Whoa what an emotional week I have had.  Wednesday was the first day of school for my kids and what SHOULD have been Skylar’s first day of her Senior year….ahhh the year she’d been dreaming of for so long.  I have been waking Sky up and sending her off to start a new school year since she started Pre-School at age 3 …… there are NOT even words to express how low and sad I felt on Wednesday …. I had to sit in her room for a few moments alone and just let the tears fall and the pain absorb me. I’ll never get used to this thing called death and I will certainly never get used to not having my first-born child by my side….I’m utterly and completely exhausted from fighting to just keep my head above water. God grant me peace.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last several weeks of things that I have learned, been reminded of or even challenged with as a result of a tragedy of this magnitude and one that has played out in front of the world to see … literally living in a fish bowl for the past 10 + months.

Here are my thoughts: (in no particular order; just shooting from the hip)

1. EVERYONE has an opinion

2. Most do NOT know how to keep that opinion to themselves

3. Many are suddenly experts on parenting, driving, forensics, police work etc

4. Many think this could never happen to them

5. Not everyone has your best interest at heart

6. Many people love a good tragedy (aka misery loves company)

7. Everyone wants to be your “friend” — (it’s the cool thing ya know)

8. You find out who your “REAL” friends are  – fairly quickly

9. Many people talk TOO much

10. Way too many people believe everything they see and hear — including what’s in the media (HUGE mistake people….if you are over the age of 16, shame on YOU if you believe everything you hear and read, SHAME ON YOU!)

11. There are people who like to see others fail and/or hurt (sad but true)

12. Many people don’t really care that you’re hurting and living the WORST pain imaginable …they will STILL knock you down and fail to treat you with TLC (cruel world indeed)

13. People can be very dumb

14. NO words will take this away or make me feel any better – NONE

15. Telling a grieving mother that “it will all work out, it was God’s will, you’ll be ok… or anything of the like is just plain dumb

16. MOST of the time I just need a listening ear, a hug, an I love you or to hear Skylar’s name spoken… I’m not seeking your advice, unless I ask for it.

