Time & Trae..

On October 26th, 2016, I went to bed and everything was fine. On October 27th, 2016, at 3:47 in the morning, I woke up to a call from my dad.

“Kaci,” He said. I could tell something was wrong… really wrong. “Kaci, I don’t know how to tell you this, but your little brother was shot and killed last night.” {Those are not the exact words probably, but it was 3 in the morning and I had just been told the worst news ever.)

Time… At 3:47 AM October 27th, 2016, my life changed. I remember, as I started having a panic attack, dropping my phone. Lowell had to pick up my phone and ask my dad what was going on. I could hear their conversation, but I didn’t want to.

We go around and headed down to mom and dad. This whole time, all I could say was “no.” How could this be happening? I had heard of this happening to others, but never imagined it would happen to my family. A ride that normally takes 15 minutes felt like hours. We finally arrived at mom and dad’s. We could see people in the kitchen. Mom and dad met us at the door, giving hugs and holding tight. Everyone was crying. How could this be happening?


Time is defined as a limited period or interval, as between two successive events. That is just one of the many definitions.

In Ecclesiastes chapter 3, it talks about a time for every purpose under the Heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Right now, we are doing all of these. We cry and we laugh. We mourn and we dance.

It has been 19 days since Trae was killed.  The past 19 days have been a blur. A lot had happened in the past 19 days.

I guess I should start with right before 9:35 on October 26th, 2016. Trae was on his way home from The Madison House, a place he volunteered at to help kids with homework and have fun with. Him and three of the other ACTS students were there helping. They were on their way back to ACTS when a random man shot at their car and hit Trae, killing him. This man had been in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, and after threatening her and her friend, got in his car, angry. Articles in the paper say that the man said he did not know why he shot at the car. He just did!

Since then, we went to Washington. We met the amazing people who were with Trae in his last days and moments. We celebrated Trae’s life. We shared memories and laughs, hugs and tears. We went to the funeral home and did one of the hardest things we ever had to do. We met new friends and saw old friends. We smiled, we laughed, we cried.

It is hard to explain the feelings and emotions we go through every day.  For me, most days, it is just kinda existing. I go to town and I see people preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I see people moving on like nothing happened because for them, nothing has happened. But for us, for me, I feel like everything and everyone should stop. we should all pause. I walk around the grocery store, getting random things because I have not made a list.


The theme since Trae’s passing has been hope. Hope in Jesus. Hope in knowing that Trae is in Heaven with Jesus. Hope knowing that through the promise from Jesus, we will see Trae again some day!

I could never imagine how it would be to lose a sibling. I never would want to imagine it. I can’t even try to imagine going through this without God.

On October 27th, 2016 at 3:47 AM, my life changed. My heart broke into more pieces I ever knew was possible. But since then, God has been healing my heart. It will take a long time to heal completely, but the process is starting. We have had amazing friends and family supporting us and carrying us along. We have a God who loves us and holds us close. We don’t understand why this happened to our family, but we trust that God knows and He can see the big picture even when we cannot.

As we look back on the past couple of months, even years, we see with our spiritual eyes things we could not see with our human eyes. Things that show God preparing us for this sudden change in our lives. In 2013, Trae was unsettled here in PA and moved to California to finish high school and work for God there. He lived there for 2 ½ years before coming home for the summer to work for dad while still figuring out what to do with his life. He finally decided on ACTS. Antioch Christian Training School teaches 18 to 25-year old’s about Jesus in a deeper way. ACTS is a 4-month program; the first 3 months are in a classroom and around Yakima, Washington, living, loving, and learning. The last month is in a foreign country, doing missionary work in small communities. The weekend before Trae left for ACTS my family spent the weekend up in Cameron County at my dad’s cabin. Trae wanted to do that as a family before he left just in case something happened to him while he was in Thailand.  It was looking like everyone was not going to be able to go and he didn’t want to go unless EVERYONE went. Last minute, it worked out for everyone to go and we spent a wonderful weekend together as a family in the woods. The week before Trae was shot, my parents decide to go out to Washington for a visit. The spent three days with Trae, observing his classes and visiting places he loved. They came home Monday and Trae was shot Wednesday. We as a family are so thankful and blessed that Mom and Dad got to spend that last weekend with him. There are so so many things that ensure us that this was God’s plan for Trae’s life as well as ours.

