The Grief of My Brother Shawn March-?

March 28, 2020

He is near to the broken-hearted. What about the shattered heart? My brother Shawn joined my oldest brother Daniel in Heaven on March 27, 2020. My life will be forever changed. I have too many things to say so for now I will reflect and write more later. He was 10 months older than me. We were basically twins and I was always more mature (he wouldn’t argue that but he would smile). Oh, how this grief runs deep. Jesus is near to all. As I left his side tonight I was reminded of one thing…some risks aren’t worth taking. Hug your siblings today. 😢❤️

When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me
When I’m standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear
I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me
I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me
In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord, You fight my every battle
Oh, and I will not fear
I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me
I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me
You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own
You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own
You’re my strength
You’re my defender…

-Kari Jobe

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March 29, 2020

I am sitting in my car crying as I write this to you. I am unable to wait in the hospital for the transport of my brother, due to COVID being high risk at a hospital, so as I wait in the car for his arrival I wanted to ask for prayers tonight specifically.

Meet my brother Shawn. This is a picture of me and him. He was a such a special and cute little boy! We were 10 months apart and I loved him so so very deeply. I believed in him and always cheered him on when he tried to conquer his addictions. I desperately desired for him to be a hero to his little boys and I wanted him to raise them with love and integrity but he didn’t know how to be a dad. Shawn was in pain. If you know anything about Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACE assessments you would find that he scored a 10. His trauma is ugly and his pain was unbearable. Many have asked how you can pray. Here is my prayer today. He was a donor. He also battled drugs. In 9 hours they will begin the process of recovering his organs. Please pray that they are viable and able to save lives. The most beautiful and healing thing about this tragedy is that he chose to save lives in the aftermath of his death. Please pick a time this evening between now and tomorrow to pray for this precious gift to bring healing to others. I am so proud of him for trying and I desperately want to see this final act of this final chapter in his life be victorious. Please Believe with me and pray with me. Please do not judge him for his addictions or issues during his life on earth rather celebrate this final act of a selfless goodbye.

Bubba, I love you so bad it hurts to breathe right now. I am so sorry for your pain. I am so thankful for every moment that I got to be your baby sister on earth. I am so so sorry for every time you were victimized and no one saved you. I am so sorry for all of your pain. I am so thankful for the funny memories. You were a great brother. You will be missed. I will continue to fight against child abuse for you and for Daniel. I will continue to pray for your children and I will continue to help others overcome their trauma! I love you and I will always be your EPPIE! 😢❤️💙

The link below is the most recent attempt to fight child abuse during this pandemic. Feel free to take this challenge in honor of my beautiful brother, gone too soon. I also wanted to thank you for praying for his organs to be viable.

 

March 30, 2020

❤️😭
They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can’t
It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You can
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭❤️❤️❤️God answers prayers and he did it BIG TIME today!!! My brother died a hero! Today he did not just save one life, he saved three lives today! They just took him back to the OR and all of his recipients are waiting. Before they took him I had a vision of the families celebrating the restoration of their loved one. I had a vision that they were holding their hands out and receiving all of the good that the Lord is bringing to them through the tragic death of my brother. Today as I mourn the loss of my bubba (my Irish twin) I also celebrate the gift of life he has provided for so many. Now I ask that you pray for comfort and peace as we finally close this chapter of his life and reflect with gratitude and sorrow.  #DonateLife Southwest Transplant Alliance

April 1, 2020

#FosteringHope since I can’t have a service for my brother at this time.

My bubba lost his life and it hurts deeply. I am now home. Due to COVID, we are not able to have a memorial at this time. I am so broken about that 😢. He was my bubba and he deserves to be celebrated! I am currently creating a video of him to share. I would also be so so very grateful if any of you are able to donate to an organization who helps abused and neglected children. Even a dollar can help. Big Country CASA staff helped me pay for his creamation. They have helped handle my very precious CASA case while I am unable to attend court this week. My supervisor and friends at CASA have gone above and beyond to ensure that my bubbas life has been honored as much as we can at this time and what a beautiful gift that has been. They lifted a burden from my life so that I can focus on grieving. If you feel lead to give to them in celebration of my brothers life, it would mean the world to me.

Anytime there is stress, grief and/or pain it is easy to slip into depression and bad life choices. I painted this thanks to a beautiful little 12 year old for inspiring me to learn how to paint with watercolor recently. I may paint like an amateur but it sure is healing. I am and will always use this deep pain and grief for good! It hurts to breathe but I will continue to choose life.

