“God is always orchestrating his master plan. The plan always has a purpose and is usually always for the good. Like Oz behind the curtain, He is in control of our lives. This doesn’t mean it’s flawless; on the contrary, the opposite is true.
Up until 2011, I had it all. A wonderful, loving husband of 20 years, a beautiful romance, a loving family, happiness, laughter, and a joyful home. I was married to my best friend and we created four beautiful babies together. I didn’t know what the universe and God had in store for me. The road ahead was about to take a drastic turn.
May 31, 2011 — It was the day before school ended and my children were excited, they were literally bouncing off the walls. Although everything seemed as it should be, something was off; but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Looking back, something wasn’t right and I could feel it deep in my gut.
I continued on with my evening, and that night, I was called to go over to my neighbor’s home for a doTerra meeting. As I headed out the door, I was prompted to stay home. I shrugged off the sick feeling deep in my stomach and thought to myself, ‘I will only be gone for 10 minutes.’
Sean, my sweetheart, walked through the door from work. Excited to see him, I smiled at him from across the room and greeted him with a hug and kiss. We embraced. It was always so good when he was home from work and we were together. I served him up some leftovers from the night before. I started to head out the door to our neighbor’s house. I told him I wouldn’t be long and he needed to change out of his work clothes to go to our son, Kaden’s, baseball game at 7 p.m.
Each step I took farther from my home caused a pit in my stomach to grow. My legs even felt heavy. I felt as if I needed to stay home. No sooner did I walk in my neighbor’s door and sit down, I heard a voice tell me, ‘Tracy, go home right now!’ It startled me. I rose from my seat and bolted for the door. I became worried. I headed for home, and to my surprise, Sean wasn’t there!
Inexplicable panic began to grow within me as the minutes turned into hours and darkness fell. As I watched the clock, I knew in my heart that something was wrong. Several hours later, I received a knock at the door. The men introduced themselves as police officers — a detective and a lieutenant. I was puzzled. After taking a deep breath, the taller man spoke.
‘Are you Mrs. Steven ‘Sean’ Peart?’
‘Yes I am,’ I stammered.
‘Well, there has been an accident,’ he replied.
My heart absolutely sank. I replied, ‘Is Sean ok?’
The officer looked me in the eyes and said with regret, ‘No, I’m so sorry. He was killed tonight and didn’t survive.’
I screamed, ‘NOOOOO! Please God, NOOOOO!’ I froze. I couldn’t breathe. I began to fall into a pit of darkness. My mind raced, my heart shattered into a million little, tiny pieces. The events that followed were a complete blur. All I remember is the officer asking, ‘Is there anyone we can call for you?’ I managed to choke out the words, ‘Parents and my best friend,’ through my tears.
The officers called my parents and my best friend. I collapsed on the porch and began sobbing. The officers didn’t say anything, but I could feel their pity. I noticed the shorter officer kept looking at the window, at my children’s confused faces.
I waited on the porch, hoping to see a friendly face. I begged, ‘Please God, do not let this be. Please God, anything but this!’ The news spread throughout our community like wildfire. People began showing up at our house. I couldn’t get the sound of broken glass, screeching tires, and shattered metal out of my head. His beautiful face was all I could see in my mind. My children, oh God, what about my children?
I wanted to die. ‘Please God, take me,’ I asked. Nothing… Silence… ‘Where are you?’ I shouted in my mind.
It was the longest night. I could not force myself to tell my children what had happened to their father. I asked Russ to please sit down the kids and grandma Lucy, Sean’s mom, and tell them for me. I couldn’t utter the words. Russ, my bishop, told the children and his mother, that Sean was killed in a terrible accident.
Their heartbreaking sobs rang out through the walls of our home. I felt so helpless; my world was spinning out of control. It was the most helpless feeling I have ever experienced. The deep-seated pain came from every direction and threatened to swallow me whole.
Over the next few days, my family and I sat down to go over finances, get my affairs in order, and plan Sean’s funeral. No money was set aside for this. I stared blankly at the wall. We were barely surviving the recession as it was, and were hit hard financially, as small business owners.
The time came, I had to leave home to go make funeral arrangements for Sean. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. This day, Greg Cook, a friend, and the neighbor, came with us to the cemetery to pick out a grave plot. I didn’t ask why he came, but I was so glad he was there. His presence was comforting. God, I felt so alone. I swallowed hard as we pulled up to the cemetery. I couldn’t breathe.
