Jeanie's Incredible Story | Ellie's Way

Jeanie’s Incredible Story

Jeanie’s Incredible Story

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 student from our youth group. I was in shock as I heard the news along with my two children. The funeral was held at the local church and people lined up out the door and down the street to greet our family. I know God sustained me that day as I greeted hundreds of dear friends, including my husband’s 4th grade students. My heart was broken and I wondered about the God I loved who allowed such a thing to happen. My daughters were very young, so Megan did not understand for some time that Daddy was not coming home. She would ask me every day where Daddy was and when he would be home. Although I explained that he was safely in heaven with Jesus and was not coming back, she could not comprehend it, and it broke my heart to repeat it to her every day. Her Daddy was her best friend and it was difficult to watch her grieve as she accepted the reality of her loss.


Rick Alan Lucas
November 23, 1952 – May 27, 1989


The next year was extremely difficult, but raising two little girls gave me reason to go on with life. I enrolled Megan in pre-school so she would be distracted from her grief as she played with the other children. I started seeing a Christian Counselor who helped me sort through some of the challenges I was now facing. My family and church friends were extremely supportive and helped me through the darkest of days. Soon after the one-year anniversary of my husband’s death, I put together a scrap book of the memories I had of him for my children to keep as a remembrance. As I completed the final pages of the scrap book, it felt as though a chapter in my life was coming to an end. I distinctly remember the realization that I had a decision to make as to whether to stay in this valley of grief or begin to move forward, and live the balance of my life as the gift that it truly is. And so I asked God to help me figure out what this new life would be like, and for Him to go before me.

Several years passed and I met and dated a fine young man named Bill. He was a strong person with a soft heart, and seemed to love playing with the girls, who just adored him. We soon fell in love, got married, and Bill legally adopted the girls as his own. We soon had another daughter, Brooke, who brought much joy to our lives. She was easy-going and the older girls loved playing with her. Life was good once again.


My second husband Bill and the girls

On May 1, 2003, tragedy struck again. Bill was at a routine doctor visit when the doctor discovered a large mass in Bill’s chest and abdomen. After several tests Bill was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage 4B. When we heard the diagnosis I cried for 2 days. Bill was trying to be brave, but I could see the fear in his eyes of his unknown future. I struggled with my faith and asked God if I had not grieved properly the first time, that I had to possibly endure my second husband’s death? But I decided to trust Him even in this, and I felt God’s peace and comfort in unexplainable ways as we traveled on this journey. As we met with the oncologist, there seemed to be a glimmer of hope that his body would respond to chemotherapy treatments. We were filled with anticipation as the tumor started shrinking and things were starting to look hopeful. But soon the treatments stopped working and Bill became a candidate for a bone marrow transplant. His sister’s blood was a match and she generously went through the process of donating her cells for Bill. As he received them we were all excited at the possibility of her cells fighting off the dreadful disease that had been ravaging Bill’s body. But as time progressed, Bill’s body did not respond as anticipated and the doctor advised that there was no further treatment available for Bill except to continue with chemotherapy for now. Over the next year, I observed Bill valiantly fighting for his life as the cancer slowly destroyed his body. On September 19, 2005, the cancer claimed his physical body and he went to be with Jesus. Once again family and friends rallied around and offered support. God provided some special friends who ministered to me in a way that only God could provide. I knew what grief was and perhaps it made me dread it even more, as I once again experienced the ripping apart of the “two that had become one.” There was some relief in the knowledge that Bill was no longer suffering, but in the presence of his heavenly father. However, I was angry at cancer and what it had done to the sweet man who I shared my life with, and how it left my children fatherless once again in their critical years.


Jeanie and Bill
Billy Gene Horton
June 15, 1961 – September 19, 2005

As time passed, I felt God’s comfort in a way that the world could not comprehend. My mother passed away just one month before Bill, and then my father followed 2 years later. I was feeling alone as I watched the people I loved the most pass on. God’s care was evident in the way He took care of finances by providing sufficient life insurance to provide for the girls and me. However, as the stock market crashed in 2008 and I watched half of my finances disappear, I truly felt abandoned by any earthly stability I had ever felt. God had my full attention at this point and I cried out for His help. He heard my cry and sustained me and provided for my family in a way that only He could. He sent encouragers to help me along the way. I was involved in a ladies’ Bible Study in my neighborhood and these 10 women, who gathered together with me to study God’s Word on a weekly basis, prayed for me as I struggled with my loneliness, and became my best friends. They were truly like Jesus to me as they wrapped their arms around me and loved on me like only Jesus could do.