Trae was 13 months younger than me, but He was so wise and taught me so much! Today, I want to share a couple of things that Trae taught me, throughout his life and in his death. Share Jesus. Be the hands and feet of God. Live your life for Him and He will work in your life in ways you can’t even imagine. Love people. Tell people you love them every chance you get! You never know when it will be the last time. Be in love with God. This quote is from one of Trae’s blog post. “He wants us to glorify Him and be in love with Him. If we are in love with Him and have a zeal to glorify Him, we will find ourselves wanting to move mountains and share with others.” Glorify Him and be in love with Him! Trae was wise beyond his almost 21 years of life. One of Trae’s favorite verses and a verse he lived by is Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” So the last thing I want to tell you is to get up and go. Travel to places and share Jesus. Go outside and see the beauty God grants us every day. Don’t take a day for granted. Live your life for Jesus and share His love with everyone you meet. We don’t have to go far to find someone to share Jesus with.


The verse Trae lived his life by.. 

We went to church Sunday for the first time since Trae’s passing. I thought I was going to be okay. Then the songs started and they were all about hope. Then the pastor stood up and said he was going to talk about discipleship. He started with Matthew 28:19. His whole message reminded me of Trae and his life. Everything we do or see or hear, reminds us of Trae somehow. It is wonderful and heart-breaking at the same time!

This week, I asked my mom how the kids were doing. I have two nieces and two nephews. Only the oldest really comprehends what is going on. Sophie is 5. Mom said she had talked to Sophie about Trae dying. Mom said that she told her that Trae had been killed and he was in Heaven with Jesus, but it would leave a hole in our hearts. Sophie was very concerned that she had an actual hole in her heart. She said, “No Nanners (which is what they call my mom), I don’t have a hole in my heart. I don’t because I know that Uncle Trae is with Jesus in Heaven.” Oh, to have the faith of a little child!


Thank you for all of the prayers we have received. We have felt your prayers! The first couple of days I would stop and think, “I should be mad. I should be mad because some random stranger decided to shoot at a random car and it contained my brother. I should be mad at him!” But God would not let me. I know I will get mad. I know I will scream and cry because that’s what we do as humans. We don’t understand why God let this happen, but we hold onto the hope that He has a plan and He can see the big picture even when we can’t. It will be difficult for us as we look at this as a senseless act. But God will comfort and hold us close. Please continue to pray for us as we try to adjust to a new normal. Pray for my mom and dad, who lost a son. Pray for my brother and sister and their families, who lost a brother and an uncle. Pray that God gives them and us all strength to move on, minute by minute, day by day. Pray for us in the coming months and weeks. Trae’s birthday is November 28th; it will be so difficult to get through. Pray for us around the Holiday’s. I also want to ask that you pray for Saul Rios. Saul Rios is the man who shot Trae. This is a man who does not know Jesus and thought it was okay to open fire on a random car. Pray that he comes to know Jesus. Pray for this man. That is very hard for me to ask, but I believe that he needs to be prayed for. I don’t know if I have forgiven this man yet, I am trying. Last prayer request… Trae and his ACTS team would have been traveling to Thailand for a month. The team left Monday, the 6th, and have been in Thailand almost a week. They will be there until the first week of December. Pray that they preach the Word of God and can change lives. This will be a difficult trip, for they were planning on everyone going, and now they are there without Trae. So Please pray that God gives them strength and that they move mountains over in Thailand.

People keep saying that time heals a broken heart. They are trying to comfort and make it better. I am trying to believe them and hoping they are right. I know God heals broken hearts. I am putting my trust and hope and heart in God’s hands.

We have been very blessed by each of you in the past couple of weeks and could never repay you, but we will try. As one of the ministers in Washington said, “Trae is not gone. He is just not here.”


Trae Cameron Oyler… Trust Christ Only

Since the 26th of October, I have done a lot of thinking. What do I do when people ask me about my family? I finally made a decision.

I am Kaci Garber, married to Lowell Garber. I have three siblings. One lives in PA. One currently lives in Indiana, but they are planning on moving to PA. And one lives in Heaven. And he is there because he loved Jesus so much! And he will watch over me and my family until we meet him there!


In loving memory of Trae Cameron Oyler, a brother, a friend, a missionary, a secret-keeper, a comedian, a souled-out Christian and a Jesus freak! You are loved and you are missed!