I stepped out of the car into the sunshine. This was the first time in days, I had left home. I looked up to the sky and blew a kiss to Sean. I cried in my heart to God, ‘Please God, don’t make me do this. Please, just bring him back and I’ll do whatever you ask of me.’ Nothing but silence.
The sun hit my face, it was a beautiful day. The birds were chirping. We went to two different cemeteries, trying to find a burial plot. The first one we visited was at max capacity. The prices were outrageous. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to afford everything. Next, we visited another cemetery. I walked over, laid down on the grass, and looked up to the sky, God, and the beautiful mountains. Finally, I felt a peace come to me for the first time in days. Lord, I was exhausted. I found Sean’s final resting place and it felt good but sad at the same time. Ohhhhhh Sean.
The things that are burned into your heart forever are these moments.
Greg stepped forward. He looked right at me and said, ‘I want to buy Sean’s grave.’ I was shocked. ‘What? You can’t do that. It’s so expensive!’ He placed his hands on my shoulder and told me, ‘A few months back, Sean came and saved me from a plumbing nightmare when my water heater went out. He wouldn’t let me pay him for the labor. Sean’s not here to argue with me. Let me give him this final gift of thanks — to him, to you, and your family.’
I was speechless. Silent tears ran down my cheeks. I gave him a tight hug and muttered, ‘Thank you so much. I don’t know what to say.’
The grave has been my healing place and a refuge from the storm. I go there to think, to meditate, to heal, and to give it all over to God when I am weary of carrying burdens by myself. It is there, at the grave, I lay it all at my Savior’s feet and plead with God to give me the strength to make it through. Remember, God will never leave you. My hope is that you remember, in your darkest hour, to hold onto hope when all hope seems lost.
That first Thanksgiving and Christmas without Sean were brutal for all of us. I had no desire to put up a tree, decorate, or celebrate. My youngest said, ‘But Mom, Daddy would want us to celebrate. He’s with Jesus.’ That statement made me come undone. Every ornament and Christmas song. Every moment we had to endure without him, opened up my eyes and broke my heart. The guilt that I was here and he was not, was one of the hardest things I had to bear.
For if not for our life’s challenges, how would we ever know the truth of our soul and the courage of our hearts?
I had to find the strength and courage to go on. I had to find hope at the holidays. My prayer is that our story will help calm your fears, ease your troubled mind, strengthen your faith, and inspire you to hope even when all hope seems lost. You can see God’s hand in our lives. He’s had a hand in ours from the get go.
We choose from those ‘defining moments’ in life, which way it will go. Occasions for defining moments do not arise every day. When they do, we must seize the opportunities they present for improving life. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
‘When defining moments come along, you define the moment or the moment defines you.’ – Kevin Costner
One day, you wake up and you’re in this place where everything feels right. Your heart is calm. Your soul is light. Your thoughts are positive. Your vision is clear. You’re at peace; at peace with where you’ve been, at peace with what you’ve been through, and at peace with where you’re headed.
What I’ve learned through this process, is God uses people to answer our prayers. It is strange where life takes us and where we end up. I’m grateful for my journey. I feel immense gratitude for seeing life through a new lens. Experiencing love, life, death, grief, sorrow, heartbreak, pain, fear, loneliness, forgiveness, acceptance, gratitude, peace, and clarity. I’m convinced my heart knew who it belonged to before I met him.
To Sean: I will see you in the stars and sunsets you now paint for me. In loving memory, our family created The Sean Peart Foundation — giving back by paying it forward; sharing light and love with others; serving children, single moms, and widows, with the love ripple project.
‘You always gain by giving love.’ – Reese Witherspoon
Our lives are defined by moments, especially the ones we never see coming. Every person that is born on this planet is born with a special, unique light. Unique gifts, soul sparks, that are yours and yours alone.
Look deep within your soul and you will find your spark.
Find your light, fuel your light, then go share your love and light.
At the end of life, what really matters is not what we bought, but what we built; not what we got, but what we shared; not our competence, but our character; and not our success, but our significance. Live a life that matters. Live a life of love.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tracy Peart. You can follow her journey on her blog. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more from Tracy here:
‘Who is this woman? How does she know me so well?’ She smiled. ‘I am here to help you, Tracy.’ Her deep gaze held nothing but love.’: Widow shares life-changing experience after husband’s death, ‘I am convinced I saw an angel that day’
‘I’ve been saving this money. I heard your husband died. I want you to have it because I still have my dad. Merry Christmas.’ It was a child’s handwriting.’: Widow receives unexpected act of kindness, now wants to pay it forward
Provide strength and encouragement for others. SHARE this story on Facebook with your friends and family.