Karyn Carbone ❤️ tell your daughter thank you for inspiring me to paint. #Shawn #bubba #hurt #Hope #BigCountryCASA #love

To all who are struggling with grief! To all who are hurting during this isolation, you are not alone.

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April 2, 2020

Taking a moment to be candid about the ugly side of grief and the aftermath of the death of someone who was loved by many…nothing is fair. The corona virus made this an impossible situation. People get angry when you choose not to have a gathering due to a pandemic and strong suggestions not to. People do not understand that protecting him by not having visitors at the hospital kept him from contracting the virus which allowed him to donate his organs which he would not have been able to do if he had it. Hurt people will say just about anything to try and make you feel like you will never be enough or do enough. So here I am. Not Enough. I am okay with who I am. I cannot change others. I do realize that I sometimes empathize with those hurting to a fault…even when they are acting hateful towards me. I wish that I could please everyone but I CAN’T! I hope you all find peace just as I am attempting to do in this awful moment in time. I genuinely pray for everyone who knew Shawn Horne understands that we are all doing the best we can right now. If you knew him, I am asking that you refrain from talking to me unless you have something kind to say about my brother. I will take every fun, amazing, silly, brave and courageous story you want to share! Please be kind. The world doesn’t need ugly right now.

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Why?
The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from the explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains
So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering
I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ll fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide
Breathe
Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through
So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering
I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ll fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide
It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say it’s over now
I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ll fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide
Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide
Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide
Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here

April 7, 2020

I am angry! I am hurt! I miss my bubba! I cried like a baby while standing in the aisle when I was picking out plants today. How do you grieve? Here are a few ideas! Practice piano, learn to sew a face mask, make a volcano with your kids, sew by planting a garden, take photos and teach your 7 year old how to ride a bike! Oh and maybe eat a little ice cream from Two Professors Ice Cream!

April 8, 2020

😭 I’m so sorry!

To the man in the red, four door truck, who happened to pull up behind me when I was stopped instead of yielding to try and figure out which turn to take. I am sorry that I got out of my car and yelled at you after you honked at me. I am sorry that I told you to be patient or go around me. I have never let my emotions get the best of me like that. You probably thought I was nuts. I feel ashamed.

There is no excuse but please try and forgive me. My brother Shawn died a little over a week ago and the transplant team had just called me while I was in the parking lot to pick up my kiddos work from her school. When I got to that fork in the road, I was confused and feeling the pain of losing him and couldn’t decide which way to go. I zoned out for a moment and that is why I stopped my car more towards the side of the road. When I heard your horn it scared me and I made a horrible decision to jump out of my car and scream at you. When I got back in my car I began to weep. I felt terrible that I yelled at you. I feel terrible that you were trying to help me and I couldn’t make sense of it. The isolation, the illnesses, the loss of work, the fear, the sadness of losing both of my big brothers far too soon in this life is too much to carry sometimes. Please forgive me. Also, thank you to the couple who stopped to check on me while I was crying. I am okay. I will be okay.

To those of you on the losing end of life right now, I am crying with you. I am praying with you. I am struggling with you. You are NOT alone. I have HOPE and that is what keeps me going. I pray you will have hope too.
#forgiveme #grief

April 9, 2020

Thank you Lord for my little ones!

“Even When It Hurts”
-Hillsong

Take this fainted heart
Take these tainted hands
Wash me in Your love
Come like grace again

Even when my strength is lost
I’ll praise You
Even when I have no song
I’ll praise You
Even when it’s hard to find the words
Louder then I’ll sing Your praise

I will only sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise

Take this mountain weight
Take these ocean tears
Hold me through the trial
Come like hope again

Even when the fight seems lost
I’ll praise You
Even when it hurts like hell
I’ll praise You
Even when it makes no sense to sing
Louder then I’ll sing Your praise

I will only sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise

And my heart burns only for You
You are all You are all I want
And my soul waits only for You
And I will sing till the morning has come

Lord my heart burns only for You
You are all You are all I want
And my soul waits only for You
And I will sing till the miracle comes

I will only sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise

Even when the morning comes
I’ll praise You
Even when the fight is won
I’ll praise You
Even when my time on earth is done
Louder then I’ll sing your praise

I will only sing Your praise

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April 10, 2020

Often times I would find myself looking forward to our tomorrows because our today’s were filled with building our own lives, families, and healing from the loss of our older yesterday’s.

