Grief & Pain & Thanks & Birthday

Lowell and I got home yesterday from a week in Indiana. A week spent with family and friends. A week of laughing and crying. A week of crazy shopping trips and funny movies. A week of giving thanks for the things God has given to us. A week of traveling.

Do you know what one of the BEST things about traveling is?


Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel and see people I love and go to fun places.. but there is not a much better feeling than coming home!

Our trip home felt very long. Traveling the Sunday after Thanksgiving is a BAD idea! Seriously, just DO NOT DO IT! We ran into so much traffic because of accidents and whatnot.. just CRAZINESS! It took us 1-2 hours longer than it should have! I have never been so happy to see my front door!

Anywho, back to being at home and the wonderful feeling that follows… Seriously, just feels like a hug walking in your door to your home. Laying in your bed, hugging your bed and promising not to leave it again (Seriously, every time I get back… I lay in my bed and think “Why did I ever leave you?”)… Taking a shower in your own shower. The first night in your own bed. There is not many words that can describe the feelings, but ya’ll know. You have went on a trip before. One thing I dread about coming home is unpacking. I am the person who lives out of a suitcase for weeks, just to avoid unpacking. There is always one thing that I packed because I NEEDED IT and don’t wear it or use it for weeks and it sits in my suitcase and eventually Lowell’s gets tired of seeing it and puts the suitcase away. Then I suddenly need that thing and cannot find it! I believe this is described as #firstworldproblems!

I love seeing my bunny as well. He is a crazy thing and we are blessed by sweet friends (Mariah & Tanner & Brett & Dakota.. Thank you so much) who stopped in to check on Diesel the week we were gone. My bunny sitters are amazing! One of the many reasons I love Diesel is how easy he is to take care of. We can leave for a week or whatever and as long as someone check in on him every day or every other day and gives him food, water, hay and some love, and he is fine. We let him roam our living room so he has plenty of room all day to stretch his legs whenever he needs to!


Diesel, waiting on a treat because I was sitting near the treats, trying to love on him, last night when we got home!

He has started shedding, however. It is not the best homecoming gift. Bunnies shed every three months and grow a new coat. What does this mean for Kaci and Lowell’s house? It means it looks like fluffy snow under the couch! HA! Not fun!

I am not here to give a history on bunnies, though. That is not what it says in my title, anyway. I am the person who makes up the title soo…. yeah! But maybe you learned something new today about bunnies. My one teacher in middle school said you can go home after you learn something new.. He never let us though!

It has now been 32 days since Trae was shot. Today is November 28th, 2016. Today is Trae’s birthday. He would have turned 21 years old today. I don’t know how to celebrate a birthday of someone who is in Heaven or even what to say, so I am not going to say a lot.

Happy Birthday, Trae. Happy Birthday in Heaven. I saw this song yesterday and it talked about dancing in the sky and I thought of you. You were always out dancing in the rain… and not even the fun rain. The cold, damp rain. I mean you would dance in both, but most people wait for the fun rain. SO, today, I hope you are dancing around the sky.

This week was Thanksgiving. My family never had a Thanksgiving tradition, so we weren’t really affected by the empty spot at the table. It will hit us at Christmas.

However, this year at Thanksgiving, giving thanks and being thankful for what God has given us meant more to me than it ever did before. After having a tragedy  in your family, you really start looking at everything you do differently. Your choices are made by what is most important.

We went out to supper with Lowell’s sister and parents while we were in Indiana. She lives in North Indiana and we met her in Kokomo. She was saying she didn’t have time for much because her job (she is a teacher at a GB school) is very time consuming. She doesn’t have time to give people, including her family, a call because she is constantly busy! I kinda laughed. “Sweetie, there is NOTHING more important than family. You always have time to talk to your sister because you don’t know when the last time it will be.”

I remember my last conversation with Trae. It was on my birthday (October 24th). It had texted me earlier that day and said “Happiest Birthday! Breaking the rules here!” I laughed. He called me later that night because they were up in the mountains and not on campus. We talked for a little bit about what they were doing in the mountains and what we did for my birthday, which wasn’t a lot. Everything he said made me smile or laugh. He had a way of saying all the right words to make me feel better.

Honestly, that is my favorite memory of Trae. Every time (which was a lot, so maybe, favorite memories) he made me smile or laugh or feel better when I was sad or feeling down. That was the best! I always felt like I should be the one making him feel better, but it was hardly ever that way.The Saturday before my birthday  I was really sad because mom and dad were out in Washington with Trae and I wanted to be there so bad! I missed him so much in hurt (hurt which seems so small compared to the current hurt). I cried the whole way to Lowe’s and in the Lowe’s parking lot. I called mom and Trae talked to me. He told me that it was okay and soon he would be back from Thailand and Washington and we were going to catch up on movies and TV shows we watch. We were going to eat Chinese together and he was going to teach me to use chop sticks. He made me laugh and feel better. He comforted me in ways no one else knew how to. He always said the right things to make someone laugh. I remember so many times being so mad at him and he would make me laugh and I would lose focus on being mad at him. He was a people person through and through.

