This letter was sent to me from a childhood friend who I have reconnected with through FB. It is heartfelt and beautiful, which is the reason that I asked her if I could share it. Every encouraging word helps us through, and knowing that God is using this indescribable pain to draw others to Him reminds me of His faithfulness. For you Shannon: Truth is… I am all over the place, you are constantly on my mind and you probably think I am spending way too much time thinking about your family. I could tell you that I will never know how you feel, but the truth is, I have no idea what God has in store for my life or my family and one day I may face these same circumstances. ~ That said, I can’t, I refuse to believe that God had this planned for your son! I was told God is not the author of death. God only knows if these are true. What I hold onto is the belief that: God is real, God is love, and God is and will carry you through. (Prayerfully) Truth is… I feel guilty enjoying my family, while your perfect family is broken right now, and I think ‘This is so not fair’. I think about my family and I can’t help but to think how I would help my other children and husband get through such a traumatic event, let alone myself. Yet, I feel guilty not enjoying my family because you of all people know that time is all we have. I want to hug more, snap photos more, and love more – Truth is… for days I heard your cries, your screams- even if they were the inner cries of your heart (literally ~ In my mind, it wouldn’t stop) Seriously to the point of an almost panic attack – fearful of your family having to face the future without Christiano. I felt weak in the knees at times and a pit in my stomach. For the first time I knew what it felt like when they say ‘When a sister or brother in Christ hurts we all hurt’ Truth is… I listen to music and praise God whole heartedly and I think of you, wanting to do the same and how difficult it must be ~ yet you still find a way. Not because you question God, simple because you are broken and you lack the strength. (There is a huge difference) I listen more attentively to the words of each song looking for the right words ~ Understanding that these same words hold new and different meaning in your world right now. Praying they will bring you peace again sooner than later Truth is… I am having a hard time returning my life back to normal (whatever normal was). When you are struggling and your life will never be normal as it was. It’s almost as if, I return to normal than I am leaving you and forgetting about what you are going through. Yet you are so far away… One could say distance and time should disconnect us. I look around at the beauty in God creation and I pray that you will see the same beauty because I can only image that your world is tainted right now. I am believing God will restore your family. Truth is… This tragic event has turned many lives around. Your inspiring testimony is bringing restored faith to many and that is SO incredibly beautiful, yet I can’t help thinking – but ‘Why such a sacrifice’??? … and I am angry. Even at myself, angry, that it has caused me to draw closer to God, when I should have been drawing Him in regardless. Yet, there a whisper that says ‘It was not his death that has changed and is changing people, it was his life’. It was his extraordinary life! ~ Christiano whom I never met, IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE one amazing kid. ~ Truth is… I am sad this situation has sparked more conversations between us. Truth is… You are not alone, and I will walk with you prayerfully, if you want the company Truth is… You are the most amazing mother I know (I mean it) Truth is… I wish I could make it all disappear Truth is… I AM TRUSTING GOD MORE THAN I EVER HAVE BEFORE!