Oh bubba, I cannot help but think about the time it has taken me to work through the pains of our childhood trauma, time I cannot get back. Time I chose to leave. Time I needed to wrestle with my own inner demons and heal 😢. I know you understood. I am so broken about your brokenness. You and I were the closest as children and we walked through those fires together. You carried me through so many lonely days and nights as a child. You cheered me on with every milestone. You were funny, stubborn and full of life but it is not lost on me that there were demons that I couldn’t wrestle for you in the flesh. I prayed for you continuously and tried to teach you to fish because I knew that you desired to be a good husband and dad. I will never forget the tears you wept about your desire to quit using drugs so that you could parent your children and be a good husband! I will never forget your amazing qualities. I will never forget the happy tears and how proud I was when you got baptized. I will not judge you by your final choices but I will grieve them because they robbed you from us. I am sad that I was so stern with you at times. This is what I feared the most😥. Your final act though…it was an act of love! You saved lives! I am so proud of you for being a donor! This is just one way that you have shown yourself to be a selfless giver of life.

Oh grief! This grief is hard. I have so much to live for and I recognize it. Friends and family please know that my light is not burning out. I am brighter now than ever before in my spirit. The rage this has caused me is one that will not be withheld. I have already spoken and advocated on behalf of children who experience trauma passionately before but this has shifted me in a way I would have never expected. It has enraged me to be bolder, more passionate and more courageous in my efforts to help children mend from childhood trauma. I will spend my life seeking to understand healing and teach it. I will not allow any of this life we have lived be wasted.

Before this loss I had already desired to go through training called TBRI training and I desired to one day be a trainer to help children heal by helping adults understand how important it is to be a safe place for the broken minds of those around them! I will be doing it one day. I have studied it and learned as much as I can on my own and I truly believe I am called to this life work so I will continue the journey of getting to the training as I can afford it.

There are a few things that bring joy to my heart during these moments. Faith! My husband and children are definitely my cheerleaders and sweetest gifts! My nieces and nephews, oh how I love you! My adopted family! My children’s bedtime story will be ready this summer! It is about bonding with our children, oh how passionate I am to encourage this! My devotional will also be complete this year! Be ready to see God move mountains through faith! Be ready to see what these proverbial boxing gloves can do when fighting a giant demon! I will not tolerate abuse! I will fight it with everything God has equipped me to fight it with! I love you all and appreciate your prayers, words of encouragement and support during this tough time!

Both of my brothers lives mattered. Both of them have a voice through me. I hate drugs and the destruction it causes in the lives of the broken! I will continue to teach coping skills! I will continue to advocate for organizations that help others beat addiction and trauma. I don’t know everything but what I do know is that I cannot and will not be silent! I may grieve our tomorrows that never came but I will also be working to help others get their tomorrows. Listen to me… I want you to die of old age! I want you to live…to truly live! I want you to love, to truly love! I want your pain to be replaced with trust and healing!

Go hug your siblings today! ❤️

-love Stephanie
aka Aunt EPPIE!

Shawn Horne

April 17, 2020

❤️Little hearts, Empty Pockets, Hungry Bellies, and a Hand Up!

My brother Shawn and I lived three houses down from a gas station when we were in elementary school. One day our mom and step dad were struggling with their addiction and strung out on drugs and there was no food in the house so we walked to the gas station. We had empty pockets and empty bellies. We walked hand in hand in the ditch to the store. When we got there the store clerk said hello. We smiled and said “Hi.” Shawn told her we were just looking around the store. I remember standing in front of the case of hot food for several minutes staring at the burritos and corn dogs. Soon after walking around the candy aisle Shawn came and stood next to me. Quietly, we both talked about how good those burritos looked. The store clerk asked if we were hungry. We lied and said no because we had no money. We told her we were just looking. She asked our names and if we were new there. We nodded and Shawn said yes ma’am, we live down the road. We told her we would be back and we left. When we got back to our trailer I asked why we said we weren’t hungry? Shawn Horne said he didn’t know but maybe we can go back. We left again and decided to be honest. We walked back and the clerk said, back so soon? My bubba said “well we are hungry but we ain’t got no money, maybe we can sweep for you”. The store clerk reached over to grab a bag and scooped two burritos into a bag and handed it to him. He offered to sweep and she said sure. We put our burritos on the table and Shawn grabbed the broom, I held the dust pan, and we swept the floor together. After sweeping we sat down and ate that burrito like it was our first hot meal in a while. We became friends with the store clerks daughter who happened to be in my grade. She even lived down the road! Often times that store clerk would let us come stock the shelves and fill the drinks in the freezer for an exchange of food. What a sweet gift that store clerk was during a tough time in our lives.

