SHE WAS THE LIGHT OF OUR LIVES ON EARTH, AND NOW SHE LIGHTS UP THE HEAVENS!!!
This memorial site is in memory of our daughter
Elizabeth, and to fulfill my promise to her that
as long as I remain on this earth, she will not be
If you stop by to visit her site, please light a
candle in honor of her precious life.
Elizabeth is our first child of three, which are the
light of our lives.
She was born at 5:14 a.m. on September 15,
1981, she weighed 7 lbs 12 oz.
On June 1, 2002 Elizabeth was tragically killed
in an automobile accident through no fault of
her own, at the age of 20.
An out of state driver turned into the side of
Elizabeth's vehicle, causing her to lose
control of it, when it began to flip several times.
Elizabeth and her brother were both in that
vehicle that fateful Saturday afternoon,
on the way to her best friend's house
to spend the day at the lake.
Elizabeth's sister had gone with her dad
on an out of state business trip.
She was driving her boyfriend's truck, who
was going to meet her later in the evening.
Elizabeth was air-lifted by helicopter from
the scene of the accident to a level one
trauma hospital that is 1 1/2 hours from our
home. Her brother was taken by
ambulance to another hospital, where he
remained hospitalized.Though he had some
fairly serious injuries, thankfully he recovered
physically, though none of us will ever
recover emotionally from the
great loss of our precious daughter and sister.
The incredible pain that came over us that day
has never subsided, and we now live with a
large, empty space in our hearts that she once
filled with her laughter, her love, and her
amazing smile. While we realize she is in a
better place, it really doesn't do much to ease
the pain for those whose lives which have been
permanantly shattered by this tragedy.
Elizabeth was the photographer for our local
newspaper, The Franklin Press for nearly two
years. She had submitted her resignation to
obtain her degree in the commercial
photography industry, and was attending
college at the time of her death.
We know God has his own plans, but that really
doesn't make it any easier for us to understand
why He felt the need to take someone who was
so wanted and loved so greatly, by so many.
She touched so many hearts and lives, and
while we know she was an Angel on earth, I
just wish God could have waited to make her an
Angel in Heaven.
We miss her immensly, and we will remember,
and love her forever.
Elizabeth has one sister, Dolores Mishelle Mayol,
currently 28 years of age, of Franklin, NC; and
one brother, Chuck Mayol, currently 27 years
of age, of Asheville, NC., both who miss her
dearly, along with her parents, also of Franklin,
She is so missed by the love of her life,
BlakeSheffield, and her best friend Tiffany
Mason, along with many other friends of
She touched so many hearts and lives, and while we
know she was an Angeso missed by the love of
Elizabeth left behind one VERY incomplete fam
ily following her death...her mommy and
daddy:Charles and Lorie Mayol,
Franklin, North Carolina;One Sister:Dolores
Mishelle Mayol,(known by everyone as Sissy her
entire life) currently 28 years old of Franklin, NC
and one brother:Chuck Mayol,currently 27 years
old, also of Franklin, N.C. and his brand new
baby daughter that Elizabeth never had the
pleasure of meeting:Paris Faith Mayol, now 2 1/2
years old also of Franklin, N.C.
I know in my heart Elizabeth played a hand in
sending that precious angel to her brother, and
she probably in fact met her in heaven prior to
her arrival on this earth.
At the time of the accident Elizabeth was 20 years
old, this year, on September 15, 2010 at 5:14
a.m. she turned 30 years old!!!
The time we have spent on earth since her
passing has felt like a long, painful lifetime,
although she has been gone 9 years.
I said, God I hurt
And God said, I know
I said, I cry alot
And God said, That's why I gave you tears
I said, Life is so hard
And God said, That's why I gave you loved ones
I said, But my loved one died!!
And God said, So did mine!!
I said, It's such a great loss!!
And God said, I saw mine nailed to a cross!!
I said, But your loved one lives!!
And God said, So does yours!!
I said, Where is she now??
And God said, My Son is by my side and
Your Daughter is in my arms!!
May 14,2011...my sweet baby girl,
As we grow closer to that fateful day that our lives were forever changed by your addition to Heaven's choir of angels, my heart is so very heavy! I re-live each and every day, where I was, what I was doing,what you and I were doing.How I wish I could go back to that time and change just one thing that would keep you from leaving the driveway on that day.It is so painful when I think if I had only had 3 minutes more of that conversation with you, it could have changed the whole outcome of that accident.My mind knows God had this all planned, and it was written in your destiny before you were even born, but my heart doesn't want it this way.Most days my heart rules, and it hurts so bad that I don't have you here to talk to everyday, to go to lunch when you would call me.Just a few days before you left you wanted me to go to your college with you because you wanted me to ride with you while you worked in the darkroom.That time will forever be etched in my heart!I just NEED MORE OF IT!
We are preparing to celebrate Paris' second birthday, and while I have that joy, there is also the heaviness that you are missing from it all.I know you, you would have the whole thing decorated and planned and photographed...it would be incredible!
I will try to make it nice for her,with your help, of course.I know it's you that pops things into my head that I hadn't even thought of!
Be with me as I walk through these next few weeks that are so very painful, and know that, as we have every single year, through rain, sleet, hail, sun and anything else God's hands us, we will be there sending you our love as we send you all of the balloons precisely at the time that you left us on that horrible day, Look for us, for as long as I am alive, I will be there!
I love and miss you SO MUCH, that I cannot even find words to cover all of my feelings!Just know my sweet angel, that I will love you for all of eternity, and quite frankly, and looking so forward to the day I see you in Heaven.That day will be so incredibly happy for me, as a part of me died with you on June 1, 2002, and has never returned.I am convinced I will not be whole again until I hold you in my arms as I did for 20 years!