17. Everyone else gets to move on in life… I do NOT… not ever

18. I will ALWAYS be a grieving mother.. this will always hurt..I will always be incomplete on this earth

19. I am often difficult, moody, sensitive and afraid …. this tragedy has left me this way. Sad reality

20. I get mad at God, and that’s ok.

21. People are VERY judgemental …what a sad, sad way to be

22. People can be very cruel

23. People are selfish

24. My kids are hurting more than most realize

25. Skylar was loved by SO MANY

26. Skylar touched the hearts and lives of people who I never dreamed of

27. I have a solid group of friends and family that would conquer the world for me

28. God has a plan (ugh I HATE that term, but I know it is true)

29. God comforts me when I want to give up

30. Skylar speaks to me and hugs me at the perfect times

31. Be kind to everyone for each of us is fighting some sort of battle

32. Death does not escape any of us ….live with purpose

33. No matter how much you pray for your children or try to protect them… accidents happen and so does life

34. Don’t ask a grieving mother if she is “okay”

35. There is no handbook or road map on grieving the loss of a child

36. PTSD is a REAL thing

38. NO ONE (except God) will understand my exact pain … I have to get used to that

39. I can take as long as I need to grieve, be angry, question etc

40. I will never have the answers on this earth as to WHY this happened

41. There are NO guarantees in life…spend your time on this earth wisely and with people who matter

43. God never promised us easy or fair on this earth

44. Everyone needs someone they can depend on and lean on

45. I believe in the power of prayer

46. I will NEVER  stop talking about or reminiscing about Skylar (or Soph & Jules)

47. Everyone deserves forgiveness … in due time ….

48. It’s ok to feel misunderstood

49. The peaks and valleys are unpredictable

50. Losing a child is worse than I ever even imagined it to be… and I already imagined it as hell on earth

51. Having your child’s death as national news is NOT easy

52. I will spend the rest of my days making sure these girls are never forgotten

53. Fear is real

54. I no longer fear death

55. I have become good at pretending/acting

56. I hope and pray my story and journey helps others

57. I am humbled by the amount of support we have all been shown

58. There are still good-hearted people in this world

59. I will always keep the faith

60. Faith, Hope and Love is the only way to survive this world

I love you more sweet angels……. XOXO


But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31


11 thoughts on “Lessons

  1. I recently lost my firstborn. My only son. Also a graduate of Bellbrook that grew up by the Kerrigans. Played football with their son. A year older than Lucy and remembered the times spent with her and how young and playful Sophie was. Hard to believe not long after the girls passing, he would join them. It meant a lot that Lucy and her mother came to Joes visitation and the words of a grieving mother and sister to help a newly grieving family. My daughter found your blog and texted me to follow it. I can’t tell you how comforting it’s been to hear the thoughts and emotions from the perspective of a mother who’s recently lost a child. Thank you for taking the time to express your grief. Your thoughts. Your emotions. Your blog has been the single most comfort I’ve found since losing my boy. And I am truly sorry for your loss. And grateful that your blog has given me the gift of knowing who your daughter was and what she meant to so many people.

  2. Kelli, I do not you personally but you have been on my mind lately. I’m so incredibly sorry for what has happened to you and your family. No mother should ever have to lose a child ever. EVER. Then reading this post makes me even more sad. I’m so sorry people are so cruel to you. I was recently out with some people and you came up to say hi to one of my friends. Well one of the females, a parent mind you, said something stupid about you. I don’t know what came over me but I had to tell her off. How could you be so rude to someone that you don’t even know and is going through complete hell. Then I called her ugly on the inside. I don’t understand how women can be so cruel to other women. We should empower each other. You are such a beautiful person inside and out that I think it has to be jealousy. Whatever you do to keep you happy keep on doing it. You deserve happiness in your life. I pray for you constantly. I pray that things get better for you. Keep your head up and keep smiling girl.

    1. Brooklyn, thank you. I have gathered some pretty tough skin over the years and I’ve learned that people can be pretty cruel but I know who I am and what I stand for….thank you for your encouraging words. xoxo

  3. Matthew 11:28-30
    28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    I heard this verse and immediately thought of you. I hope you know that you are touching people’s lives!

    I came across your blog after searching about the accident. Your words are truly an inspiration and reminds me every day that we need to be more thankful, less judgemental and more accepting of one another. We often forget to stop and look around at this beautiful life and give thanks that God gave us another day. I hope you find a more comfort every day and the burden of this sadness and pain eases from your tired shoulders. I hope the tears lessen and the smiles become more frequent. Don’t ever feel like it’s not okay to be sad or continue to grieve. I can’t imagine what you and your family must be going through. Skylar taught you how to be a mom and that’s the greatest gift one will ever have. I pray for your family to find strength in times of sadness and light in times of darkness. God bless.

  4. Keep pushing ahead, even if seems like it is 1 step forward, 2 steps back at times. We have never met but I have followed your blog since the accident. I know your brother Jon and a close friend of yours. Your list of things that you have observed can be applied to many aspects of all of our lives and is good stuff to remember, we all need reminders like this. God bless you and your family.

  5. I don’t know you personally, or your family but I always read your blog. I know I don’t even know an ounce of the pain you’re feeling but I pray for you and all loved ones affected by this accident every night. I pray that you have good dreams with skylar in them and that you never ever forget the sound of her voice. It is okay not to be okay. You are a great mother to your children and you have every right to be angry, sad, and question why God did this. Cry all you need. I do believe this accident has inspired so many teens to stop and think before they get behind the wheel of a car. The world is a cruel terrible place and I know for a fact those girls are smiling down on you and everyone else. They’re in a place where there is nothing but happiness and love and you will one day have her in your arms again. You found sky’s phone for a reason and it was a sign from her for sure. You will never fully recover from this, I’m almost sure but I do know god will give you strength to get through each day. You’re a strong person and most in your situation would have turned to drugs or alochol or even worse. You will never leave my prayers. God heals and I know he will help you with this. Do anything you can to bring happiness in your life, you deserve it!

  6. Thanks Kelli,

    All that you share means something and I so want to try to live my life by following your #31 below:

    Be kind to everyone for each of us is fighting some sort of battle.

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