About a year and a half ago my husband and I traveled back to that small town with our children. He wanted to see where I lived and know more about my life. We stopped at that same old gas station. We paid for gas. I walked in the store with our daughter Molly and although it was different inside, they still had that hot food. As my daughter stood in front of it I snapped a picture. Then I told the store clerk that I lived down the road 25 years ago and have fond memories at that store. The man working knew nothing about my story. He could have offered anything in the store, or he could have offered nothing at all. We had the money to pay for our food and gas and anything we needed. For some reason he felt compelled to reach for a bag and scoop a burrito into it. He handed it to me and I began to cry. We paid for our kiddos to get a snack and drink. I told the clerk that he had no idea what that little burrito offering meant to me. We thanked him and as we got into the car I took a picture. I was in shock. What? How would he have even known? What just happened? I looked over at my husband and tears just began to fall. He put his hand on my shoulder and smiled. I then told the girls that I wanted them all to taste the goodness of a fried burrito. I took a bite of that crispy blessing and gave the rest of it to my family to share. They asked questions and Molly was confused as to why a fried burrito would make me cry. I then took the opportunity to share how God used that store and a clerk to provide for a need when I was growing up.

Sometimes the kindness of a store clerk, a willing heart, hungry bellies, and empty pockets can create the sweetest memories. I’m praying for all of the children missing meals at school or living in turbulent situations!

Maybe, just maybe that store clerk knows how much I love her but in case she doesn’t… Lynn Ballentine Hamm thank you for being a blessing to me and Shawn Horne when we were so young and thank you for the hand up in life. Now my sweet brother is gone and I am left with our memories. I am also so thankful for these memories with him. He had courage and was brave to speak up for us when we were in need! I miss him so much!

☎️Also can we just talk about pay phones for a second. Of course I had to get a picture of the pay phone shell. We didn’t have a home phone so I considered that my home phone and I gave all of my friends the pay phone number and a time to call me after school. That’s fun to think about too! Stay connected to those you love!

Share if you know someone who may need the encouragement that God provides!

#BeTheClerk #AlwaysForever

April 19, 2020

This is Marilyn Senyckyj. She is my birth mother. Recently the pain of losing my brother Shawn Horne has caused some pain from our past to creep back in. Today my pastor David McQueen spoke on forgiveness and not harboring bitterness and another pastor who I also love and respect dearly name Randy Turner shared an experience of walking through his own pain as a child 😭 and walking through forgiveness❤️.

My birth mother and I have spoken recently and she remorsefully apologized time and time again for what we went through as kids.

😢Listen, I am going to be real here even though it hurts. There was a moment very briefly in our conversation that I wanted to accuse and hurt her as much as she hurt us but then the grace and mercy of Jesus filled my heart in that moment. I began to cry, which I don’t typically do when talking to her. I was crying because I know she had a very tough life as well. She self medicated to numb the pain of a very violent past. I was crying because I no longer want her to walk with the burden of shame and guilt that has held her back all of these years. I want her to live her life and live it fully. I was crying because I cannot imagine what her mother heart must be feeling as she has now tragically lost two sons😭. I fully accept her humble ask for forgiveness. I also pray healing and peace to cover her.

I also want to take a moment and thank God for the parents that He placed in my life to be my mom and dad in the absence of my birth parents. I know Marilyn appreciates them too.

❤️Forgiveness doesn’t mean you let down your boundaries or trust fully. It does mean that you trust Jesus fully and allow Him to lead you out into new waters. It doesn’t mean that we can move in with one another and pick up where we left off 20 years ago and pretend nothing ever happened. It means the Old is Gone and the New has come. I believe it means we can respect one another and still operate with Love and Kindness, Grace and Compassion.

One of the sweetest things she recently said to me was that she watched my testimony online of messages where I have shared my painful story. She said —>“it is hard to hear but if it can help one parent not hurt their kids then it is worth it.” <— READ THAT AGAIN! I believe that is freedom in the making. My whole purpose in sharing my story is to help others rise up and heal!

Forgiveness=Freedom
I am also thankful for the forgiveness God has given me for my mess ups and my sin! I cannot imagine carrying that baggage around for the rest of my life. I also cannot imagine my children not forgiving me for any of my mistakes.

❤️If you are a mom or dad hoping for forgiveness please know that it sometimes takes 20 years. Love them through their hurt. If you are a child with struggling to forgive those who have hurt you, know that you can experience the weight lifted and the chains break! You are all loved! Grace…peace…mercy and love!

Thank you Beltway Park Church for the message today.

