All We Can Do Is Keep Breathing*

Today in my hometown a 14 year old girl was hit by a car and killed.   I know her brother.  I’m friends with his girlfriend.

This morning, while still in that foggy land between asleep and awake, I heard my phone vibrate.
Innocently I glanced at my overnight emails that had come through before I looked at the message that had just arrived:  please pray for my boyfriend’s sister.

Twenty-two minutes later I got a final text: she didn’t make it.

A girl I had never met.  A friend of a friend.  A 14 year old girl.

I couldn’t help it.  I started to cry.  Ugly cry.

My kids stared at me blankly.

“What’s wrong, Mommy?”

I told them.

A girl was hit by a car.  She died.

“Let’s pray for her mommy and daddy and brother, ok?”

(Was I too open with them?  They’re only three and five.)

I know I’m not the only one holding my kids a little tighter tonight.


Alone in the car, after going to see the family, my heart and my mind are searching.

I’m already angry with God.  Confused.

So young.  So much promise.



I wonder…can’t help but wonder…

What if it were me?

What if it were my child?

How can you, as a parent, not think that?

How do you keep going?

I know you must, you do.

But how?

All that I know is I’m breathing.
All I can do is keep breathing.
All we can do is keep breathing now.

The repetitive strains of the song flood my mind.


I can’ t sleep.

And I know that this is why.

I want to write more about it…

but this isn’t about me.

So I’ll pray.

And I’ll ask you to pray.

For love.

For peace.

For…the words that don’t come, can’t come.

*Thank you, Ingrid Michelson for this song.  It touches my heart in so many ways.

7 Responses to All We Can Do Is Keep Breathing*
  1. Marshall
    February 10, 2010 | 9:49 am

    I’ve been thinking a lot about them too, especially with Carter’s prayer for them last night. The out-of-the-blue nature of it is especially hard to comprehend. Like you, I struggle for words and reason…

  2. domestic extraordinaire
    February 10, 2010 | 10:05 am

    I will be praying for this family, for you, and your town. It’s okay to be angry, but we can’t let that anger drive us. Your children are so sweet. It speaks volumes of what you & your hubby are doing right by them when they want to pray for someone that they don’t even know.

    You will be amazed at your community. I know I was when a 13 year old boy fell into the river from the falls up above in our town and passed away. I knew the family, it was hard, but to see those who didn’t know him or the family, people I talked to about it online….it was amazing and it made my heart swell with pride. While I was still angry and confused and knowing it could have been one of my girls that was hurt, the pride I felt being a part of the community here helped to make the pain subside a bit and to just make me look around in awe of those around me.

    I am sorry that this got a bit longer than I wanted but I want you to know that if you need anything you know where to find me. Much love my friend, much love.

  3. punkinmama
    February 10, 2010 | 3:35 pm

    So sorry. I had similar thoughts recently when a husband & dad of 12 (mostly adopted kids with disabilities) died after his car hit black ice. I don’t understand how God could take a man who was so obviously doing so much for Him. It’s hard to comprehend. But we can’t let it paralyze us. Hope your community will surround the family with love and hope.

  4. DesignherMomma
    February 11, 2010 | 6:33 pm

    Big hug my friend. That’s pretty much is horrible.

  5. Secret Agent Mama - Mishelle
    February 11, 2010 | 8:45 pm

    I’m so sorry. 🙁 So sad.

  6. Lynn Bradford
    February 11, 2010 | 9:45 pm

    Just got home from the visitation where an estimated 800-1000 people showed up to show their respects to Courtney and her family. I have also thought like you have, what if it had been one of my children? I do not know how these parents are handling this. As the visitation was ending, the pastor of Greenwood Baptist spoke to the family and a few close friends. He said that we made it thru yesterday, and we have almost made it thru today. We will make it thru tomorrow when it comes. After that we will make it thru each day, but only one day at a time. He said don’t worry about the past or the future. Just focus on today and live it to the fullest. Everything else will fall into place. Brittney is going to sit tomorrow with Tyler and his family during lunch and the service. Please keep her in your prayers. urch.

  7. Robin ~ PENSIEVE
    February 13, 2010 | 7:05 am

    Less than a year ago one of my daughter’s friends/classmates was in a car accident that took his life; the driver, another friend, lived (he’s fine with some limitation). He had just celebrated his 17th birthday and the middle-of-the night call ended in the kind of deep-hearted sobbing I had rarely known.

    It’s community rocking.

    Can I offer you this without sounding trite or “religious” or making it too easy? — This didn’t catch God by surprise and He’s in the midst of the circumstance. Somehow in the ways that only He knows (and that can infuriate and devastate us from a human perspective) He can work this for good…. I believe that because I’ve seen the changes in people, students, parents since Ryan’s accident. His life touch many but his death touch 10 times that.

    I hate he lost his life; I still can’t believe it almost a year later. But I’ve seen glimpses of holiness in the midst…and transformation in others.

    I grieve with you as one who “knows”; and I’m so sorry for the unspeakable loss.

    But there’s a peace in clinging to the promises of God…and believing He does have a plan in the circumstance.

    {{hugs and prayers}}