The newest addition to our family,your first
niece,Paris Faith Mayol...
Born May 27, 2009 to
your only brother
7:11 p.m. Angel Memorial Hospital
I KNOW you were there watching over us...but it
made it no easier that you weren't standing there
watching as that precious Angel was brought into
this world.You sent her, I have no doubt, to your
brother!!!I know you continue to try to create
happiness for us all, but somehow it also creates
much pain, because it only makes your absence from
the particular situation so much more evident.I L
OVE YOU SWEET ANGEL!AND WE ALL MISSED
YOU BEING RIGHT THERE WITH US!!!
getting ready for the big arrival...chuck and
AND OUR new Angel arrives...
Paris Faith Mayol and her amazed daddy,Chuck
Mayol, became a daddy at 25 years old!!!Funny
he always told me not to hold my breath if I was
waiting on him to have my first grandchild!I
guess it's not always in our hands...IS IT???She
was sent here for a reason, and as the spripture
says..."I knew you before you were formed in
your mother's womb"!!!
He will try, as I did, soooo hard to protect our
precious Angels, but in all reality they are not
ours at all, only on loan from Jesus in Heaven,
and that is something we should remind ourselves daily!!!
Thank you, Jesus, for your precious gift. It is
the best blessing you sent to Paris' daddy, and
believe me, he needed it!!!
Paris Faith Mayol and me, her nana Lorie
Paris Faith Mayol...her daddy Chuck Mayol...and
his daddy Charles Mayol
of course Paris was born only 5 days before the
anniversary of your death, so she joined us as
we celebrated your journey to Heaven for the
7th time.Here she is with me, her Nana Lorie
sitting on your grave
and here is our newest angel, Paris, being
admired by her daddy while sitting on your
Me (Elizabeth's mommy...Paris' Nana) holding
baby Paris when she was just a couple of weeks
WE, AS A FAMILY needed this precious Angel sent to us to help try and get us through some
of this unbearable day to day grief!And she did
succeed!Thank you Elizabeth...Thank you
JESUS...FOR I KNOW IT WAS IN YOUR PLANS
BEFORE IT WAS IN HIS!!!
UPDATE...PRINCESS PARIS HAS TWO NEW TEETH...AND LIKES TO SHOW THEM OFF!!!
Now its time to release all of the balloons for you
for your Angel Anniversary!
So necessary, but sooooo painful!!!Your best
friend,Tiffany, your brother, and new baby
Paris, your sister, sissy, your uncle and aunt
Bob and Kay, and of course as long as I live,
your mommy and daddy!!!
Here is Paris on her very first photo shoot being
kissed by her loving daddy,Chuck Mayol. This
was a little hard for us knowing that if you were
here, it would be you taking the pictures.
Paris Faith Mayol and her daddy,Chuck Mayol.
Here is your car, still sitting in the driveway
on my way to the barn to feed your horse...is it this beautiful in Heaven???
The license plate on your uncle's truck. You can barely read it for all of the snow.
Your sister made the 'glowing candle vase' for you.It lit up the night!
BABY ELIZABETH 1 WEEK OLD WITH HER MOMMY
ELIZABETH WITH HER MOM NEARLY 21 YEARS LATER IN NEW YORK CITY~3 MONTHS BEFORE HER DEATH
Baby Elizabeth with her daddy 3 months old
Elizabeth-a few weeks before her death
Elizabeth with her brother & sister
Our Angel photographer...we will FOREVER remember!
Elizabeth with the love of her life...Blake
Photo taken at Elizabeth's funeral
of memorial table in memory of Elizabeth and her
Elizabeth at a horse show on her horse, Coppy
Elizabeth in New York City 3
months before she lost her life
APPY 25 BIRTHDAY, ELIZABETH!
On Elizabeth's birthday we sent 25 balloons from her grave
On their way to wish you Happy Birthday!
ELIZABETH'S FUNERAL SERVICES Elizabeth's visitation was Wednesday, June 5, 2002 from 7-9 p.m. While we were making preparations for her services, I felt as if I wasn't even present. Somehow everything and everyone felt like they were there, but that I was in another hemisphere watching them from afar. I don't really remember sleeping much during the first week, especially, and during one of those nights it came to me that I was NOT going to make a funeral for my daughter. Therefore I was going to give her the wedding she will never have. We had bows placed on each pew, along with the pillars outside, along with candleabras which burned throughout her two services. Her visitation, which was the night before her funeral, was turned into a viewing of the many photographs she had taken over the years. Some were of her, some were ones she had taken of the scenery and throughout our town, and some were ones she had taken in her studio. They were enlarged and mounted and displayed throughout the funeral home.
On the afternoon of June 5, we held a private service attended only by the families of Elizabeth, and her boyfriend Blake. We saw Elizabeth for the last time this side of Heaven on that afternoon.
The following day, June 6, 2002 at 1:00 was her final funeral service, which was performed as closely as possible to her wedding. Her sister, Sissy, and her best friend, Tiffany, were her maids of honor, covering the floor with rose petals prior to her entrance. As her parents waited at the altar, Elizabeth was escorted there by her boyfriend, brother, two uncles, and two family friends.
Elizabeth's best friend and sister covering the aisle with rose petals prior to her entrance
Elizabeth's brother Chuck speaking at her funeral
Following the procession, 5 people spoke to Elizabeth. Her brother, Chuck; Stephanie, on behalf of Elizabeth's sister; Tiffany, Elizabeth's best friend; Blake, Elizabeth's boyfriend, and her parents. Following each one, a song was played for Elizabeth that each one had dedicated to her.