I know we are not to be proud, but I am proud to be Trae’s sister. Growing up, I was Milo’s sister until Trae started coming around, then I became Trae’s sister. It annoyed me then. Now, it is something I treasure more than ever. I am proud to have been a sister to someone who lived his life for God. I am proud to have known his compassion, love, kindness, silliness, and craziness. He is gone from this life, but never forgotten in this heart. My twin, my brother, my best friend. I love you.


I had a lady from church message me this morning and her and her daughter were listening to this song yesterday. Her daughter said “Let’s sing it as a prayer for Trae.”


A month ago, Kala and Aaron were here for Sophie’s Birthday. Kala and I were talking one day and she asked me if I had heard of the song, “Jealous of the Angels?” I said no, I had not. We listened to it and it is the type of song that makes you cry even when you don’t know someone close who has passed on. Today was the first day I could bring myself to listen to it since Trae died. I, of course, cried. This song speaks my heart so well!



15 thoughts on “Time & Trae..

  1. Janel Hirt says:

    Absolutely beautiful, Kaci. My heart breaks with you, but it also rejoices with you as you will meet him again! I’m thankful for the life Trae led and the people he has and will continue to influence with his devotion to our Savior! Still praying and thinking of you!


  2. Larry and Melinda Filbrun says:

    Dear Kaci. I don’t know you but thank you for sharing your heart. We didn’t know Trae pesonally but know some of the family. We watched both services and shed lots of tears. We want you to know that we can’t possible understand the feelings you are going through because we have never had this happen in our family. We do know the pain of laying away a tiny newborn son and we thought this was surely the hardest thing life could ever bring. That was 36 years ago and now we know it didn’t even compare to what you are going through and what so many others have expierienced. We praise God for Trae’s dedicated life to Christ and pray that even though you will never forget, the Lord will heal your hearts,
    Love, Larry and Melinda Filbrun


  3. Nina Kinsley says:

    Kaci, Thanks for sharing your heart. I feel your pain…..and hold you up in prayer. I have been walking this journey of loss with you and your family in my heart. 42 years ago I too had a phone call that my brother was suddenly called to be with Jesus. So much of what you have written, I too felt. I just wanted to share that yes, Jesus heals our pain, although if we dig a little it is still there. We just absorb it into the fiber of our beings and it makes us have a stronger longing for heaven. The loss doesn’t go away, but the hurt isn’t so very raw and sharp. Praying for you that your memories will always be sweet and precious. Heaven awaits for us a glad reunion!! May Jesus hold your hand through this valley.
    Love you all, Nina Kinsley


  4. Heather Reath-Mowrey Elem. says:

    Kaci…that was beautifully written. I have been praying for you and your family daily. I pray that God surrounds you and comforts you as you continue to heal.


  5. Mary Ellen Sheffler says:

    What a beautiful writing and song for your brother.I’m just a stranger, but your words make the world feel your pain. May god continue to comfort you through these dark days and may you feel those angels surround you with warmth and love to heal your great loss. You, my dear, should write a book!


  6. Shannon says:

    I saw this link on fb from a friend … and I read with an aching heart and tears. I too know the pain and heartache of losing a brother. I wish I had words of wisdom to tell you about traveling this path, but there are just no words for something like this. The pain and heartache are so deep, so severe, that some days the only thing to do is to whisper, “Jesus, hold me!”
    Hugs and prayers for you as you walk this journey.


  7. Todd Metzger says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart Kaci. We knew Trae for the last couple years. He would call and say he was stopping by our place to chat and for coffee. Randomly of course😊 He would stay for hours. Last time I saw home was when he brought a few ACTS friends to Zillah GB for worship on Sunday of their meeting. So many prayers for your family have went up from us all in the northwest and elsewhere. I was so blessed when your dad came over to me at the sharing time in Zillah and gave a hug, and shared that longing hope we share for Heaven. Bless your family.


  8. Shelly says:

    Oh Kaci. As Todd said above, Trae came over often in the last year or so and he never failed to mention “my sister, Kaci…” You were very special to him. He blessed our lives so much and I just wish we would have taken the opportunity to really know that before he was called home. A lesson to live by. Live each day as your last, share Jesus and LOVE! So thankful for His comforting arms and the promise of someday heaven! Tell your heart to beat again ❤️


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