Interview | Ellie's Way

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It was a wonderful day when I married my college sweetheart. He was everything I wanted in a husband; handsome, athletic, good sense of humor, committed Christian, etc. He was a school teacher and tennis coach, who loved to make others laugh, and so people were drawn to him and his magnetic personality. We became Youth Group leaders at our local church and spent lots of time with high school students. Eventually we started a family and God blessed us with 2 little girls. My first husband Rick and the girls May 27, 1989, started out as any another Saturday when we awoke and had breakfast with our girls. Megan was 3 and Kristin was just 9 months old. My husband, Rick, grabbed a piece of strawberry pie before heading out the door. He and one of the students from our Youth Group were going to do some painting on the church exterior. It wasn’t long until a storm was brewing on the horizon and I knew Rick would be on his way home. Suddenly there was a knock at the door and as I opened it, I was surprised to see a police officer standing there who said he had some unfortunate news to share. He proceeded to tell me there was an accident at the church, something about aluminum ladders getting too close to power lines and that two people were electrocuted. One of the people was identified by my minister as Rick, and the other was the […]

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We all have a path that brings us to this moment. I’d like to share my story, the ups and downs, what God has done in my life, and a few things I’ve learned along the way. Growing Up I was born in Japan, a military brat. I was named Todd Murdock Nigro. I’ve always wondered where “Murdock” came from. I’ve never heard a good explanation. But, I think it’s pretty cool now. My wife says it’s “distinguished”, I’m not sure what that means, but I’ll take it as a compliment. Sadly, my parent’s marriage did not work out. My mother did her best to raise three children. We didn’t have much and my mother worked most of the time, so I was pretty much on my own from a very young age. I grew up mostly in Utah in a non-religious family in a predominately Mormon environment. I learned that it was okay to not fit in, because we didn’t. My relationship with my mother was always difficult. She would always want to talk, yell, or lecture us whenever we were with her. I get it now. She had no one but us. My older sister and little brother would gladly let me do all the talking and so I did. I felt the brunt of my mother’s instability. She had come from a very difficult home. Both of her parents were alcoholics and she was the youngest of three. I can only imagine the lack of love, abuse, […]

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Malaikye’s Legacy Lives On! by Rachel Marie Rodriguez There comes a time in your life when you see your existence through a whole different set of eyes. Sometimes, through tragedy you find a deeper appreciation for this thing called life and all it entails. On August 12, 2011 my life was to take a life shattering turn. I received a phone call that my grandson Malaikye was taken to the Emergency Room after an apparent fall. For 3 long days we prayed and prayer for a Miracle. A Miracle that would open our baby’s eyes and eventually be able to have him discharged from the hospital. My faith remained as I knew God was hearing our emotional pleas for Him to breathe life into our baby who was being kept alive by a ventilator. Sadly, that Miracle didn’t come and we had the painful task of having to say goodbyes to our precious Malaikye. Witnessing my son Daniel fall to his knees on the hospital floor in disbelief, agony, and emotions crushed me to my core. As a parent, all I wanted to do was bring some sort of comfort to my son. What could I say? What could I do to take this away from him? Absolutely nothing. This was a double edged sword for me. I had lost my grandson, and in a way, I was losing a part of my son. I knew he would never be the same. He adored his little boy and I always […]

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Philip Hagan Wickett September 6, 1983 – March 1, 2007 Hope After Suicide by Nancy Wickett The phone rang. It was 7:34 am. I grabbed it before it rang the second time. (Had I been asleep, I wondered?) It was my husband, Don. “Is Philip in his room?” he asked. “Yes.” “Is the van home?” “Yes, why?” My heart started beating faster. Don blurted out… “I just got this email he sent to all of us and it says, ‘Goodbye Forever…’” My heart sank. I dropped the phone. I quickly went to the hall–Philip’s bedroom door was OPEN! He was gone. I told Don to come home and get me. I’m not sure how I got through the next 8 to 10 minutes waiting on my husband. I prayed. Philip lived alone in an apartment, but he had stayed the night with us. And we spent a lot of time talking and listening to him. He had been depressed. I assured him that things would get better. We arrived to Apartment E, and his door was locked. We banged on his door and no answer. I told Philip we wouldn’t be angry at him–“PLEASE open the door…” Don went to get the manager to open the door. Philip was lying face down on his living room floor. He had used a gun to kill himself. I will never forget that horrible sight. It is embedded in my mind forever. My precious baby boy was was dead. Philip was 23. It […]

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Hope After by Jennifer White On July 19th, 2011 my brother, Andrew, called me. I was getting ready for a meeting, so I didn’t pick up his call. He texted and told me to call him as soon as possible. I leaned against the wall of the bathroom in my apartment, part of me knowing my world was about to shatter. My mom, Joanie, had taken her own life after a long battle with mental illness and alcoholism. Suicide burst into my life, like an intruder, breaking things I thought I’d have forever, stealing my sense of security and knocking me to the ground. In the beginning my mom’s suicide was a shadow cast over the memory of her life and the future of mine. It felt like the only way to define her life and the only thing that had ever happened in mine. As time passed, the shadow began to recede and I realized suicide was the ending, but it wasn’t my mom’s whole story, and it certainly wasn’t going to be my entire story. I decided I would put suicide into it’s proper place in both of our lives. When I think of my mom’s life now I think of her laugh. I imagine her, head tilted back, eyes closed. Her laugh was never loud. It was gentle and contagious. I think of how she always seemed to know if one of her friends was going to be alone on a holiday. How she’d send food if […]