#forgiveness #letgo

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April 26, 2020

Grief part #1007. It seems as though it has already been far to long without my beloved brother here on earth. Part of grief is finding ways to express pain, and for me I believe finding ways to grieve in a healthy way is vital! Andrew Holmes reached out and asked if there was anything he could do for me during this unbelievably tough time. I thought about it and there was something he could do to help me process all of the pains that have consumed my mind. I had been journaling stories about my brother as I thought through my life with him. I asked if Andrew was willing to help me write a song. He said that he would be honored and he asked me a few key questions to start the process. I answered the questions, heart exposed. He used those answers to creatively express all that I had been trying to write.

I am so thankful for the beautifully written reflection of my heart that Andrew has written. Shawn Horne would have loved it. We recently recorded it in the studio with another very talented musician and dear friend Matt Ellis, we and have had it mixed by another amazing artist and dear friend in Nashville named Elliott Park! It will be mastered by none other than the amazingly talented engineer Sean D’Entremont and ready for you all to hear soon so please stay tuned!

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April 27, 2020

“You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good. In the meantime, don’t be foolish or naive. But don’t despair either. With God’s help, you will get through this.” -Max Lucado

I am sitting at my desk with a lump in my throat writing once again. In front of me is a beautiful window that my husband built in my room office so I can watch my amazing children play while I work. I open the window and I listen to life in those sweet little voices and think about all that they could do and who they will be throughout their journey and my grief grows even stronger for you.

My heart is broken but my faith is strong. It is hard to explain. There is tension. There is pain. There is brokenness. There is a burden that is heavy and unbearable.

Beloved Brothers of mine, we grew up so fast, too fast. We looked after one another. You called me Eppie and made fun of me too many times. You kept secrets from me but you let me tag along when you went to the store. Protective is an understatement and I am thankful for that. I won’t even go into the trouble that you two got into together.

You both made some really bad choices, we all do, but you were good hearted young men. Only someone who understands the amount of torment that you both endured would be able to cast their judgement and even then I believe they would shower you in empathy and grace. I pray as you entered the throne room of heaven that you felt peace. The kind of peace that you sought after in each failed attempts to numb your pain on earth. I pray that the old is truly gone and your NEW has come. I love and miss you.

Love,
Eppie

For all of my friends needing hope. We will get through this.

Shawn Horne

#Grief #AlwaysForever #Love #Brothers #Siblings

May, 31, 2020

Shawn, bubba, I miss you something fierce today. I have loved looking at the the old text messages that you wrote me. Remember when I created your business logo? I sent it to you and asked if you liked it. You wrote back. No…then you waited a bit…then you wrote…I love it! I loved you something fierce. Miss you so much! 😢

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June 22, 2020

Brace yourself for another tough post from me. I have found that writing is helpful in processing grief. My hope for sharing is always to help others feel that they are not alone and also to be encouraged by those who are blessed with the ability to encourage those of us who are hurting.

What do I do with this massive tissue between my ears? My brain is on overload often times than not. I didn’t want to write about it yesterday because I wanted to honor the fathers in my life but today I need to share.

Gone. BOTH of my BUBBA’s are GONE! Yesterday marked 14 years since my oldest brother Daniel died by suicide. I still get a lump in my throat when I think about that sorrowful day. Shawn will be gone three months on the 27th of this month. Both of them were fathers. Daniel has three beautiful daughters and Shawn has three handsome sons. All of those babies were left without their daddy and I am angry for them. They weren’t perfect but dammit if I was not hopeful that they would pull through their struggles and overcome victoriously. They died tragically. As a Christian, I do believe Heaven is a victory but I want them here not in heaven.

As children, BOTH of them experienced abuse, neglect, and trauma. BOTH of my brothers struggled with drugs and had been incarcerated throughout their lives. Both had experienced poverty. Both of my handsome brothers were broken and in need of kindness and grace. I was ALWAYS hopeful of a turnaround and I had always hoped that we would someday be old and gray together. I had longed for a backyard BBQ where we get together and talk about SURVIVING the trauma that we all encountered! But they didn’t. They DID.NOT. SURVIVE. They are FOREVER. GONE, and I am left here on earth to figure out what to do with this chapter of my life.

Chapter 35: Here I am 35 years of age and experiencing something that causes me to want to crawl into the arms of Jesus and my mom Gina‘s lap and weep. A friend D Grant Smith asked recently what his friends want to be known for when we leave the earth and I replied with one word, Authenticity. I want to be known for being someone who had the desire to be authentic and mask free. Some days this journey isn’t pretty but on other days it is beautiful. I felt the tension of both emotions yesterday. Ugly and Beautiful, all at once. It was a silent storm where I quietly cried out to God a few times during the day and into the night and if I am being candid, I didn’t feel him but I still had hope that he would bring comfort to my spirit. I still feel as though God could turn something so tragic into something good. In reality, though, at times I feel selfish because I don’t want to experience the heartache and anger. My burden is heavy today. I feel angry that Daniel and Shawn’s children have to live without them. I feel heartbroken that I will never have that victorious moment of knowing that they felt freedom from those painful chains that weighed them down here on earth. I feel angry that my birth parents were addicts and abusers during the years when we couldn’t defend ourselves.