If your wondering about the photos, I guess it's just having been around Elizabeth for so long, watching as she would memorialize nearly everything in her life through pictures. As I don't really even remember when I knew I wanted a photographer, but apparently I did. Someone she worked with at the newspaper covered the services for us, which we are so grateful. I wasn't sure I would even want to see them, but knew I only had one chance to do so, just in case. I am so glad I did, for I remember very little of those very special days. They were, of course, the hardest days we had ever lived, but they were also her days. The very last days we would ever share with her. They were also a tribute to Elizabeth, and of her very precious life, for which I was so very honored to be a part of. We also, for the service, had bradford pear trees, which were her favorite, line the walls, which we had lights put in. In the foyer we chose an Angel water fountain and surrounded it with ferns and pictures of her. We lined the walk of the funeral home outside, with lily's. We then brought them all home and planted them, for an everlasting memorial. We planted the trees lining the riding arena where she spent so many hours riding her horse, and the lily's were put in several different places including the entrance to our driveway, and throughout our property. Each year we anxiously await the blooming lilies, knowing they will bloom precisely the week of her services, which they do.
Sissy's song to her was 1000 miles Chuck's song to her was Hero Tiff's song to her was I will remember you Blake's song to her was Good Morning Beautiful and her mom and dad's was Butterfly Kisses
There were also 5 other songs that played at different times:
I Can Only Imagine Please Remember Me Angel Go Rest High On That Mountain More Than Anyone Deserves
They each, of course have their very own reasons for being a part of her service. Most of them are self explanatory. Go rest high on that mountain was played as she left the chapel, followed by her family.
Her Resting Place
Elizabeth's boyfriend chose the material for her headstone. We knew she wanted him to be involved. Her sister suggested we have engraved on it the Wayah Bald Tower. It is a tower on the highest elevation in our area, which Elizabeth loved to visit, especially when it snowed. Many of the priceless photographs we have of her are taken on top of that mountain which overlooks our town. We also had engraved on it her horse and baby, which she delivered, along with a barn in our area that she loved and photographed.
In Honor of Elizabeth
We are all so grateful to everyone who has honored our daughter in various ways. She is so special to us, but throughout this horrific tragedy, we have found just how many people admired and loved her outside our family.
The Franklin Press, where she was employed, decorated their interior with photographs Elizabeth had taken while employed there, along with a beautiful tribute to her at the entrance. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to her, I know she is truly honored you chose to display her photographs.
One of Elizabeth's best friends, Courtney , whom she showed horses with for years, had a baby girl August 2004. She named her 'Gabriella Elizabeth'. She is precious and gorgeous!
This is Gabriella Elizabeth on her first birthday with Elizabeth's dad holding her
Before Elizabeth pursued a career in Photography, she LOVED architecture. She spoke of obtaining a degree there, but opted for photography instead. Still, she spent many hours designing houses on the computer, and loved to see different architecture in buildings, obviously New York City was fulfilling in that regard. She eventually designed several house plans, and her dad built one of them. That home is now "The Elizabeth House", named in her honor.
Within two days of her death, we received a notice at our home of a scholarship that had been started in her honor. We gave a scholarship to a graduating High School Student who chose to go the college Elizabeth was attending at the time of her death, and was interested in photography, as Elizabeth was. This was done for two years in her memory, and now we donate that money to the college itself, where it can be used to benefit many students in the photography department.
There were several notices sent to us through the mail indicating that donations had been sent to purchase bibles in memory of Elizabeth, as well as donations to the public library, in her honor. Each and every one of these brought tears. Tears for our loss of someone who was so admired and loved by so many, as well as tears of gratefulness to all who were so generous to remember her. Her memory WILL live on, as I have promised her.
The accident that took her life
I have tried to write very little surrounding this. Obviously, it is extremely painful. I have had, and continue to have, mixed emotions. The man charged with killing Elizabeth was initially charged with 'death by vehicle'. It wasn't long that we found out that is a 'misdemeanor'. The same charge as writing a bad check to the grocery store. When I learned of the consequences, $1,000.00 fine, I can't find the words to describe the feeling. It felt, to me, that the State was saying my precious daughter's life was worth no more than $1,000.00. I can't tell you how many nights' sleep we lost over this. Following the first trial he was found guilty, given the big sentence of $1,000.00 fine, then appealed. This meant we would now have a jury trial. This trial was, next to the week she was killed, the worst week I have ever lived on this earth. When you think you have heard and seen everything, sit through one of those and you'll realize you haven't. It resulted in a mistrial. This meant we would start all over, with a new jury. After a lot of prayer, and talks with Elizabeth, we asked the state to drop the charges. We felt the need to do this for the well being of our remaining two children, along with Elizabeth's boyfriend. It was his truck in which she was driving the day she was killed, so the trial involved him for that reason. After attending a church service at the last minute, the night before we were due to meet with the district attorney to prepare for the new upcoming trial, we knew Elizabeth wanted us to stop. The words during the sermon were something to the effect of this 'It may feel as if all the battles you face on this earth you lose, but if through it all, you end up in Heaven, then the war has been won. We knew Elizabeth had sent us this message through the pastor. She tried to tell us, it's ok- It doesn't matter what happens there on earth, we WILL all be re-united here in Heaven, where I wait for you all to join me. That's how I felt. The following day we kept our appointment, and during our meeting we told the attorneys', and district attorney, we would like the state to drop the charges against him. We didn't have the strength to continue, after all, it was well into our third year of trials. We also felt the need to do so for the well being of all involved in testifying. And the final decision came that night we sat in the sanctity of God's house, and was delivered that message. I won't say that I had forgiven him~that is something I struggle with to this day. I constantly run the scripture through my head that talks about 'forgive, as I have forgiven you'. I won't lie, I hate him for his attitude, his obvious lack of remorse, and for what he did to my daughter, our family, and the many other lives that have been forever devastated. This is the most I have ever written about him, for I KNOW this isn't the way Jesus would want me to handle this, I also know Elizabeth doesn't want this, as it weighs on me heavily. But, as I've said before, I haven't been able to gain control of my feelings-yet- anyway. I'm really working hard in that part of my recovery, but he took a part of me that Saturday in June, never to have her return. A part of me is, and will forever be, permanently missing. It is a great void, and one that causes incredible pain that can't even be described.
