One Year – Brian Uhl

Webster defines sorrow as “a deep distress, sadness, or regret especially for the loss of someone or something loved.”

My definition of sorrow is an emotional pain that is so intense, you feel as if your soul is being torn apart and you don’t know if you will live another day. On Nov 23rd, 2007, I entered into my definition of sorrow due to Jessica and Kelli being tragically killed in an automobile accident.
I thought I knew what sorrow felt like but I guarantee that I really didn’t know until the girls died. I lived in a state of sorrow for quite some time. I constantly thought:

“Why did my girls have to die?”
“Could I have somehow prevented it?”
“GOD, how could you be so cruel to take these young, beautiful girls away from me, their mom, step parents, siblings, all other family and friends? How!!!!”
“What did they do to deserve this!!!”
“It isn’t fair!!!”
“I don’t know if I can live without them, I feel such sorrow and pain, someone please help me, it hurts so damn much!!”
“Why, why, why!!”

Above are questions and thoughts that continually went through my mind for a long time. Do I still ask these questions? Yes, sometimes I still do but not as often because I now have hope.

Webster defines hope as “to cherish a desire with anticipation.”

When did I start feeling a sense of hope? I really don’t know, I think it has been a combination of things that really started the day the girls passed away. At the beginning, the sorrow overshadowed all other feelings. But from day 1 there were so many people providing support, condolences and prayers. The day after there were people bringing us food, offers to mow the lawn, you name it, people were willing to help in some way. It was pretty incredible and in the midst of all of the sorrow, there was a spark of hope. When the wake took place, I was overwhelmed by the number of people that showed up to pay their respects. There were lots of people that I knew and yet so many that I didn’t know, lots of Kim’s friends and so many of the girl’s friends. The funeral itself was emotionally brutal, all that sorrow crashed down, but once again, so many people turned out and it was truly appreciated. Donations, both financial and spiritual, started coming in from friends, family, co-workers and complete strangers. Hope made an appearance again.

Time went on, Christmas, New Year’s Day (Kelli’s birthday), my birthday, Mother’s day, Jessica’s birthday, Father’s day, times where there should be joy and there was but the cloud of sorrow still existed. During all of this, Kim told me about this idea she had in putting together a benefit to celebrate the girl’s lives and to raise money for a scholarship fund and for the Collinsville cheerleaders. The spark of hope grew again.

On July 13th, 2008, the benefit took place. The turnout was incredible. It was indeed a celebration of two wonderful lives cut short. But as I sat there and watched and listened to people, hope started burning so much brighter. To hear the positive impact Jess and Kelli had on so many people overwhelmed me and made me realize that even though they were physically gone, their spirit lived on in everyone that was there. I had a song played in memory of the girls, “Who You’d Be Today”, by Kenny Chesney. If you listen to the words of the song, it hits really hard and you can’t help but cry. But yet, at the end of the song, he sings about hope, the one thing that gives him hope is that he will see the person again someday.

How do I define hope?

Hope is seeing all the support and good that people have done in honor of the girls. From the trees that have been planted, plaques that have been placed, to fundraisers (thanks Ruby Tuesday) and the benefit. Hope is knowing that I will indeed see my girls someday.

GOD Bless You.

Brian Uhl

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7 Responses to One Year – Brian Uhl

  1. Shelly Goodpasture says:

    That was beautifully said. The benefit for Jess and Kelli was the beginning of my sense of hope and healing. I “Hope” in the weeks ahead that everyone, family and friends, can rejoice in all the great memories that we have of Jess and Kelli. So that they can look down upon us and smile, knowing that we will all be together someday.

  2. Tara Arro (Kelli's Cheer Coach) says:

    Thanks for sharing your feelings with all of us. You inspire me in so many ways. I lost my uncle in June, my gandma in August of this past year and with Kelli and Jess too I feel like this past year all I’ve known is dealing with death. So thanks for pointing out the word “hope” because I needed to hear it. I know that if you all can have hope then I too can know that someday we all will see them again too and that is comforting. God Bless all of you and know that coaching Kelli is something I was honored to have done and to have known such a beautiful, wonderful, inspiring girl!

  3. Casey says:

    I just read your story over on simplyanonymom’s site and I wanted to stop by and send my condolences. The benefit sounded so beautiful and great and although it was hard to attend, I’m glad it brought you hope. I’m also glad that you have so many people lending you support.

  4. Lisa says:

    My thoughts are with you and your family on this anniversary. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Your story touched me as I understand your pain. My Dad was taken in an automobile accident on July 1, 2005. I know we will see our loved ones again someday.

  5. Tracy says:

    I have never commented but came over from Kim’s blog. That was very well said…so sorry that you and your family have had to suffer such a horrific tragedy. Will pray for continued healing and peace for you and your family. God Bless you and yours.

  6. Diane (Uhl) says:

    Hey Brian. I just wanted you to know that you all are always in our thoughts and prayers.

    What happened to Jessica and Kelli will never be forgotten.

    Wishing you a peaceful and blessed Thanksgiving.

    Your cousin

  7. Melinda says:

    I drove by a sign today. It was a dedication for Jessica Uhl on the ramp off exit 19B on 64. I had no idea who she was so I wanted to find out. I know now. It is such a tragedy to have these girls taken away..I have read most of their Dad’s blogs, and my heart goes out to him. Now everytime I drive by I hope it affects everyone else the way it did me…It gives me a sudden feeling of sadness, knowing that this could have been prevented. I will always remember what happened and how short life really is. Hopefully this will remind drivers to slow down and STOP using cell phones while driving. God Bless your family and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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