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My Continued Journey of Grief


Well, this is the first time I have written since April. I’m completing my blog on

Father’s Day and two days passed the 19th, which marked six months to the date

and day of the tragedy. May was such an emotional month that I wish we could

have just bypassed it. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was worst then I

thought it would be. First came Mother’s Day and even though I will always be

Brianna’s mom… I didn’t have her to spend it with. Memories took me back to

that wonderful day when Rod and I were the first to welcome her into our family.

I never want to forget that day, but at the same time it brings deep anguish.  Then

came her birthday, and I felt like someone ripped my heart out which caused me

to feel empty inside. Rod and I always had something special planned for her

birthday and it gave us great joy. We were able to view her memorial service by

video and truthfully it was therapeutic for us. We were able to hear all those who

loved her and that brought warmth that surrounded us. To know that Brianna

affected so many in a positive way brought thankfulness to our hearts. Thankful

that Our Heavenly Father used her in such a special way despite the mistakes we

made along the way as parents, He continues to use her story to reach others. My

birthday was exactly a week after and all I could do was remember our shared

memories of last year. Brianna decided to take me to a play in TN, “Annie Oakley”.

We had a blast and she had something special planned for me this year, which will have to be unveiled when we see each other again. I will still be curious to know what her plans were for me. To top off all these events and dates, the date she passed away-the 19th- was between her birthday and mine, so you can see that the events were overwhelming.


 I can’t even imagine going through this without Rod. We’ve been best friends for a long time, more than thirty years so I know he isn’t going anywhere without me. Besides I always tell him… “what would you do without me?” He replies,” nothing “and I tell him, “good answer”. So Brianna started saying, “Mom what would you do without me?” I would say,” I couldn’t live without you.” Wow! how those words really pierce my heart now, because I’m living them.  So even though once happy times bring pain, by God’s grace we will continue on this road of life to further His work and hasten His coming.


It is so hard when you lose someone you love; you admire and trust with your life. Brianna and I would always kid each other that we had each other’s back. In other words we would always be there for each other and protect each other. That is why it has been so very hard for me to write, because it is another step in making this tragedy final. For parents who grieve, there are steps… steps that cement in your mind that your loved one is not coming back. Truthfully, it is so surreal at times I think she is just on vacation and will walk in the front door any moment. So in designing her grave marker, writing words down that will be permanent, cleaning out her room (which I can’t even imagine presntly) are steps in bringing this surreal feeling and making it reality. I don’t know when reality will hit me fully, but all I can do is rely on my Heavenly Father to carry me through one minute at a time.  


I then focus on new memories such as: The exquisite  bench that was made in her memory, the beautifully written poems, a hand crafted cross- - which was a labor of love that marks the spot of the Collison, two hand painted Japanese works of art(in memory of the country she left part of her heart with), the clock propeller that was made just for her( which would have been given to her within weeks), a choral piece that is being composed in memory of Brianna, a remembrance  stone (with a beautiful inscription that was mailed to us from TN to place in our garden as a reminder of her), hundreds of cards, calls, prayers, and interviews that have allowed us to share our story and foundation we have set up in memory of Brianna. I’ve been in contact with several of Brianna’s friends who visit her grave regularly  and recount the times they had with her. They also are dealing with the loss. It brings me such joy to know my “baby doll” has impacted those around in positive ways. These “acts” of love have kept me going and striving to keep her legacy living.


Rod and I know that Satan is trying to distract us so we won’t further the gospel, even by trying to take our salvation away so we will never see Brianna again. One of these distractions was receiving the outcome from the DA which was devastating, because it felt like I was thrown back to that dreadful day all over again. It felt like no one was willing to stand for Brianna. It felt like God even deserted me and I was mad at Him. How patient our Heavenly Father is. He totally understood my frustration and agony and reminded me to just keep focused and truly lean on Him when I just feel like I can’t take another step. He would not let this tragedy be for nothing. He is in control! He is even working this situation out for His glory.


 My husband reminded me that you can’t see the brightness of the stars during the day, but only in the darkness of night; Brianna’s legacy is a star shinning bright. Then I remembered how the Father has given me special promises throughout this tragedy, and He gave me one recently. One morning I was feeling overwhelmed with emotion and wanted some assurance God was with Brianna that dreadful day… that He was in the midst of this tragedy with her. I wanted to be there and yet He had a loving Christian mother there with her. He reminded me how He sent someone special, someone He handpicked. He took me to Psalm 147:4-6 which says… “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground. Then He took me to Isaiah 43:1…” But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O “Brianna”, And he who formed you, “Mary”: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.” Wow! … the words He spoke to the Christian mother (Kimberly ) while she was in the cab of the car with my daughter. He told her “call my child by her name”. Rod and I believe the Father was sealing her right at that moment. Thank you Father! He isn’t some God who is not able to ‘feel’ our infirmities, or when justice doesn’t prevail feels the anguish we are going through. Even through the darkness He wants us to shine in order to vindicate His character to the world. What a privilege for us all.


My prayer is that you are becoming more intimate with your Father and that you are allowing Him to work out the things in your life the way that is best. I just recently read that the prayers that won’t be answered this side of eternity are those that you never dared to ask. Our Father has so much more for us yet we restrict Him by what our limitations. I think many times we trust the words of our spouses and children more than our Heavenly Father. When we ask for our spouses to do something and they give us their word they will, we expect them to do it and we leave it in their hands.  Yet with the Father we question, demand and even tell Him what is best for us. I must admit if I had been shown what was going to happen on Dec. 19th, I wouldn’t have chosen this road, yet my love for the Father has never been stronger. Let Him lead your way and let Him heal you through His sufferings.


As my husband and I walk this road of grief and are able to assist others through our suffering please continue to keep us in your prayers. Please pray that He will continue to use us and work through us in the days to come. Until next time blessings to you all!

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