People somehow seem to think that after a year everyone should be able to 'go on with life'. Well I hate to be the one to tell you, but that is the farthest thing from the truth that I have ever heard in my life. You NEVER go on. NOTHING is ever the same, or remotely close.
I also struggled with the fact of posting the accident photos, for now I will. The fact is, this is what happened, and it is all a part of why she isn't here.
I never really wanted to see the photos, but was forced to in order to prepare myself for the trials, which would then display them. I couldn't wait until that time for fear of my reaction. It was, however, at least a year following the accident that I saw them. There is absolutely no way I could EVER go see the actual vehicle itself. Elizabeth's boyfriend, Blake, went to obtain their belongings from it following the accident.
To this day we keep the marks in the road showing where she was, along with a series of hearts, that represent each time the vehicle flipped. There are days I just lay my hand where she laid-wishing with all my being that I could have gotten to her that day to hold her, comfort her, tell her I love her.
The arrow marks where she was
The scene of the accident on her birthday
On June 1, 2006, this years anniversary of Elizabeth's accident, Elizabeth's family and best friend Tiff, had a balloon release from her grave at precisely the moment of her death. We never plan anything for that day, knowing that it is so unpredictable as to how that day will play out. There are some that we are totally dysfunctional, and some we are non-functional. There are some that all we do is cry, and don't really even know WHAT we are doing at the moment. That day, I know without a doubt she saw us, laughing at the fact that the wind was blowing so hard we couldn't get them untangled, all done through the incredible pain we were all feeling at the moment. Then, when they were let go, the silence of everyone watching them to see if they would make it to her, made me know she was there, trying her best to comfort each one of us, who are all still grieving in our own ways. I truly don't believe now, that I have lived through this hell for 4 years, that it will ever end. Not until, that is, we see her again. There just isn't anything right anymore. It isn't right to even eat at our table, remembering when it was so filled with ALL of us, and usually Elizabeth's friends too. So we don't. We don't eat at the table to avoid the pain. It doesn't even feel right to go out to eat, knowing she loved this or that, and then having to request a table that is one seat less than what we SHOULD be asking for. I don't know, or understand why God blesses us with them, knowing they made our life completely fulfilled with happiness, and then takes them away. I just dont know.
Elizabeth's best friend, Tiff~her brother,Chuck~and sister,Sis
June 1, 2006~4:55 p.m.
The past 4 years have been incredibly difficult not only for us, but for Elizabeth's brother and sister. They loved one another not only as brother and sisters, but they were also the best of friends and spent as much time together as possible. The day of the accident being a prime example. Although Elizabeth's sister was out of the state with her dad, Elizabeth was going to spend the afternoon at the lake at her best friends' house. She wanted DESPERATELY for her brother to go with her, which he did. Although that tragic afternoon was a horrible memory he will never forget, he was blessed to have been the one to spend the last few hours of Elizabeth's life with her. I would give ANYTHING if it had been me there, instead.
Throughout the 4 years life has been like a roller coaster. I not only am SO ANGRY that we no longer have Elizabeth in our life, the most incredible pain is having to helplessly watch her brother and sister suffer their great loss, knowing that for the first time in their lives there was absolutely nothing I could do to change anything.
I have never believed ANYTHING good could come out of her death, and still don't. I would give my life to have their lives as they were before, with all three of them being healthy and happy, and so in love with each other as well as life itself.
We realize their pain, as we know many days ours is unbearable, and I am SO PROUD that they are CHILDREN OF MINE !!!!
WE LOVE YOU, SISSY AND CHUCK , AND YOU ARE THE ONES THAT GIVE US THE STRENGTH TO GO ON EACH DAY !!!
There is a special Angel in Heaven that is part of me. It is not where I wanted her but where God wanted her to be.
She was here but just a moment like a night time shooting star. And though she is in Heaven she isn't very far.
She touched the heart of many like only an Angel can do. I would've held her every minute if the end I only knew.
So I send this special message to the Heavens up above. Please take care of my Angel and send her all my love.
Elizabeth's brother & sister at the scene of her accident
NEW YORK CITY
In March of 2002, Elizabeth and I, somewhat on a whim, took a trip to New York City. She had always wanted to visit, her love for photography being a key factor, but also it was only 6 months after 9/11, which affected her deeply. I remember the morning of 9/11 she was at work at the Franklin Press where she was a photographer, and called me when the radios and t.v.'s were being interuppted about the twin towers attack. She was so shaken and in dis-belief, and pretty much stayed on the phone with me as we both heard at the same time that the pentagon had also just been hit.
We both were not sure about visiting the tower site, she was somewhat disturbed that it appeared to have become a "tourist attraction". With her photography geared mind and sensitive, compassionate heart, however, we did eventually decide to go to pay our respects. At that time, they were still recovering bodies and the visit was eerily cold and somber. I don't remember either one of us speaking much, as she documented the horror and heartache on film. The surrounding buildings were covered as much as possible with tarps to keep debris from further falling on the recovery efforts, and American flags draped from some. One nearby fence around a cemetery and church had become a memorial wall, with family members hanging personal belonging of those that were missing along with messages to please find their loved ones.