Both of my brothers made HUGE mistakes that landed them both in a position to be permanently separated from those of us who love them. In the wake of this grief, I try to stay positive but I will not paint a picture of them that is not accurate. They both were good-hearted young men. Both of them had incredible potential to change the world. Both of them were funny and loving. BUT…they both had deep, dark grief. They both had some friends who didn’t really have their back or hold them accountable. They both struggled to feel like men because the shining (<-sarcasm) examples around them lacked any light..they weren’t preparing them to get up after they fail. They were not prepared to be confident and kind to not only the world but to themselves. Neither one of my brothers could overcome their failures. My brother Shawn Hornecould not care for his children because he couldn’t even care for himself. Tragically he lost his life while participating in illegal activity with someone who claimed to love him but struggled with addiction as well.

Shawn and Daniel, Bubbas, I loved you both deeply. I was so proud of the moments when you overcame and was cheering you on in your attempts to be a better version of yourselves. I am not and will never be ashamed to call you my brothers and I appreciated all of those moments that you both took the blows that hit us from the pits of hell. I know you both are in Gods hands but that doesn’t make it any less painful. Until we see one another again, I will tell our story the best that I can and I will advocate for the little ones who need a voice. I will stand against drugs and abuse. I will not waste these precious moments on earth. Thank you both for the years of pinky promises.
Love, your little baby sister Eppie

P.S. Here is the song that we wrote and produced in memory of Shawn Horne.

Special thank you to the writers and producers of this song: Andrew Holmes, Sean D’Entremont, Danny Ellison, Elliott Park, Matt Ellis

June 26, 2020

We’re finally able to have a Memorial/Celebration of life for my beloved brother Shawn Horne. Please pray for safe travels. I love you all. I am excited to see two of my nephews and one of my nieces.

Shawn Harold Horne was ushered into Heaven on March 27, 2020. He was 36 years old. We were not able to have a service at the time of his death so we have decided to celebrate his life now as things are opening back up.

Shawn was born on December 21, 1983, in Texas. He couldn’t wait to join the world on that cold winter day. He was born at home during an ice storm to his parents Richard Horne and Marilyn Durrett.

Growing up, Shawn was the type of student that teachers loved due to his warm and funny personality and they also loathed him due to his ability to make them feel exhausted by 8:30am just 30 minutes after starting their class day. He was too busy for a stationary desk and his favorite activities were lunch, recess, and winking at the cute girls on the playground. He had the messiest desks and could talk his way out of trouble with anyone. Shawn was loud like thunder and here and gone like lightning. He was an unforgettable messy storm.

Shawn was so very proud to have his first son Tristan Eli Horne with Miranda Harrell. He realized very quickly that he wanted his son to have a better life than what he could give him so he made the incredibly painful and sacrificial decision to sign over his rights so that “Eli” could have a chance to grow up in the loving arms of his grandparents and mother. Like lighting, he was gone but would come back when he felt healthy enough.

After some time of self-discovery, Shawn met his wife Jennifer and they had two beautiful boys together. He named them Daniel and Noah. Oh, he loved them so! One of the greatest moments in his life was watching all of his boys be born.

Shawn was gifted in flooring and he had the amazing opportunity to create floors for hotels, homes, businesses, and even his own homes along the way. He started his business and blessed so many by providing a masterpiece beneath their feet. He was an amazing singer and if you were to compare his voice to the famous ones Randy Travis and George Strait would be at the top of the list. Shawn never met a stranger and was the type of person who would stop and help you if you were stranded on the side of the road. He would give the shirt off of his back if you needed it. He didn’t have much but gave what he had to help others.

Shawn was preceded in death by his beloved brother Daniel, grandparents Minnie and Alvin Durrett, and his cousin Mark Horne uncles Mitchell and Roger and aunt Vicki Horne. He is survived by his wife Jennifer and his sons Tristan, Daniel and Noah. He is also survived by his sister Misty and her husband Jason Bennett, and their children Brendon and Alaina Bennett. His sister Stephanie And her husband Daniel Ellison and their four daughters Abby Emma, Molly, and Willow. He is also survived by his sister in law Tanya and nieces Lacy, Haley, and Faith. He is also survived by his mother Marilyn Senenski and father Richard Horne. He wouldn’t want to leave anyone out and he is survived by many uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends. He loved you all so much.

