative state.
The anger and bitterness was overwhelming and all consuming. Waking up to the fact that i was no better than him, that i myself made many choices like he did, was the first step. How could i continue to hate someone that was just like me, he just drew the short straw that night, that was the only difference. God loves him just as much as me and God has forgiven me for things just as horrible. I could not move forward without that understanding and extending the same love, grace and mercy to Mr Moore that Christ had extended to me.
Once i was was able to let that go, i was able to start planning my next move, to change the world!
My daughters entire life was dedicated to her passion for animals and the poor. Now, her path and mission had become mine.
Almost 1 year after Kellies crash i got a call from home, my 26 year old step son John (JJ) was missing, not answering his phone or his door. I told his mother to please have the police make entrance to his home, i had a bad feeling something was wrong. A couple days earlier he had called me and had a long talk about our time together as he grew up. He thanked me for all the sacrifices i had made to give him a good life. The conversation was upbeat and JJ was against suicide and never showed any signs of depression so i didnt think anything bad about our talk. He was very intelligent had lots of friends and made big money.
Sure enough, the police found him inside his home, deceased. I was crushed, just shattered. I was more than 3,000 miles away and couldn’t do anything. Once again i felt hopeless and alone.
I was with a good Christian friend when i got the news, once again, God knew what i needed and provided. There was plenty of time to make the arrangements for his service and i was starting to plan on the funds to go home and bury John when i got the call that Kellie had passed away. That call was almost a relief. Anyone who has watched their child suffer the way Kellie did knows what i mean. My baby girl was finally at peace with God. It was now time to bury my kids and put my life together to honor their memory and to honor God for his love, grace, and mercy through the worst time of my life.
God took me down a path of clarity to righteous living and now it was time to step things up so i started making plans for an animal sanctuary. The problem was finding someone to take me in when i returned to Washington. All my belongings, everything i owned was stolen while i was in Texas with Kellie. Not one of my “friends” was willing to take me in and help me turn my life around.
Just when i was about to give up and accept that i was stuck in Dallas, i came across a guy on Facebook that i had met when i was addicted. He was a pastor of a church in Sedro-Woolley Washington that had offered me a place to stay and start over a couple years earlier. I took the chance and contacted him. Pastor Cliff Williams got back with me and i told him the story of what had happened and what i learned. I also told him my plans to serve God and help animals. Cliff and his family opened their home to me, a complete stranger, who he only knew as an addict with what could have very easily been empty words of a desire to change. I couldn’t believe they would open their home to me, but they had been helping people for years, it was a perfect fit for what i wanted to do. September 5th 2013 i returned to Washington and hit the ground running.
As soon as i arrived i got myself set and anchored in Gods word. I was already familiar with it, i used to be a productive member of society before the divorce and addiction. I spent many hours in several churches and had served as an assistant pastor and Sunday school teachers over the years but never quit got it. Now, i had a church that all served the poor, outcast and addicted. Pastor Cliff took me under his wing and taught me more than i had learned in my 46 years of life. Soon, i was bringing homeless people back to the ranch and helping them turn their lives around. Some were convicted drunk drivers, some were addicts, some were just homeless. I loved my new life, my new home and my new family.
Now it was time to start rescuing animals. I started a facebook page that supported other animal rescue sites around the US and Canada. I helped raise money to get critters the help they needed and got Vets to help fix critters at low or no cost for many people. Then i started bringing in the critters. A friend at another ranch in Monroe had more room so i was able to start sending horses, cows, pigs and other farm type animals there. This was a huge help due to my failing health and limited space at our Ranch.
Over the past year and a half i have turned my life around, helped several others do the same, started a church, rescued several critters and found homes for them, improved my character, and am now shooting for the stars.
I am now purchasing land where I will build a ministry to help those that have been tossed aside by society and for those who are suffering heartache and loss. I’ve decided to become the change I want to see around me.
Thank you all for learning our story and to those that have been supporting me through this.
bless you and thank you,