Little did I know less than 3 short months later, Elizabeth's funeral service would become a display of many of those photographs which were dear to her, and now are priceless to us, when we decided to have them enlarged and displayed to share her talent and memories with the public. They are so precious to me now, remembering the look of pain on her face as she watched them searching through the pile of buildings, as she memorialized it all through the lense of her camera, all the while wiping the tears from her eyes.
Taken from the top of the Empire State Building, by Elizabeth
The rest of our trip was amazing. Her, with her never-ending energy, dragging me around like one of her friends well into the early morning hours just trying to take in as much as possible, and me doing my best to do so, for her sake. We covered so much of that city, with the look of wonder in her eyes everywhere we went. We originally were kind of nervous about going just the two of us, but upon arriving never once thought about the possible dangers again. She saw the "naked cowboy" playing his guitar in Times Square and started laughing hysterically, as only she could do. I remember she wanted to take a picture of him, and I dragged her away in a hurry, reminding her we were in the middle of New York City, it was March and very cold, and there was a man standing in Times Square in nothing but his underwear playing a guitar...MAYBE we shouldn't be laughing so hard the whole block could hear, and PROBABLY shouldn't hang around long enough to take pictures. Afterall, could he really be NORMAL? We rode the horse and carriage through Central Park at night, ate dinner at the Plaza Hotel (where we also snuck up a back staircase that was so pretty she wanted PICTURES), visited the Empire State Building at midnight,where she had to call her boyfriend from the top,(the pictures she took from there are amazing), rode the boat around the entire island of Manhattan at night, and ate and ate at the many of wonderful restaurants in NYC.
At the top of the Empire State Building at midnight, March 10, 2002
Times Square she loved, and we saw Beauty and the Beast on Broadway. Each and every exhausting day HAD to end with an "I love and miss you" phone call to her boyfriend, Blake,back in North Carolina no matter what time we returned, which was usually after midnight.
Talking to Blake..............
Eating cheesecake in New York City
One of the most profound memories I have is of our visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral. Elizabeth was in awe, for hours, I might add. I didn't think we were going to fit anything else into that day, because it seemed I couldn't get her out of there. Not only that, she was somewhat in another world, almost as if the rest of the world no longer existed, including me, as she explored every inch of that amazing Cathedral. She was so overwhelmed by the beauty, which consisted of so many displays of golden cities that I just knew were a small part of what Heaven would be like, that she just wandered aimlessly around and around the inside, so carefully capturing her most beloved photographs.
Inside St. Patrick's Cathedral
Today I am so grateful that, for whatever reason, we just made a spur of the moment decision to spend those 5 days together,which unbeknownst to us, took place less than 3 months before her life would end. I often find myself LIVING WITHIN THOSE MEMORIES, which was a much happier time in my life, when all of my children were alive, happy and healthy. I was so complete, which I am no longer. A part of me left with Elizabeth that Saturday, June 1 when God felt He needed a photographer in Heaven, and it is becoming so apparent that it will never go away until I finally see her waiting to welcome me on those streets of gold we have been promised. I find myself reminding God, that He promised I would "find her again", as the words of one beautiful song entitled -I will find you again puts it. " I will knock on every mansion door, walk miles of golden streets, search among a million saints that rest at Jesus' feet, I will run along the Jasper walls, call her name upon the wind"...Elizabeth, this promise I will fulfill..."I WILL FIND YOU AGAIN !"!! The only part of this gorgeous song I find myself disagreeing with, is a line which says... "I would never be so selfish, as to pray you back from Heaven, so I could have you longer here with me..." Right or wrong, I don't feel that way, selfish...Of course-but that's just how I feel about it. She should be here with me now- there was plenty of time ahead God could have taken her, that would have avoided so many hearts and lives being forever devastated. I know...we have no right to question Him, and obviously can't change His mind, for He certainly didn't answer my prayers that afternoon of the accident when I was trying to get to her. It's just that somedays the pain is SO GREAT...I find myself feeling that I would do ANYTHING, to have her back again. I Love you with all my heart and soul, precious Angel of mine!! Mommy
This poem was written by Elizabeth's mom during the many sleepless nights. I somehow felt it was what she wanted to say to everyone, though it came to me little by little over several months following her death.
I'M SORRY I UPSET YOU, I NEVER MEANT TO MAKE YOU CRY
THE DAY I LEFT FOR HEAVEN, FOR MY MANSION IN THE SKY
THE PARAMEDICS AND THE DOCTORS DID ALL THEY COULD THAT DAY
BECAUSE THE ANGELS HAD THEIR ORDERS-
"WE'VE COME TO TAKE YOU AWAY"!
