I lost my 17-year-old daughter, Nicole Marie, on New Year’s Day 2007 in an auto accident that involved my entire family.
At the time, I was alone, not knowing how to move forward while keeping my life in order as I raised my then 11-year-old son. I was angry at God. Most people could understand blaming Him. But then I prayed and asked Him to lessen my pain, comfort my heart, and help me find a new path without bitterness.
When we hurt, we want to hide or run away. After raising my son to an age where he was ready to live his own life, I moved away for a couple of years to a small town. I only knew three people and I took an interest in working on a ranch with horses, chickens, and cows. I found my inner peace with these animals and became more aware of my feelings and the connection with God’s beauty. It was then I found purpose in my story of tragedy. I found a way to inspire, give hope, help others heal, and honor my daughter Nicole’s life and legacy.
In 2016, I founded the non-profit, Remember Me Always Foundation. It is a small organization that assists with in-the-moment necessities such as urns, plaques, wakes, memorial keepsakes, flowers, etc., when putting a loved one to rest. I also have a podcast, Stories of Hope, where I sit down one-on-one with individuals walking their journeys of loss, tragedy, illness, survival, or change, but who offer hope. I also highlight other non-profit organizations that are great resources to our communities.
My mission is not only to help, heal, educate, inspire, and give hope but to give a safe space for people to share their stories. Where some may feel they are alone, they find that by sharing their journey, they help themselves and others as well.
If you have lost a child, your pain is real. There will be days and times you will scream, cry, be angry, and ask, “Why?”. Never let the memory or legacy of your loved one die. It is through your words, pictures, and stories of them that they will live on. Their physical absence and void can never be replaced, but how you live your life with your love for them will make each day a little easier.
Your journey is your own. Let no one influence you to think differently. There will be individuals who will say things without knowing they have hurt you. Choose to believe that their hearts are in the right place. Should people leave your life, it isn’t because of your loss, but because they can’t understand it, relate to it, or they don’t know what to do or say.
Hope is a small word with a big expectation and meaning. Allow yourself time to cry, but also remember to celebrate the days you were given with your loved one. Don’t stay stuck in your grief for too long, but do give yourself time to adapt to your new norm. Time does not heal all wounds. You will never be the same person you were before your loss, but there can be a new you that is born. Love never dies. ~Christine
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