Dealing with the loss of a child is something you can only truly understand if you have had to experience it yourself. Finding someone who truly understand your loss to lean on is priceless according to a group of mothers we found, who continuously find strength in each other and the power of prayer.
You might remember Lori Johnson, we've told you about her 14 year-old daughter, Sarah, who was killed in the Greenlawn bus crash three and a half years ago. Now meet three of her friends Marla, Gwen, and Delores, three ladies that know exactly what it is like to lose a daughter.
"On December 14th almost a year ago, she was riding with a classmate, who ran off the road and overcorrected, and she rolled the vehicle two times and Kelsi was thrown out," said Marla Cook.
"She was killed on December the 14th 2000, she was coming home from a band concert at school. I had let her drive she had her license for two weeks, just not enough experience. We believe she saw a deer and overcorrected, that caused her to flip her car several times and was ejected and died," said Delores Davis.
"On Labor Day September second, Deidra was riding a four wheeler with her cousin down at the deer lease and she was going a little too fast, a little to far from home, and it got out of control, and she hit a barb wire fence," said Gwen Smith.
Sarah was a violinist, 16 year-old Kelsi was a free spirit, a people person, 16 year-old Sunnie was an athlete, and little Deidra, only 9 years-old was a tumbler. Four young girls who's lives touched so many and were taken too soon, but thanks to the power of prayer, friends, family, and each other these ladies get up each day and keep going.
"It makes all the difference in the world, because if you've never had a tragedy of this type you can't relate. It is so wonderful to be able to go to someone who has experienced this and not have to explain everything, because your feeling some pretty radical feelings your feeling a lot of anger, sadness, sorrow every gamut and it's priceless to be able to call or email one of these nice ladies and say 'I'm having a Sarah day,' and they converge on me and support me and lift me up. It's wonderful to not have to explain all of the emotions and terrible things I'm feeling things that you wouldn't understand if you weren't standing in my shoes," said Lori.
Lori contacted each of these ladies a few months after their daughters were killed. She invited them to join her at her restaurant, Sarah Belle's Tearoom, to talk and offer the unique support that only they could give to one another.
"I remember one of the times when we would meet, my husband said 'please don't come home sad,' and I said 'you know I never come home sad when we get together because it's such a healing experience when we're together and that's what its about," said Delores.
All four have turned to God in prayer for comfort, guidance, and answers. They also all agree they would not have survived a day without it. "I pray and pray and pray everyday for peace and happiness and joy in our home, with our lives with our other daughter, it's always been a part of our lives," said Gwen.
"How do I get by? When I think about her, I think about the good times, and I think about the fun memories, and I laugh about the things she does and knowing that she's looking down on me and what she would expect to see from me. She would not expect to see me roll up in a ball and do nothing and I don't for her, everything I do I do for her because I know that everyday I survive I'm one day closer to being with her," said Marla.
Ironically prayer has led all four of these ladies to open their hearts to another child. Lori's family adopted a little girl from Russia, Marla is pregnant with a little boy that's due in just a few weeks, Delores adopted an infant and is in the process of adopting two more, and Gwen's family is hoping to host a Russian child this month. The women say these new family additions are not to replace the child they lost, but to help fill the void, the empty house, and to give the mother's a chance to be a mother a little while longer.