I ASKED THEM IF THEY COULD WAIT, YOU MUST BELIEVE I TRIED
BUT THEY WHISPERED "IT'S TIME TO GO"-THE ANGELS SOFTLY REPLIED
THEN THEY ALL SURROUNDED ME AND WE STARTED ON OUR WAY
AND ONCE I SAW THE BEAUTY I KINEW I HAD TO STAY
I WAS ON MY WAY TO HEAVEN, IT WAS TIME FOR MY HEAVENLY FLIGHT
THE TRIP WAS OVERWHELMING, EVERYTHING SO BEAUTIFUL & BRIGHT
SOON MY FLIGHT WAS ENDING, WE'D REACHED OUR JOURNEY'S END
THEN I KNEW FOR CERTAIN, THAT'S WHERE ALL ETERNITY I'D SPEND
BUT NOW I AM YOUR ANGEL, I'M THERE WHEREVER YOU GO
FOR I'VE BEEN PUT IN CHARGE OF MY FAMILY & FRIENDS BELOW
THE CELEBRATING IS ENDLESS, THE REWARDS OF HEAVEN ARE GREAT
AND I'LL BE HERE WAITING WHEN YOU REACH THIS GOLDEN GATE
I'M SORRY THAT I HURT YOU, I NEVER MEANT TO MAKE YOU CRY
BUT ONE DAY SOON YOU'LL JOIN ME, IN HIS MANSION IN THE SKY
PROMISE ME YOU'LL BE READY WHEN THOSE HEAVENLY ANGELS APPEAR
AND WE'LL BE REUNITED HERE IN HEAVEN-WHERE ALL PAIN AND SORROW DISAPPEAR
YOU'LL NEVER KNOW THE TIME OR PLACE FROM WHICH YOU'LL TAKE THAT FLIGHT
BUT I KNOW IT IS FOR CERTAIN-IT COULD BE NEXT YEAR-NEXT WEEK-OR IT COULD BE TONIGHT
SO I'LL BE WAITING HERE IN HEAVEN, AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU SHOULD FEAR
WHEN GOD LOOKS DOWN AND CALLS YOU AND THOSE HEAVENLY ANGELS APPEAR
ONE DAY IT WILL HAPPEN, HE'LL REACH DOWN FOR YOUR HAND
AND I'LL BE HERE WAITING TO WELCOME YOU TO THIS GLORIOUS PROMISED LAND
TO MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS-I LOVE YOU!
THOUGH I AM WITH YOU STILL
FOR THOUGH YOU MAY NOT SEE ME, THIS PROMISE I WILL FULFILL
I'LL DO MY BEST TO GUIDE YOU, TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR WAY
SO WE CAN BE TOGETHER FOREVER-
YOU ONLY NEED TO PRAY!
A note to my daughter:
I KNOW you, and though you were headed to the most glorious place any of us can imagine, you were troubled by so much that day. The first thing that I believe ran through your mind was you were driving Blake's truck, which you told me so many times how much he loved, and so desperately tried to avoid putting a scratch on it.
I know you were so troubled by watching your brother in so much pain himself, trying to comfort you as you laid next to him in what turned out to be your last hour on earth as he reminded you how much you were loved.
Elizabeth and her only brother, Chuck
I know you worried about your sister and dad, as they would have to drive all night from another state to get here, not knowing what the outcome was. I know without a doubt that you took the wheel from dad on more than one occasion and helped guide them safely home that night.
Elizabeth and her only sister, Sissy
I know you feel responsible for all the pain we endure on a daily basis, and the countless tears you see us cry-but don't...it was God's plan, not yours. I know you would do ANYTHING to relieve the pain your brother and sister feel as they try to make the most of this life without you. They loved and admired you so much, and know they miss your daily input on their life's activities, and wish you were here to join them in their accomplishments and achievements. I know you are hurt by the pain you feel you caused Blake, and that you both had found what we all know was a "once in a lifetime love, and the pain he endures from losing you. I know, my precious daughter, because you have the most tender, compassionate heart of anyone I had ever met, and all you ever worried about was if someone was hurting, going through a bad situation, or was upset. You would do your best to change their situation, and if not, at least comfort them through whatever trials they were enduring. I Love You, precious Angel...and though this life no longer even resembles what it was before you flew away, I am holding onto the fact that we will all be reunited again. I believe that with all my heart and I can't wait to hold you once again.
I wish my daughter hadn't died. I wish every minute of every hour of every day, that I had her back.
I wish you wouldn't be afraid to speak my daughter's name. My daughter was very important to me. I need to hear that she was important to you also.
If I cry and get emotional when you talk about Elizabeth, I wish you knew that it isn't because you have hurt me. Her death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about her and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.
Being the parent of a child who has died is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn't shy away from me. I need you now more than ever.
I might be sad and I might cry, but please mention my daughter's name, the most pain comes when I think you have forgotten her.
I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over. This is extremely traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my daughter until the day I die.
I am working hard in my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will forever miss her, and I will always grieve that she is dead.
I wish you wouldn't expect me "not to think about it" or "be happy". For neither will ever happen.
I don't want to have a "Pity party", but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.
I wish you understood how my life has been shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I'm feeling miserable,so please understand when I don't care to see anyone, or go anywhere.
When I say, "I'm doing okay", I wish you could understand that I don't "feel" okay and that I struggle daily.
I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I'm having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all normal, please excuse me when I'm quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.
Your advice to "take it one day at a time" is excellent advice. However, a day is too much and too fast for me most of the time.. I wish you could understand that I'm doing good to handle an hour at a time.
Please excuse me if I seem rude, certainly not my intent. Sometimes the world around me goes too fast and I need to get off. When I walk away, I wish you would let me find a quiet place to spend time alone.
I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my precious daughter died, a big part of me died with her. I am not the same person I was before she died and I will never be that person again.
I wish very much that you could understand ~ understand my loss and my grief. But, I also pray daily that you must NEVER understand !
First my daughter...
Then my friend...
Now my ANGEL!!!
Life without Elizabeth
These events in our lives will never end. It is NOT just the birthday's or Angel birthday or holidays that you miss them! It also doesn't "go away" after the first year!
I can't begin to tell you the pain felt. I, of course, having given birth to Elizabeth, have circumstances of my very own that nobody else will ever understand. I may not handle my grief the best way possible, but I haven't found that I have a choice in the way I feel each day, each hour, each minute. I DO live in the past so much. It is happy there, with all three of my children ALIVE! Then there are the milestones they make now, when we all feel Elizabeth's presence, but more powerful, obvious, and painful than that is her physical absence. I do my best, and though it has been four years, I haven't found the pain that much less. There are days someone could stick a knife in me, and I think it would be less painful. Elizabeth's sister showed horses nationwide and a couple of months prior to her death qualified for the AQHYA, the world show for youth in the quarter horse association, to be held in Ft. Worth, Texas. Elizabeth had planned to go to support her. She was so proud of her sisters' accomplishments, and knew how much showing meant to her. Following that show, Sissy quit showing completely.
