On Tuesday, January 21, 2020, my life forever changed.

In the early morning, my husband and I woke to start the day, just like any other day. About a half-hour before my husband’s alarm rang, we heard our daughter, Cassie’s, alarm ringing. My husband groggily went to her bedroom to shut the alarm off and noticed that she was not there. This was not unusual though. There had been many occasions where Cassie woke extra early and came downstairs to use the family computer to tackle homework assignments.

My husband returned to bed, and we both fell back to sleep until his alarm woke us. As what we thought would be just like any day, my husband picked up the dog to bring her outside, and I proceeded to the bathroom. Within minutes I heard my husband yelling, but I was unable to make out what he was saying, figuring he was yelling at the dog to come back in the house from her bathroom run. At one point, as I had noticed Cassie’s light on in her room, I yelled to her from the bathroom… “Cassie, what is daddy yelling about?” No answer. Seconds later I heard my husband scream “call 911!”. I knew deep in my gut that something was seriously wrong, never imagining what I would walk into the next few minutes later.

Cassie had taken her life…and this life…as we knew it, was forever changed… never to be the same again. Our lives were completely shattered.

The Vision is Birthed

There is no need to give you all the traumatic details that followed that day. Actually, those first few days are a complete blur…and yet…I can relive it over, and over, and over again. I spent most of my days in bed…one day after another…waking to the same reality…wondering how I would ever survive the loss of my precious daughter. I am not going to lie. I did entertain the thought of joining Cassie…that was always somewhere on my mind. I could not function…I could barely breathe…and the only thing I can say that kept me in this life was my older daughter, Lindsay. My poor baby girl had experienced so much loss in her short 19 years of life. She had just lost her baby sister. How could I ever add to that pain? It did not take long for me to realize that in no way ending my life was a possibility. So now what?

At some point early on I knew in my soul, and deep within my heart, that Cassie’s story did not end with her physical death. The phrase “Cassie’s Cause” came to me early on. It had such a great ring to it, even though I had no idea what that would ever look like. Periodically those words – “Cassie’s Cause” – would pop in my head. In March of that same year, the world was suddenly in chaos. The Covid virus had hit! As devastating as this virus has been, though, there were many silver linings along the way. My husband, David, now had to work from home. We had to drive the 11 hours to college to bring Lindsay home, as schools and colleges were now working remotely. I took solace in the fact that the three of us, along with the family dog, Gretel, had to now isolate under one roof. Covid really helped keep me isolated from the world, and it didn’t look unusual, because everyone else had to isolate too. As crazy as this may sound, Covid truly served its purpose at this time in my life. Each day I would stay in bed…searching Netflix, or Amazon Prime, for shows that dealt with life after death. I wanted to know that Cassie’s spirit was alive and well…and even more than that…I needed to believe that she was close…that I could feel her… that she could hear me…that she was still present in our lives…and that her spirit was pretty powerful and she could send me signs from Heaven. At the time, I fell upon an Amazon Prime special called “Life to Afterlife – Mom Can You Hear Me”. Coincidence? I think not.

What I have learned since that day back in March of 2020, was the knowledge and understanding that Cassie truly was not gone! A new way of thinking…a new life to live…new beliefs…acceptance of the unknown…and an open-mindedness beyond human explanation was evolving deep within my soul. But that’s all for another time…another story to tell. What I will say, however, is that I have met some amazing people along this grief journey…and I have met life-long, like-minded friends that helped me to survive the devastation of losing a child. I could not have survived this journey thus far if it wasn’t for this new way of thinking and new friendships. Many of these parents did not just want to survive. They wanted to live! Hopeful, thriving, and life-changing lives…all for the purpose of trying to find their children, keeping their children’s spirits alive, and honoring their kids! This new way of viewing the remainder of my life is what gave me the hope to wake up each day. I knew I wanted…actually, I needed… to more than just exist. I wanted to find peace, joy, and purpose again…someday.