As I look back on these difficult times, I am ever grateful for God’s comfort, peace and eventually bringing joy back into my life. In my darkest days of loneliness, He showed Himself to me as The Great Comforter. He held me close to His heart and brought healing to mine. He showed Himself as The Great Provider in meeting all the physical needs of my family. As Job says in Job 42:5, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.” I have truly experienced God in a way that I did not know before my losses and for that I will ever be grateful.

Most recently I have the opportunity to participate in the leadership of a group at my church called GriefShare. This group is composed of people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. We meet weekly to learn about grief; what to expect and how to handle difficult circumstances relating to grief. It has been a wonderful experience for me to walk along side others in grief and encourage them on their journey.

And last, but not least, God has blessed me with another husband. We were introduced by someone who said he “felt compelled” to introduce us. I see Dave as a gift from my Heavenly Father, the One who comforts me in all my trouble. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (II Corinthians 1:3, 4)

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12 Comments on "Jeanie’s Incredible Story"

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Irma Medina

Brought tears to my eyes but at the same time it was so heartwarming


My mom passed away three years ago of an accidental drug overdose. Your story just warmed my heart and made me cry at the same time!!! You seem so strong loosing two husbands and raising three kids. I think it’s your faith that has helped you. I’m still grieving after three years I don’t know how you are so strong but keep it going I admire you!!’n

Jeanie Harrer
Cary, I am so sorry to hear about your Mom. I know you must miss her. Yes God has carried me through those difficult days. Just today I read, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29. I trusted God with my grief. He is the only one who understands everything we are going through. GriefShare is a wonderful support group if you can find… Read more »
I just lost my mother, she was murder in Mexico while visiting, she was only 68 years old and I can’t stop thinking over and over again of the moment that she lost her life, her thoughts, her suffering. I pray that God comforts my heart, I give him all my anxiety, all my pain, my anger, my confusion, although, I know he has a purpose for everything that happens, I just can comprehend. This has been the hardest and most painful situation I have gone through in life. I lost my father a few years ago from Leukemia but… Read more »
Cecilia Hook
You are truly remarkable. I was widowed at 46, he was an alcoholic and died at 49. I did not know beforehand but we were loosing our home, he owed the IRS and everyone else. A few years before he passed, a friend had a new job selling life insurance, I decided to buy one on us since we had no money and no home to leave our two children. Thank God for Jill she was my angel, for if I had not taken out the life insurance I would not have had a roof over my head. My son… Read more »

Bless your heart, Jeanie. I lost my husband in November 2014. We had only been married 3 short months (but had know each other 8 years). He died suddenly of a heart attack. I can’t imagine going through that overwhelming grief twice! I too attended GriefShare and became a leader. I think God truly does hold us in his arms and gives us peace if we really look to Him for comfort.
I pray you are well….


Jeanie, I’ve been searching for you for years. I was one of Mr. Lucas students the year he passed away. The day before we had a field trip with Mr. Lucas, I’ll never forget it. He gave me a book I still have. He ate triscuits all the time. He was strict but fun! I’ll never forget him, ever.

Jeanie Harrer

Heather, Thanks for letting me know that you were in Mr. Lucas’ class. He loved his students and apparently loved Triscuits. I hope you are doing well. I won’t forget him either. He was a special person.

Sarah Netzky

Thank you for sharing! Very powerful and moving!


Jeanie what an amazing person you must be. I am in awe of your endurance and courage. When my husband died of end stage congestive heart failure December 2016, I was in such a state of grief. At my age of 64 I had no idea grief could be so debilitating. This is the worst journey of my life and I pray nothing God has in my plan is any worse. I reread your story to convince myself I can walk this journey until I die. You are absolutely amazing.

MAryann mcgowan


I was cleaning ou my draws and found the Xmas card I sent last year which was returned as it was unable to be forwarded. Jeanie I found your story and remembered your amazing journey. You have been the most resilient individual I have ever known. No matter what has crossed your path you have had the strength to continue on. I am so very happy to hear you are doing well and hope that God continues to bless you and the girls

Mary Ann

Pamela Ginsberg

Dear Jeanie, Your first husband Rick Lucas taught all three of my children at East.Pikeland. I attended the funeral with my husband. So very sorry to hear of your subsequent loss. I was on this website because I recently lost my husband and was reading some of the beautiful poems. I immediately recognized your story. May God bless your latest marriage for many, many years to come.