Elizabeth's brother, Chuck, played on the high school football team. Elizabeth photographed those games for the Franklin Press, so she could attend his games. Following her death, he chose not to play the following fall. Just one more of the many times when you can't just 'go on with life', as we hear so many times.
Then there's times like her brother's prom. He, being the youngest, is the family clown. He admired Elizabeth, and oddly enough she could tell him who to date and who not to, and he would pretty much take her advice. All of these events that you come to should be the example of celebration. While you continue to 'go through the motions', the pain is that much more evident. There isn't a day that goes by that her absence isn't felt in a big way.
Chuck - prom 2003
"It's time to stop grieving" is what they all say. Really, tell me, where's your child today?
Maybe at work, in college or planning for the day she will wed, mine is in the cemetery, we had no choice in this matter-we were forced to plan her funeral instead
You tell me it's over, it's time to let go. Your child lives here, I buried mine, what do you know?
I'm glad your child is well, please don't get me wrong. I'm hurting so much. I can't breath, I try to stay strong.
I want a hug, a prayer, maybe just mention her name. The life I once knew is over, nothing will stay the same.
I start to cry and you quickly turn away. Your silence says it all, there's nothing left to say.
Elizabeth's best friend Tiff, had spoke of and laughed about, as young girls so often do, them getting married one day, and being in each others' weddings. Tiff wrote about this and read it in her speech to Elizabeth at her funeral. Now, Tiff is on the verge of thinking about a wedding, and is finding this time, that should be so joyful, to be so painful. For she never thought she would be doing these things without Elizabeth right by her side, laughing and supporting her all the way, helping her with every teeny tiny detail, which she was so good at. She had an eye for everything. Maybe that's why she turned out to be a professional photographer. She could envision anything.
We are so grateful that Tiff, and Stef, her twin sister, who were both so much a part of Elizabeth's life, and like a part of our family, continue to be there for Elizabeth's brother and sister. They attended Chucks' graduation from college, and more recently Sissy's birthday. Elizabeth loved them both dearly, as do we.
Some things must remain
I really don't know why I CAN'T do certain things. I just get a sick feeling inside, and therefore must keep some things the EXACT way they were the day Elizabeth left. I guess the reasons are personal ones, and I won't even guess why I have the need to do, or not do them.
The laundry I folded of hers' the day she died, remains on the couch to this day. I had hung up one of her shirts I hand washed, where it still hangs.
There is NO WAY I will NOT hang up her stocking at Christmas, and I absolutely can not use the decorations we have used all our lives. I have never been able to open the box with all her baby ornaments for each year, along with everything she's made in school. But, I couldn't not have a tree either. So, we made an angel tree, with nothing but angel ornaments. I know she helps us decorate it each year, as she always had to have the PERFECT Christmas tree, and it always turns out beautiful.
You can FORGET her bedroom! There are those that get rid of their belongings, I have always thought 'maybe one day I will do that too'. NOT! I can't even think about that without getting sick to my stomach. Her room is exactly as she left it, her clothes in the closet, and everything in place. My feeling is those are her things, her room and much of it was priceless to her, as they have become to me, why in the world would I get rid of those things? That I could never, ever do. Her purse and things she had with her in the accident are in the same spot I placed them the night they brought them to me from the accident scene. Her boyfriend went to the vehicle to recover her belongings, and the police had her purse and cameras in the safe.
The calendar in the dining room remains on June 2002 to this day, where it will forever be.
One of the most difficult times of the year / Mommy (mom)
My dear sweet Angel...Well the time has come.This is one of the most difficult times of the year for me. From Februari until Juni.I re-live each and every week where we were what you were doing leading up to that horrendous fateful Saturday afternoon...
THE BEST MEMORIES I HAVE.... / Ashley Roper (Friend)
I WILL NEVER FORGET THE FIRST TIME I MET YOU ON THE SCHOOLBUS.....LITTLE DID I KNOW YOU WOULD TURN OUT TO BE ONE OF THE GREATEST FRIENDS I WOULD EVER KNOW. I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT SOME OF MY BEST MEMORIES WERE THE TIMES I HAD WITH YOU. ALTHOUGH WE HA...
You can't even begin to imagine... You can't even begin to imagine... Life after losing a child has many different faces. There are no words in the dictionary that define the pain and heartache felt. If your on the outside looking in, in your mind you probably "think" it must be hard for them when...
maybe when they visit her grave, or maybe when they sit in her bedroom, or see her car in the driveway every day. I'm sure you think it's hard on the day she was killed and her birthday. Of course, the holidays.
Everyone seems to think that's how it goes, and the rest of your life will get back to "normal" in time. THINK AGAIN! First of all, there is no "normal" anymore. And for me, anyway, sitting on her grave and talking with her is comfort. After all, that's where I last left her.
Elizabeth's grave the day of her funeral
Elizabeth's grave June 1, her 4th Angel Birthday
Originally I couldn't go to the accident scene. It wasn't long though, that I needed to go there. Her boyfriend took me.
The scene of the accident, with flowers from her boyfriend, and a cross made by her best friend the week following her death
The scene of her accident today~Sissy and Chuck placing flowers on her permanent cross
Now, I do go there often, knowing that was the last place she was herself, having fun, laughing. I know too, that is the place where her brother sat with her, lovingly comforting her until the helicopter flew her away to one hospital, and him to another. I lay my hand on the spot in the road where the officials so precisely marked where she laid, wishing with all my being I could have been there that day. You try, in your mind to imagine what was happening, what was she thinking just before it happened.
