I Can Only Imagine....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

First of all...HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am thankful for my family, friends, my health, and my job. We had a great day. Savi ended the day with mommy by falling asleep in my arms. She rarely does that and I enjoyed every second!

Today I spent a moment in silence to remember a dear friend. I feel like I haven't retold this story to anyone in so long. Yet it is so fresh in my mind. 13 years ago... when I moved to a new private school in 6th grade I was definitely nervous. The school had a program called the buddy program. They hook you up with a family/student the summer before you attend school so that they can help you get to know some people and just so the first day there is at least one friendly face. Mine was Brooke Gray. I remember she invited me over for a girls lunch to introduce me to some of her friends. Her mom and her were very nice. For the rest of my many years at school, we became great friends. It turned out we went to the same church. Between her and some other girls, I became much more involved in church. We were in choir together at church and went on some great trips together. I spent many Friday nights at her house doing crazy stunts and all kinds of fun stuff.

We also went to summer camp together. Our last summer that we went to camp we were introduced to Mercy Me. Our counselors had there cd and played it all the time. I remember both Brooke and I loved them. Later our senior year of high school we found out that our church would be having them every Monday night as the worship band for a young single service. It was sort of meant for a college crowd, but it was fine if we went and we DEFINITELY wanted to. A chance to see Mercy Me live to sing one of our favorite songs was so fun. "I Can Only Imagine" was that song. We got to hear them play it several Monday nights as we went.

We were all on Thanksgiving break our senior year and having a blast. One night we went to the Super Target parking lot and just hung out in the back of a friends truck. Not getting into trouble or anything, but just being seniors I guess. The day before Thanksgiving I went with my mom and sister to see the Rockettes in Grand Prairie. In the middle of the show, one of my other friends was calling me constantly. Kind of unusual for her. I thought because her parents were going through a divorce she was having a rough time and needed me for something. I got up from the show to call her back. She was out of town at the time visiting family in San Angelo. She answered crying and I asked what was wrong. She asked if I had heard anything and I said no. What? Her mom had called and said she had heard of a small airplane crash matching the description of the Gray family and there plane. I dropped to my knees in the middle of the lobby. I was at a loss for words. At that time it was not completely confirmed, but speculated the whole family had died. They were on there way to see family for Thanksgiving. Brooke's dad had his own plane and pilots license. November 26, 2002 Kathy, Bill, Chad, Chase, and Brooke Gray all died in a plane crash.

I had never experienced loss like this. I mean it is sad when your grandparents die for sure, but they lived (hopefully) a long wonderful life. Brooke was one month shy of her 18th birthday. Her brothers both college age and her wonderful parents had many years ahead of them. I will never forget when I got that call from Laurie telling me the news. I spent the rest of the night in the lobby waiting for my mom and sister to get out of the show and waited for more details for sure confirming it was them. I was shocked and wasn't sure how to feel. It was an unreal feeling. As we drove home, my dad confirmed via the internet that it was them. I drove over to some friends houses that night and we just sat around kinda numbly. None of us knew what to do or feel.

The next day was Thanksgiving and probably the worst Thanksgiving of my life. I didn't know what to be thankful for. I was thankful that my family was with me, but why not Brooke. I cried all day. My dad drove me and another friend to the funeral in Missouri where they lay to rest today. I still have a rose from Brooke's casket today. All of senior year was hard. We missed Brooke and her family so much that year. Going to class was a daunting task, walking by her locker, eating lunch....everything was a reminder of her. It took awhile for all of us to get back to reality and through a day without her. It happened 7 years ago and that is so crazy to me. I don't think about her every second of every day. Every year does get easier and easier, but I certainly never want to forget her and her wonderful family. At her funerals and anything that was for her that year, they played "I Can Only Imagine." It was the perfect song to remember her by. Anytime I hear that song, I only think of her.....

http://www.texnews.com/1998/2002/texas/texas_At_least_1128.html

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5 comments

  1. Brittany..Following my Bliss // November 27, 2009 at 2:26 AM  

    Brittany,
    I am sorry for the loss of your wonderful friend.
    I came to blog tonight because I had a pretty bad day and spent alot of the evening in tears. I was going to write about everything and how disappointed I was this Thanksgiving but I read your blog first. Suddenly, I realized that while today certainly wasn't what I had wanted it to be, I still did have SO much more to be thankful for and sometimes I need to look at the big picture instead of the fragments.
    Thanks for sharing the story of your friend and her family.

  2. Charity // November 27, 2009 at 7:45 AM  

    Brittany,

    I am so sorry that you had to go through something like that. It seems that she must have been a very lucky and happy girl to have such wonderful friends to fill her days with joy.

    Charity

  3. Lexie Loo & Dylan Too // November 27, 2009 at 10:08 AM  

    I am so sorry. What a terrible loss. :(

  4. Ashlee McCrary // November 27, 2009 at 8:01 PM  

    Hey girl, first of all thanks so much for the sweet comments while I was in the hospital!

    Secondly, I'm so sorry to hear this sad story of your close friend & her family! That's such a tragedy & really reminds us all what's truly important to be thankful for, esp this time of year! Family is the greatest blessing truly!

    I hope your family had a great Thanksgiving, despite the sad memory of 7 yrs ago.

  5. Nicole Kelly // November 30, 2009 at 10:02 PM  

    I remember too. Thank you for posting about this, its beautiful.

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