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Abigail Gracen Bacho July 22, 2003 – December 25, 2012 Promise and Beauty in the Darkness by Natalie Bacho (Abby’s Mom) It seems surreal to be sharing our experience of loss. With life, loss is inevitable. During our 20 years of marriage, that four letter word has entered our life in different forms. We’ve lived through pet loss, the passing of grandparents, and job loss. Then there are the more intimate losses. We had two miscarriages, Steve’s father passed very early in our marriage, his mother 12 years later. My mother passed at age 68 in 2010. Our parents are loved and missed. Each loss was difficult as it carries its own circumstance and journey. This is how life works in the big scheme of things. However, life wasn’t supposed to unfold the way it did for us on December 22, 2012. Something this horrible doesn’t happen to our family. It shouldn’t happen to any family. When we were asked to share our experience, it was humbling to say the least. We are also grateful. We always view any opportunity to speak of our daughter as a gift. Our lives now are very different. Any given day is a mystery as to how it will unfold. Will the day bring tears or triumph? Plans may unexpectedly change because we hit a wall of grief. Nothing is certain anymore. Nothing is as it once seemed. Nothing that is, except for God’s grace. Without this, we can’t fathom how we could live […]

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Ella Marie Formby August 24, 2007 – February 4, 2013 Ella’s Light by Lourie Formby (Ella’s dad) “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:1-3).   The Spark that Lit the Flame Friday, January 25, 2013 was a beautiful winter day. The blue sky was clear with a slight cool breeze and temperatures in the mid-60’s for most of the day in central Mississippi where we call home. My wife, Julie, called me early in the day to remind me of our meeting with friends later that night at The Back Door Restaurant, one of our favorites, located about 25 miles away in Columbia, Mississippi. I arrived home around 4:45PM and rushed in to shower and change clothes prior to leaving for our social event that evening. As we walked out, we talked about our plans for the next day, which included working in our flower beds, attending our 5-year-old Ella’s first Upward Basketball game at the church, and then taking her to the birthday party of her best friend, Gracie. That particular evening, we decided to take our original 1940 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Sedan, aka “Ole Bess”, a car I had purchased 20 years prior. […]

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Interview with Steve Slotemaker Bridget Kelly Slotemaker February 26, 1973 – August 12, 2008 Steve, what is your loss story? Simply, the loss that my daughters–Grace and Chloe–and I are enduring is the death of Bridget, their mom and my wife. To tell the full story of the loss is more involved and really requires an ongoing conversation. God blessed us with a second pregnancy in early 2008. Bridget’s experience with the second pregnancy was noticeably different. Usually extremely energetic, Bridget was so tired she couldn’t participate in social outings. She slept a lot and started complaining of chest pain as the pregnancy progressed. She felt a hard lymph node near her collarbone. Later she started getting blood clots. The trips to the E.R. became so frequent for her that she called it her “Cheers Bar.” (For those who remember the sitcom, the theme song contained the lyric, “…where everybody knows your name.”) In early May, the mystery of why this pregnancy was so difficult would be answered. I was in New Orleans sitting in a conference room with my cell phone buzzing time and time again. Finally I looked at the screen and saw my Bridget on the screen. Ducking out of the room, I answered the call to hear the news that no husband and father wants to hear. “Babe, I am at the hospital again. They did an ultrasound and said that my gall bladder is enlarged and needs to come out. They also said that my […]

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Interview with Daphne Greer Lydia Marie Greer November 27, 2002 – July 16, 2008 Daphne, what is your loss story? It was summer, July 16, 2008, to be exact. My son, daughter and I were on our way to daycare and work. We commuted 25 miles each way every day and were about 15 miles from home when suddenly, we hit a farm truck in the middle of the highway. After the car came to a stop, all I could hear was my 3 year old son, Hunter, crying hysterically in the back seat. I looked up, my windshield was shattered and driver’s side door was caved in. I tried to open my door, but couldn’t. I climbed out the passenger side door and immediately unbuckled Hunter, consoling him as best I could. I looked and saw my daughter, unconscious in the back seat. The farm truck driver immediately came to help, as did a woman who stopped at the scene, taking care of my daughter, applying towels to her injuries. Hunter and I sat holding each other on the side of the road waiting for help to arrive. Not knowing the extent of Lydia’s injuries, we prayed out loud together for Lydia, pleading to God to save her and make her okay. These were the longest moments of my life. Trembling from shock, I tried to call my husband but was unable to dial the phone. Thankfully, the other driver was able to dial the number for me. With […]

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Interview with Mark and Linda Triplett Introduction I’d like to introduce you to two friends, Mark and Linda Triplett. They are fellow bereaved parents who are making a difference in the lives of so many. After reading an article written by Linda, I contacted them to learn more about their ministry. We have corresponded many times over the past year, sharing our interests in serving others and aviation. Mark and Linda inspire and show all of us that “Love Never Fails”. Thank you for sharing your story and your son, Adam, with us. -Todd (Ellie’s Dad) Mark and Linda, what is your loss story? The loss in our life is the future that we dreamed of for our son Adam, from the time he was a just a little boy. After receiving a free ride in a friend’s airplane, Adam announced that he wanted to be a pilot when he grew up. He was only five years old then and we both knew that he would achieve it. Linda grew up in a family that loved to travel, so a pilot in the family was perfect! She began collecting jewelry that was of aviation themes. Linda would tease Adam that she was going to plaster them all over her shirt and be standing at the window facing the plane that he would pilot for the first time. We both envisioned it; us facing the window looking directly into that little window on the airplane and seeing our handsome son in […]

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