Shawn will be greatly missed but when you look up at the stars and the heavens it is safe to say that Our Lord has put him to work creating floors for our Father’s house. When we join him after our work on earth is done we, will walk beside him just like he is walking with our brother Daniel right now.

He is healed and he is in better hands now.

 

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July 19, 2020

I captured this photo while in the hospital room with my brother as he was declared brain dead and on life support on March 27, 2020. I know it may seem odd that I took a picture of this moment but I wanted to remember that it. I never thought I would be sharing it with anyone but I feel that some may need this. I also recognize that this may make some people feel uncomfortable and I am sorry for that as well.

I was holding my bubbas hand. It was dark and cloudy outside which was identical to how I felt in that room. I felt fear, pain, regret, anxiety, anger, disbelief, and deeply sorrowful. I am someone who has faith in God but I was struggling to see through the darkness before this moment. I was crying out to him in desperation, wishing that he would work a miracle by saving my beloved brother. Both great sorrow and hope filled me and the only words that I could think of were the words of a song. Where words fail, music speaks. I began to sing, my voice was shaking as I held my brother’s hand and whispered this song “You are Waymaker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, My God that is who you are”. I desperately wanted God to heal him! I wanted him to wake up. This song was my cry for a physical miracle! My eyes were closed as I was singing and all of a sudden I began to feel the warmth on my face. The light pierced through the clouds outside the window and kissed the tears on my face. The grief was heavier than I felt I had the capacity to hold. I gripped my brother’s hand tighter as I took this photo. In this moment, I shared my heart with Shawn. I prayed over his broken body. I wept. I felt God as the warmth of the sun hit my face but that didn’t make this a happy moment. It was awful.

One thing that God knows about me is a motto on repeat in my brain about the distinction between happiness and joy. “Happiness is like lightening it comes and goes like a flash but joy, like the sun, remains constant even if the clouds cover.” When I felt the sun at that moment it reminded me of a verse in James 1:2-4 that I have tattooed on my wrist. I marked my skin years ago with the word joy due to the death of my first brother by suicide. I felt God reminding me that I made it through loss and that He will carry me through this one as well. His love and peace remain faithful even in my darkest moments. Feeling these emotions are incredibly conflicting for me but the tension in my chest helps me to remember that my brothers were deeply loved and the way that I can love and honor them is to teach others that it is okay to feel. Feeling equals being alive. Processing feelings is vital to truly live.

Far too many people cope with their pain by self-medicating with food, alcohol, drugs, and avoidance. I want to encourage you to feel! Even if it is hard to find joy around you, my hope is that you will try to allow yourself time to truly process your own life and the meaning of it all.

Feel the weight of what is going on in your world! My friends, you need to understand that you do not need to be positive all the time and you should not expect others to be as well. It is possible to lay aside your unyielding denial of what is going on in your life and stop ignoring unpleasant feelings. You do not need to ignore grief, sadness, fear, anger, and pain. Internal negative emotions always find a way to escape us if we do not process them. Embrace the world as it is, every moment as if it were meant to educate you. Ask yourself what can you learn about the way you are feeling? We cannot push away our feelings. The only people who never experience the dark sides of life are those who are no longer breathing. Do not be afraid to feel discomfort because it is part of the process of finding meaning in life.

I loved studying logotherapy during my graduate studies because of the therapeutic approach of helping others find meaning in their difficult life circumstances. I believe we can find meaning in our lives by embracing the good, the bad, and the ugly. The emotions that are oftentimes most difficult for us to process will provide insight into what we appreciate. If you are grieving the death of a loved one then you valued their life. It is important to recognize that you are not your emotions, you experience emotions. Normalize these emotions that you feel. Emotions communicate with you in order to help you build courage, compassion, empathy, joy, and other positive benefactors on this journey if you allow yourself the vulnerability to process them in full.

If we are seeking diversity in this world we must seek to allow our emotional truths to provide diversity in our minds first before we can recognize the complexities of the life around us. How can you help others process grief if you stuffed your grief and tried to pretend that you are okay? How can we help others cope with anger if we have never acknowledged that we have been angry and reflect that we have overcome it? How can we teach others to overcome jealousy if we do not seek to fully acknowledge the torment that jealousy causes in the mind and heart and seek to discover how to release its power over us? How can we promote joy if we haven’t sought to fully understand our joy? How can we see happiness if we have not embraced the power of a happy moment?

Dig your hands into the earth and cry out. Scream if you need to. I did. I still feel the lump in my throat and disbelief but I manage to muster up those words to that song, Way Maker, and reality sets in that I am not alone. Not one moment have I ever been alone. Humanity grieves for love lost. Humanity feels.