Memories like these keep me holding on. Holding on to hope. Holding on to Jesus. I have been struggling a lot recently with fear. I am afraid all the time. I am scared to drive in the dark. I am afraid of the dark. I am afraid of sketchy looking people and cars. I don’t want to be afraid, but fear is getting the best of me. I keep praying that God will help me with the fear I feel.

It still feels like a dream most days. It doesn’t feel real that he is gone gone! I don’t want to believe it some days. I just want to sit in a corner and not think about it. I want him to come in my front door and give me a big hug the way he always did and make everything okay. It is hard to say and harder to believe that he is gone from this earth.

There is a quote that says, “Grief never ends, but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love.” We will never stop missing Trae. We are not weak or unfaithful because we miss Trae. We love Trae so much, so we miss Trae SO MUCH MORE!

We have talked many times as a family of the pain and grief we are experiencing. We have said that as difficult as it is, grieving Trae, it would be so much harder if our family was not as close as we are. I have always loved how close my family is. In a time like we have now, it is so much more important that we are close than ever! It doesn’t mean that it is easy to grieve. It just means we always have someone to grieve with always.

It is hard to explain the pain we feel today and every day. There are times I sit on the couch, watching TV and it hits me. Then, I feel sad and I want to cry. We all grieve differently. I don’t cry a lot. I don’t cry when I want to which frustrates me. I cry when it hits me in the middle of random things! I tear up at random parts of TV shows (like right now, I am watching How I Met Your Mother with tears in my eyes). Trae and I talked most about movies and TV shows. We had plans to watch all these new movies and TV shows together once he got home. That is what we talked about most. We talked about Harry Potter and other fun nerdy things.

End note::: Be thankful. for Jesus. for family. for friends. for the weather. for food. for life. for love. for people you don’t even like or know. for flowers. for mountains. for corn fields.  for chocolate. BE THANKFUL! That’s the message. Far too often, we complain about the small things in life. We take the things that are given to us for granted instead of being thankful! We just need to be thankful for what God gives us each and every day. We need to live our life for God every day and He will help us move those mountains!

Hold onto to the people you love. Take pictures as much as possible. Make memories. Be silly, because those are the memories that last forever. I can’t tell you all of the memories I have with Trae, but some of the fondest are when we were tired and silly and lying on the middle of the living room floor. Having push up contests (He always won because I have no upper body strength and would just lay on the floor). Telling jokes. Taking selfies on mom’s phone. Talking about school. Watching Disney Channel together. We would go to Hoss’s and I would get ice cream and I would try every time to get it just right so there would be a little swirl-thingy at the top (we called it a doop-de-doop). He would ALWAYS stick his finger in it and mess it up!

Jesus has a way of holding our hearts and our hands and helping us heal in a way no one else can! Seek Jesus and he will heal your heart! It might take years, but Jesus will heal your heart. Just because you are healing, doesn’t mean you won’t hurt.

We will NEVER forget Trae. He will always be in our minds and in our hearts! But hopefully, eventually the hurt won’t be so deep.


Personal Note:::

My last blog post hit amazing results and I was beyond blessed by the amount of people it reached. In just 3 or 4 days, my blog was viewed 4,872 times by 3,759 people in 37 different countries all over the world! It was so awesome to see the outreach of my little blog. Trae had that impact on people though! God’s will for Trae’s life in not over yet! He is still working, using the legacy and memories of Trae to change people.

I would really love if ya’ll would drop a comment in the comments below (if you are comfortable doing so) of where you are from or where you are reading this at! I would love to hear from you! Ya’ll don’t eve have to put your name (I think you can opt out of putting your name) if you want. It is encouraging for me to hear from you guys; whether you knew Trae or not. Trae’s story has gone so far beyond his HUGE circle of friends.


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Dear Trae, Happy 1st Birthday in Heaven. I miss you more and more every day. You will forever be in my heart! I love you, best friend. I love you so much! Happy Birthday to my angel! So for your 21st earthly birthday, cheers to you! Here’s to your short life, your amazing life, your inspiring life lived!


Every time I hear this song, I think of Trae. I feel like he would have so many questions, but as he looks around the Throne, he is at a loss for words!

“..There’s a promise for the ones ho just hold on..”

“…If You can hold the stars in place, You can hold my heart the same…”
“…Here I am holding, lifting up my heart, to the One who holds the stars.”




4 thoughts on “Grief & Pain & Thanks & Birthday

  1. Elaine Metzger says:

    I lost a friend on October 6 due to a head on car collision! I so agree with you Kaci. Cherish every moment with those you love. You never know if it will be the last. Trae attended my friend’s funeral. He didn’t know he would be next. It may be is next. May we all be ready for the coming of the Lord!


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