I lay in her bed, looking at everything in her room, which remains just as she left it that day that she last walked out of there, never to return. The pictures she had just hung up. The ones she took in New York City, and in photography class. Looking at all her awards and ribbons she won that are hanging on the wall from showing her horse that she loved so much.
Elizabeth showing her horse in a show
And the pictures she took, and developed herself of her boyfriend. They were her pride and joy.
Elizabeth and Blake, the love of her life~
Memorial table in remembrance of their once in a lifetime love, at her funeral
I remember when she would want me to lay in her bed with her and watch movies, especially when it was raining.
Elizabeth (right) and one of her best friends,Courtney~ at a horse show
I go to the barn and just look at her horse, reminiscing about the times when she was there, brushing her, giving her a bath getting her ready for a horse show. Practicing her jumping over and over and over again. The good times and bad, and how hard she worked for what she loved so much.
Elizabeth practicing her jumping
I sit in her car in the driveway, just as she left it with pictures of her and her friend Tiffany still stuck wherever she could fit them. I still smell her perfume. I try to imagine when, just a few weeks prior, her and I were sitting right there in that very car going to the airport for our mother daughter trip to New York City.
Wishing. Wishing, and wishing some more that we could somehow go back to that time and do it all over. Only on June 1, I would never let her walk out of the door for the last time. I guess everyone thinks these things are hard. and they are. only you don't realize that they are far from the only things. Everything is hard. Simply living is hard, for there are memories and pain in everything, and everywhere. Your entire world comes to a screeching halt. It feels as if you have been elevated somewhere out of this world as we know it, and are watching everything carry on, while you don't. You leave the graveyard after saying good night to your child, and watch as people go about their lives. How can everything go on, when NOTHING is the same. The world, MY WORLD, no longer exists. The days you are able to function, is somewhat in a "fog". You do what you HAVE to do to exist, and nothing more. The pain is EVERYWHERE... Going to the grocery store is just a normal activity? Think again. As you walk down the aisle picking up what you need your eyes catch a glimpse of something she loved. That's all it takes! Either you hide your face and break down right then and there, or you leave your cart and rush to your car. Walking past each and every aisle memories come rushing over you like a giant tidal wave. There's the baby aisle. I remember buying those type of diapers... I remember she loved that type of baby food... I remember when she made the worst face because she didn't like that one...
When you pick up a pack of steaks all of sudden you have walked into that brick wall again at full speed ahead... don't need to buy that package, after all, I need one less of everything! You buy it anyway just to avoid that knife piercing pain in your heart.
You make your way back home through the hustle of people going on about their lives while it takes everything in your being to keep the car on the road because the tears fill your eyes when you pass the restaurant that we made so many memories at. Somedays you HAVE to go there, maybe it's just to pretend things are still the same because it's too painful to do otherwise. Other days you can't drive by it fast enough and turn your head to avoid seeing the sign at all before you have another break down.
Arriving home is another thing... Unloading the groceries you remember when she was little and tried to "help" like a big girl and dropped the entire bag she was trying to carry. Then you remember when she got older and was so busy she wasn't usually home and you did it yourself, all the while reminiscing about the earlier times.
Trying to make dinner... You open the pack of steaks you have purposely purchased one too many of, and suddenly there's that brick wall again! I don't NEED to cook 5 baked potatoes, after all, there's only 4 of us now. You wrestle with your emotions and finally decide to try to minimize the pain you will cook it anyway, only to find yourself crying so hard while you wash a potato that you know won't have anyone there to eat it, that you can't see the sink.
I, for the most part, find myself living within the past. It's so much happier there. All three of my precious children are once again happy, healthy, and ALIVE!
You daydream about your daughters' wedding plans, never once do you daydream about her funeral plans. You shouldn't have to. It shouldn't be this way. THIS pain is unspeakable!
FORGET THE ANNIVERSARIES! Anniversaries were once "happy" times. Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, July 4th. Now they only mark pain. Each one brings back it's own pain of "remembering when". The anniversary of her death... You re-live the entire week minute by minute... what I can remember of it, anyway. The rest of it is somewhere out there. Where, I'm really not sure. Somedays I try to remember, with a few things showing up here and there. What time was it? What exactly was I doing? WHY? WHY? and oh yea...WHY !!! What did I say? What did I do?
I now live each and every hour in uncharted territory... I vaguely remember wandering into it...I have never wandered out!
Elizabeth's Legacy continues to this day. She has not left us, totally. There are so many things she does to try to comfort me. I usually don't tell anyone, because I KNOW they won't understand, and probably think I REALLY have lost it. I know it's her, and no...they are NOT coincidences!!! In the beginning, I tried to keep a journal of all of those times she did things, it became to be so many, and so often, I wasn't able to keep up. She tries so hard, especially when I am at my worst. Thank you, my precious Angel, I know your still with me...what I would give to have you here, though!
AN ANGEL ON EARTH-IF ONLY FOR A SHORT WHILE!
Elizabeth is an amazing young woman with great love for her family and friends. She had a love and talent for photography, which was to become her career. At the time of her death she was attending college, and also was photographer for the local newspaper. She had her own photo studio and was pursuing a degree in the photography field. Among the many wonderful traits Elizabeth had, was her desire to make everyone she loved happy. She was extremely thoughtful, generous, kind and caring, and would do anything for anybody-even if it meant sacrificing for herself. She is definetly one of a kind-an Angel on earth, if only for a short while.