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Tori’s Story

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Latest Journal Update

Year End Reflections

Once again as the Christmas tree is taken down there is this inner knowing that the passed lived tragedy of Tori's accident is part the closing scene. Realizing now that this will forever be. I am finding that the pain accompanied by loss is something that never goes away. Although in the beginning it more resembled a heavy coat that was cumbersome and difficult to wear. Today it feels more like a undergarment that is close to my body, with me at all times, and unseen to those around me. 

This year a young boy around Tori's age was killed in a car accident. A family member said to me, "Don't you think it would be hard to image what his parents are going through?" I found myself quietly thinking how much Tori's tragedy felt like a death and I could relate to that mothers broken heart. I know I have so much to me thankful for; but in more ways then not, Tori is very different then who she was. If I am not careful I can find myself constantly looking for something in her that speaks of her old self. One of those things is her continued dislike for cheese. It puts a smile on my face every time she refuses it. 

I am learning to lean in and feel all it offers me in this confusing place of adoring the Tori of today yet deeply longing to have just one more hour with the girl she was. The demands of care taking pale to this on going desire to rewind the clock 3 years prior to hold her, to talk with her and to laugh with her the way we use to. Perhaps one day it will seem like a thing of the past ;but for now it remains very near.  Her inability to express herself through words and thought closes the door to so much of her prior personality.

Last week we awoke to our normal routine of dressing her then driving down the 55 Freeway for another session of therapy. As we exited the freeway and came to a stop ,Tori immediately began struggling  to reach for her purse in the back seat.  Because of her paralyzed body on her left side she required my help as she was unable to retrieve her purse. There was such a determined persistence in her eyes that I was fighting off getting irritated with her as the signal in front of us was now turning green. Finally desperate to slow her down I firmly asked her, "What are you doing.?" At that moment she looked up at me with empathetic eyes and spoke the word "pay!" Without thought I went into my normal routine of trying to figure out what she is  wanting to communicate. Thankfully as she was struggling to find some words I saw a homeless man on the curb next to us out of the corner of my eye. Immediately I realized she was wanting to give the man her money. 

For that moment my heart was lifted as I saw Tori as more alive then ever. To be a human who lives out empathy for others is to be near the Heart of God. It was a sobering moment to set aside my desire for her "old personality" and be amazed at the beauty of God in her. I looked down at her wrist and read her tattoo that says "compelled by His Love." Realizing again that the core of who Tori is in her soul as an image bearer of God will never be taken from her even in death. That is who I hope to embrace in all of humanity. One of many lessons I have learned from the beautiful "lost" life of my daughter.

Redemption continues to be in all of our midst. Much like a trick candle, you can't blow out the Ever Giving Love of God no matter what cards we are dealt. I just read a quote that says we must learn to play the heck out of the hand we are given. Today that's what I choose to do knowing the grace of God will always have the last word. 

Thank for once again giving me a place to be loved and heard. Stay close and keep the prayers coming! We will keep posting and love hearing from you. 
With Love and Gratitude, 
Tammy
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Comments

22 Comments

Carolyn and Gary Laurin
By Carolyn Laurin — last edited
Tammy: I read this several times because I could hear how every word you said was coming from the depths of your heart. While I do not know what it is like to have a child that is vibrant, articulate, talented, and bright and then experience her losing much of who she was in a tragic accident, I do know however what it was like to be told that your first born son is so profoundly neurologically handicapped that he will NEVER be able to do ANYTHING for himself and would always be 100% dependent on others for everything for the remainder of his life! With those words of confirmation of what we already suspected, every hope and dream we had for our first born were shattered and the grief was so intense that I couldn't believe that I would ever experience being happy again! How could I if nothing about our five month old son would ever change. And I was only 21 and Gary was only 24. We didn't know the Lord nor did we know anyone else who had a child born with such profound disabilities. And upon joining a support group what we learned was that many of these couples had two or even three very special needs children. So we decided that we would not have any more children of our own.BUT God suddenly and in the most unexpected way gave us the opportunity to adopt a baby who would be born in a month and would only be 20 months younger than Scotty. It would have never been our plan to have our first child be profoundly disabled and our second son adopted. BUT would we change any of it now? Absolutely not! We both came to a saving knowledge of Jesus as a result of Scotty's condition and learned about unconditional love thru him. And Eric filled our life with incredible joy from the first day we held him in our arms when he was three days old! God had an amazing plan for us that has blessed our lives more than we could ever imagine! Now Scotty is with Jesus and Eric is married with a 6 year old son who has blessed our lives more than life itself! So while I feel for the grief you are going thru Tammy, I know God is doing amazing things in your life that would have never happened any other way! So keep your eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of your faith! He will do more than you could ever think or imagine! And He will be your Prince of Peace!

May you and your family experience rich spiritual blessings in 2016.

With His love,
Jenni Key
By Jenni Key
Amen and amen--and we all see Jesus so clearly through Tori, through you and Tim, each of the family members and then the hundreds who are walking this journey with you. We continue praying, continue trusting, continue hoping, continue rejoicing.
Toni Hart
By Toni Hart
So beautifully written from your heart. We continue to pray for your family.
deborah struk
By The Struks
Wow! Beautiful words. Beautiful testimony. Tammy thank you for being so honest. It's convicting and healing for me.
Much love, grace and peace be upon all of you. Yay Tori! Such a beautiful young woman. In many ways a picture of where each of us should be.
Tammy, you do have a gift of writing. Thank you.
May He continue to increase. May you, each day, see glimmers through Tori that delight your soul as they speak of the glory and majesty of Jesus. That is our prayer for you all in 2016.
Much love to all of you!
margaret jervis
By margaret jervis
Your transparent Mother's heart blesses me beyond words! Thank you for being you and giving me a glimpse of heaven and God's heart. The way you write goes straight to my soul and I am grateful to know you. Tori continues to be the incredible light she is from God's love but make no mistake also from your pure and authentic Mother's love. XOXO
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Michele Aldridge
By Michele Aldridge
🙏🙏😘😘❤️
Donny Anderson
By Donny Anderson
LOVE
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Dee Dee Ehrle
By Dee Dee Ehrle
May this New Year be filled with assurance and peace, and may you know the depth of His love for you. Rejoicing for all that the Lord is doing and resting in the knowledge that there is more blessings and healing coming Tori's way. You are in my prayers.
Kathleen Hedrick
By Kathleen H
It's so good to hear your heart, Tammy. Miss you.
Lee Brase
By Lee Brase
Thank you Tammy for those marvelous words of reflection. God used you this first day of 2016 to cause me to remember what is important for this year. Your, Tim's and Tori's faith is a source of encouragement to me. I pass on to you what Paul wrote to Timothy: "May God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy and peace." Love, Lee Brase
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