For those of you who do not already know, my two cousins passed away on Saturday around 9:30am. I got the call while I was sitting at the church office working on the paper that I am currently trying to work on. I went into the sanctuary and sat on my knees in the very back. I knew I needed to pray but no words would come. "Dear Lord Help!" Shock, I was overcome with shock. I calmly saved my paper, slipped my notes into the folders, put my jacket on, grabbed my car keys, and headed home. That was a rough drive.
First let me start by telling you a little bit about my two cousins and our family.
With 13 aunts and uncles, 18 cousins, over 100 acres of farm land, and a Family owned and operated business, we are a clan . . . The Thacker Clan. Growing up it was instilled in each of us the importance of family. We worked together, played together, cried together (only if we were bleeding), and fought together.
|My brother Jacob's wedding on the farm. The whole Family.|
As a little girl raised on a farm, surrounded by boys, I was taught to be tough. I jokingly say that I was "just one of the boys." We built forts out of hay and old skids, chased each other on dirt bikes, golf carts, and go carts, spent hours and hours looking through the woods for buried treasure and worked the soil to grow enough tommy toe tomatoes that we could purchase a horse.
|Kyle and Kody in our hay fort|
|me, Jacob, John, Joseph, Keith and Kyle|
|Kody sitting on a skid that we tied to the mule to pull him around|
|Kyle and I|
Life seemed simple. You got up in the morning, threw on some old clothes (that you probably wore the day before) and headed to Mawmaw and Pawpaw's house. You never had to worry about what you were going to do that day, or what kind of fun was to be had, because there was ALWAYS something..
We were cousins, but raised like siblings.
|Our last photo taken together. Mawmaw and all the grandkids|
On Saturday morning Kody, age 19, was loading an old shotgun when it misfired, hitting his brother Kyle, age 23, in the back of the head. Kody, seeing what he had done, became distraught and turned the gun on himself. We know this because there were friends present when this horrible accident took place.
The most difficult thing for me has been watching my uncle grieve the loss of his two sons, my cousin, Keith, grieve the loss of both his twin brother and baby brother, and my little brother grieve the loss of his best friend. It's a nightmare that we can't wake up from.
|My uncle with his son Kyle|
I am trying my darnedest to not dwell on what happened, to instead focus on all the happy memories, and the way our family is getting through this difficult time, but it's hard.
|Kody, Lacey, Keith, Kyle, and David|
Life does goes on.
The things that happen change us, but hopefully for the better.
|Me and my two little brothers, John and Jacob.|
Through this whole ordeal I have felt such a closeness to God, so has my family. In some way we have all been touched by, what I believe to be, the Holy Spirit. God is there, we just have to be quiet enough and still enough to notice.
On Saturday morning the last thing I wanted to do was work on a seminary paper. I wanted to snuggle with my children and drink coffee with my husband, and enjoy the sunshine of the unusually warm Febuary day. But I forced myself to drive over to the church so that I could get the paper done before class on Monday. When I arrived I noticed a small bird sitting by the door of the church. "oh GREAT, a dead bird. That's just what I need today." But when I bent down to gently move the bird to the side so that I could open the church door, I was startled when the bird started walking towards me. I reached out my hand to offer the little fella a bit of my apple and while he was examining the apple I pet him and talked to him and kept thinking how cool it was that this, what seemed to be healthy, bird was letting me get so close.
|this is the photo that I sent to Roger on my phone that morning|
The bird continued to sit outside the church door while I started working on my paper. I tried to scare him away by banging on the door because I wanted to make sure his wing wasn't hurt, but he just sat there, staring at me.
When I recieved the call about my cousins I walked out of the office and stood by the door. The bird then flew away. I just KNOW that was God sending one of his creatures to comfort me, to give me hope for the days to come.
Thank you all so much for the prayers. It is hard to truly describe how much they have helped except by saying that somehow our massive family is growing closer and getting stronger through this. I KNOW that we are not doing this on our own. It is the strength of God, the hope that He has filled us with, that is helping our family to smile and laugh once again.
Kyle and Kody will be missed so much, but I just know those two buckaroos* are having a grand time with PawPaw up in Heaven. The thought of that makes me so happy!
― Wendell Berry in his book Jayber Crow
*buckaroos is what our Pawpaw called us grandkids