A Drunk Driver

Early Monday AM my phone was ringing and I saw my (2nd) cousin’s name, Jennifer, on caller ID. I knew something horrible must be wrong as it was still dark. Shaking, all I could blurt out was, “WHATTTT Jennifer? WHAAATTT happened??”

Jennifer’s mom, Billie, is my cousin (our moms were sisters). Billie and I talk regularly, praying for each other and sharing life.

These are the cousins I was closest to growing up and who I post pictures of every now and then. When I was young I used to try to figure a way that I could go live with Billie, Okie and their 3 littles on the farm. Oh how I love them all so very much. Jennifer could hardly talk through the sobs but eventually I understood…

Late last night Jennifer’s brother Stephen, his wife & 2 young sons (9 & 12) were coming home from Rochester, NY where they had been at a swim meet that their oldest son had competed in. After the swim meet Stephen had called his mom, Billie, to tell her all about the meet. Then they had gone out to eat.

Eventually they headed towards home in the rural area outside Lockport, NY. His wife, Jamie was in the first car with their two sons and Stephen was following right behind. A drunk driver had crossed the center lane of this two lane highway. As the drunk driver’s car was careening head-on for Jamie & the boys, she managed to veer off into a person’s front yard and in her rear view mirror saw the drunk hit Stephen head-on. Stephen never saw it coming and was instantly with the Lord.

I was 11 when Stephen was born and I would carry him around everywhere. A little blondie, tenderhearted and so very kind to all. He grew up working hard on his parent’s farm, went to West Point after graduation and soon became a Black Hawk pilot. He had an incredible sense of humor, loved the Lord and served him daily.

Just two days ago I was recalling a conversation I had had with him recently…and the memory was making me smile and reminding me (again!) how much I miss all my family in Western New York.

And just like that – he’s gone. I’m devastated – how could this possibly be?

Stephen, you genuinely were a cut-above the rest: wonderful husband, dad, son, brother, cousin, and friend to all. The *only* comfort is that you are with Jesus. But Stephen, you leave a gaping hole in all our lives as you reflected Christ so well. Truly, Earth’s loss is Heaven’s gain.

Please pray for Jamie and the boys, Billie and Okie (his mom and dad), Jeff, Jennifer and all the family. To say we are all in a state of shock would be an understatement.

Pictured above: (my cousins – siblings) Jennifer, Me, Jeffrey, and Stephen is on the right in the green.

8 thoughts on “A Drunk Driver

  1. Oh Linny I’m so, so sorry. This reminds me again to not take the gift of a single day for granted. This past summer we had a car coming towards us that was traveling the wrong direction on the freeway! head on!! My husband was able to just avoid the vehicle, but wow did that leave us shook up and make us realize how quickly a terrible event like that can happen! Praying for all of you, especially for his wife and sons. This is all very, very sad. I’m praying for this drunk driver too (I don’t know, but I’m assuming he or she survived?) So much heartbreak this has caused. May His sustaining grace and comfort out of this world cover over you all.

    1. Thank you for your prayers Alisha. Yes, the drunk driver is alive and fine. He will be arraigned tomorrow. I’m flying to be with them but I just cannot stop crying. Stephen was one in a million. Dw said, “He always had an extra special twinkle in his eye when you were around Linn – he knew you loved him!” When he was little I carried him around…of course I played with him and his siblings all the time. The barn was our favorite! And when he went to West Point, Billie told me he was so homesick so I wrote him multiple times a week and sent care packages – he knew I loved him! Our hearts are broken – he has left a gaping hole in this world. So thank you for praying for all. xoxo

      1. I’m so sorry Linny. There are no words to capture all the heartbreak here on earth that has been caused from this car accident. Such an absence has been left. So, so, so thankful he is a believer and instantly his spirit left his body to be present with the Lord. Just imagine what he is seeing and experiencing right now! Praying for his wife and sons, for you and all of his family in the hours, days, weeks, and months… ahead 😢🙏🏽 Wish I could give you a hug right now. ♥️

  2. Oh, Linny, this brings tears to my eyes and pain to my heart, along with anger for the pain caused for so many! And I remind myself of the pain and misery the offender must have had and most certainly will have in his life to be living the way he is. I was just reminded this week of a terrible tragedy similar to this that the Barrick family experienced and how God has worked in and through their pain and struggles. As a result of this tragedy a ministry was born ~ HOPE OUT LOUD ~ which effectively continues today, declaring God’s love and plan of salvation for any who will come to Him and trust in His son, Jesus’ death & resurrection. HopeOutLoud.com

  3. Dear precious family in Christ, I wanted to pass along something that I read in the autobiography of Helen Baugh, the lady that started Christian Women’s Clubs, after she was suddenly widowed with two children ages 8 and 10. At her husband’s funeral she felt as though the Lord said, “Helen, I need Elwood up here with me, and I want your undivided attention down there on earth.” It struck me to think that God might actually NEED our precious, Godly loved ones with him for some special purpose that only he knows. May the Lord comfort you with the comfort only he can give. Much love in Christ!

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