Each of our children has had such a different reaction to the loss of Nick. Tonight I think of Olivia. Bless her heart.

She wasn’t home when Nick passed away.

She had gone to a friend’s to stay all night and then go shopping at Target.

So as she bounced down the driveway with her goodies in hand, she had no idea what was awaiting her. My poor precious friend who had driven her home from Huntington along with her own children knew the whole time and didn’t tell Olivia. Thank you, Kristy, for carrying that load through stores and down the interstate for me. I know that was difficult to do. I love you.

Several of her basketball and church friends and their moms had come to the house to be there for her. Oh, thank you, Lord, for precious friends.

As she entered the backyard and saw my sister’s husband, she exclaimed, ‘Uncle Steve, what you are doing here?” Then as she came into the family room and saw her friends, she looked around – almost as if she were looking for Nick – and said, ‘What is going on?”

She sat on my lap as I said, “Olivia, Nick died.” Immediately, she was screaming and throwing herself backwards on the couch. I remember her screaming, “No, No, I thought for sure Nick would live.”

She cried and cried and all of her little friends gathered round and cried with her.

It was a moment I’ll never forget.

As she settled down, she said something that made all of the girls laugh about a little secret she had been keeping about a crush on a boy at school.

This week has been hard for her at school. She has started writing in her diary. She is reading a little book on Heaven that one of her friends gave her.

She is lost. Like all of us.

But tonight, she is sitting in Nick’s chair, making a Christmas ornament and watching the Josh and Drake Christmas special trying to do something normal.

I think one of the hardest things about losing someone is that even though you know deep inside that they are in a much more wonderful place and even though you know that you have to keep living…….

you don’t want to enjoy life without them here. It feels wrong to laugh, to watch TV, to eat….

and yet you have to make a choice to live again.

That’s what Olivia is trying to do, and I am so proud of her. A friend from church made shirts for us that have Nick’s picture surrounded by balloons with the words, ‘Remember to Celebrate My Life” and Joshua 1:9 at the bottom. Olivia wore hers to school, and my mom told her to hold her head high!

Her basketball coach has ordered patches for all of the girl’s uniforms with Nick’s name, his favorite Scripture, a thumbs up, a basketball, and “Be Strong and Courageous” on them. All the girls squealed when they saw them. Nick loved all those girls so much. He loved to watch them play, and if he couldn’t come to a game he would text me to find out how they were doing.

God will use Nick’s life in great ways in all of these girl’s futures….I know that deep inside.

But for now, we survive one minute at a time….one prayer at a time…one hug at a time.

Please pray for our kids-

Oh, I love you all so much!