I remember it well. It was a September morning that I sat with a friend to have coffee, cry and try to put together the pieces of a puzzle called grief. It was just a few short weeks after she had lost her son, to an accident as well. We were friends before but now we shared a new and different kind of friendship only people who have lost a child can understand. I remember her saying, “I get it! I understand how you feel.” I remember those words very clearly. She went on to tell me it’s different after you have lost a child. The pain is more than she imagined and the heartache was even worse. She asked me, “How did you do it! How did you get up each day and deal with life?”

Well, I still wonder some days how I do it. It will be 3 years on August 23, 2013 since we lost Tyler. But from the beginning, even the night of the accident, I remember looking for the positive or good in that situation. Some days I had to look hard for the smallest things like – I actually got out of bed. But for me it was a positive and that is what I needed. I could not of made it through or continue to without my faith. It was after Tyler’s accident that I found out how strong my faith was. It was trusting that God would get me through this. It helped for me to talk to other people who had lost children. It really gave me hope that I could also get through this difficult time in my life. I also had friends who were there to help even if they didn’t know exactly what to say. I reminded her that I am not an expert but this is what helped me. I offered her “time,” time to get together to talk, cry or whatever it takes to get through this new journey together.

Since Tyler’s accident I have met a number of people who have lost children. I can remember a friend asking if it was OK to give my number out to her relative that just lost a child. She warned me that her loss was a terrible one and her relative was very angry. She thought it might help to talk to me to give her hope that she would make it through this. I felt honored that someone thought I had something to say that would help. It was a cold winter morning I sat down to have coffee with my new friend. She lost her child to a terrible accident. There were many hard feelings, hurt, anger, confusion, and she was unsure where God fit into this equation. I remember telling her my story. Ours were different in that I believed Tyler’s accident was just that – an accident. I knew her story was more complex. But in the end I just wanted her to know that the way I continue to get through my new journey is with my faith and God. She was unsure how God played a role in her story. I never pushed my faith but just told my story. God has a way of making everything work out.

It’s amazing how God works. I look back on my life. I see how God placed two customers in my path ten or more years earlier that lost children. Those were the people I was drawn to help me understand my grief, answer my questions, and give me hope. I look at how God has worked in my life during and after Tyler’s accident. I really believe he is working through me to help others get through their loss. He has given me the strength, the words and compassion to help others who have lost children. I am not an expert, but I can encourage those hurting and tell my story to give hope that we will all make it through this new journey together.

Missy Hillmer

My name is Missy Hillmer. I’m married, live in a small town named Palmer, NE and have 3 children. Jake is our oldest who is 19 years old and Gracie is 11 who lives here with us. Tyler which was 15 years on August 20, 2013 is now in Heaven. He was killed in a car accident just 3 short days after his 15th birthday. I am very honest, very real sometimes to the point of not being fun, I guess that’s because I’m a black and white kind of girl. I like to look at the positive in every situation. I really believe there are two ways to look at things. Look for the bad or the good. The “bad” does me no justice and can spiral out of control in a heartbeat. The “good” however gives me hope and it connects with my belief that God is with me through everything. I believe my faith has gotten me through life and especially since my son’s accident. I pray a lot more, watch for the signs that God gives me, listen to my inner gut feeling, as my husband calls it and really focus on living a simple life. Family means everything to me, I love to laugh and think it’s the best medicine for any problem. Music soothes my sole and being outside in the sun brings me great joy! I have learned that many times you cannot control the storm in your life but, you can learn to dance in the rain. I really mean it when I say DANCE in the RAIN! The summer before Tyler’s accident, Tyler, Gracie & I danced in the rain. This memory I will never forget! Since Tyler’s accident I am passionate about telling my story with the hope that it will help or inspire at least one person.