When you see yourself you can then see others. When you see others you can see a reflection of yourself past, present, or future.

I love you and I feel you!
Love,
Stephanie Ellison

 

#GoFeel #Emotions

 

August 1, 2020

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Grief part 7052 😢❤️: Dreams.
Lately, I have been happily distracted from really processing grief from the trauma that happened in March. My brother was declared brain dead and the toughest decisions that I have ever faced were hijacking my brain. I know this is incredibly insignificant compared to his death but due to COVID, just a few days before Shawn died, my photobooth business experienced two seasons of cancellations, one of which has notoriously been the busiest season of the year. The financial loss coupled with the devastating loss of a beloved brother will send your mind into a hurricane of fear.

I honestly feel as though the past few months have been a blur. COVID slowed the world down and I have worked through a ton of the hard stuff by planting a garden, writing, designing this beloved children’s book, focusing on motherhood, and asking how I can be better as a wife and mom. I have also been learning about the impact of racism in my life and learning how to be anti-racist, understanding political views, and riding bikes. I have spent tons of time on two wheels in nature. I have also been preparing for a new job with AISD as the Positive Behavior Support Liaison (I am so grateful for this new job opportunity). Whew, it has been a short and long ride!

Back to the grief though! Last night I was so happy about my bookselling a few more preorders. I was excited to be able to bless children and families! I was happy about the lullaby. I went to bed with a joyful heart and a tummy full of butterflies about this next chapter of my life. I fell asleep after tucking the kiddos in and studying for a little bit. Then, after a few hours of sleep, it hit me. 😭 I woke up at 4am in a panic and the tears would not stop. My dream was so real. I walked into an elevator, went to the 7th floor where my brother was in ICU. He had been there for months. When I walked into his room the nurse said “he took a breath on his own today”. I was in shock because he was never supposed to do that again. I looked at him and he raised his head and smiled with his big goofy grin. Again, he wasn’t supposed to do that either. I tried to stay calm as I said “hey bubba. I love you! What are you doing?” He sounded as if he were suffering from a voice disorder and he was incredibly uncomfortable. His speech was slow and it took him a painfully long time to say, “I. Don’t. Know.” I tried to get him to talk more but he couldn’t. The tears came as I asked the Doctor why he told me my brother would NEVER talk again or breathe on his own again???

I jolted awake and the real tears would not stop!

Here I am at 5am. Trying to make sense of this moment of terror in my life. When faced with the end of life decisions of someone you deeply love, no answer seems correct. Have you ever seen a hummingbird’s wings? They move so fast they are blurry to look at, no matter how hard you try to see them. That is what that moment was. It was as if my body was there but my brain was moving as fast as a hummingbirds wings. I was seeking answers to understand the science that it takes doctors 8 years to understand. I was hoping that I could google my way to a positive outcome. I called for the doctor to show me the scans. I asked him to show me every test that they ran so that I could watch for myself and see my brother fail to move. I even opened his eyelids so that I could try to see some attempt of life and his pupils were what the doctor referred to as “blown”. That term was offensive to me at that moment because I didn’t want to accept it. His eyes are brown. Maybe these medical professionals were missing something. I asked to see the scans again! I asked 7Billion questions about his quality of life and deterioration of it. I tried so hard to find a way to “make him survive”. My conclusion while I wiggled his feet, squeezed his hands and listened to every beep and synthetic breath looking for signs of authentic life, was that I needed to accept the medical professionals and what they had to say. I had to quickly accept that I would never see him again on this side of heaven.

My tears this morning are for the what if’s. If he would have awakened from this nightmare, would he have ever truly been able to speak again? Would he have ever been able to hold his children? Would he have ever been able to eat on his own or bathe? The amazing medical professionals that patiently answered the questions that I had through my sobbing disbelief, over and over, with a very kind and heartfelt no. His unresponsive brain was already gone. His opportunity to live was through organ donation and the memory of those who knew and loved him.

As I sit and watch the sunrise, I am also blessed to see the hummingbird sip from the red feeder that Jim & Ann Jones blessed me with, I am incredibly thankful that I made it through that blur. I am thankful for the medical professionals who patiently helped me and I am so very thankful for my husband and children and family of support. The grief is untamed. It’s raw and ugly. As I try to move forward I am reminded that the memory of both of my brothers lives in me. God’s mercies are new every morning. I ask not for pity but for prayers as moments like this sneak into my dreams.

Go hug your family and love them today! You may never have this moment again. Also, forgive one another. ❤️

Love,
Steph

 

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