I lost a day, but gained a perspective

The first anniversary I was distracted by a kind soul (fellow CADI) who shared my same accident anniversary. We talked and waited for the time to pass from 8:07 pm to 8:08 pm and I realized I was still breathing.

The second anniversary I felt a little more assured on the reality that time keeps moving on. Or forward, we do’n’t “move on” we just move forward. I was also aware that beating my self up each Oct. 4th was justified.

The Lord truly works in mysterious ways and the humor of his teachings I appreciate more and more! A few weeks ago I shared how I realized that this day was exactly 6 weeks away. Patrick has scheduled his own orthodontist appointment and I almost shut down. There is a realization is that this date is personal to me, I remember the date where as for everyone else including my family it’s just another day.

(Que dramatic photo)


I sent that to a small group of loving people who support me in both love and truth. I finished up a poem I dedicated to David and went into a spiral of negative thinking of all the things I did not do since this time last year. I went to bed worked up about the next day.

Here is the irony I had convinced myself that Thursday was the 4th and had set myself up for sadness. My brain went to great lengths to trick myself, I even had wrong date on lesson plan slides. 🤦🏼‍♀️🤣


So essentially I “lost” a day somehow. I just in my mind skipped the 3rd and got ahead of myself!

I was set to teach and suddenly I remembered the ortho appointment thinking I had scheduled during class time with nothing in place. I panicked, looked at the calendar and realized wait, “today is Thursday the 3rd.” So I didn’t sleep well, cried, shamed myself, bathing in self loathing. So then sitting in the car staring at the calendar I started laughing out loud at myself! Laughed till I cried, I didn’t know if I should blame my blonde hair or the PTSD brain. I had a chance to enjoy the rest of the day because it was really the 3rd not the 4th.

My next step was to praise the Lord for the lesson. If I continue to dread this day, I will ultimately lose a day. The day was not lost and neither is today, the 4th. I paused to think of this day and @8pm tonight I may say a prayer for his family. But I get it! I now believe this mishap was a gift from the Lord, he knew what would speak to my heart! ❤️

Last year on this day I made a post that shared my passion for Safe2Save and their commitment to safe driving. I felt a burning inside me to share the same passion, do everything you can to prevent more senseless deaths with distracted driving awareness. I didn’t know how much that passion would cost me with some friendships (but I trust the Lord in that as well). More that what it cost, I gained. The passion moved me to launch Accidental Hope, podcast dedicated to be a resource for people who have had serious accidents or trauma. 28 episodes strong! I am now speaking and serving with the Safe2Save app, as a Safety  Ambassador which fills my cup to overflow on an innocent person who is not prepared to hear the mission and vision of S2S! 🤣 Sorry not sorry! Another celebration is writing my story with the purpose of sharing hope through the unimaginable curve balls life can throw at us. It is written and I celebrate that not any plans other than finishing a goal!

Philippians 1:6 “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to fruition!” 🙌🏻 Amen my assignment is not complete!

I write all this to say, don’t waste the precious days you have with beating yourself up! No one wins and nothing gained a with that mentality. Honor your future not hold onto the past!

God bless you on the journey!


Voices of a CADI, 5 years later ~Cassie

Originally published September 16, 2019

I have been feeling it very heavy on my heart to write a little something. It has been a very long time since I put my thoughts to paper, and I think that has been a good thing for me. The past few days I thought to myself, I kind of wish I had an outlet, another blog page to just put something out there for whoever might need it or just want it. Or maybe it’s just to fully unload it off my chest. Oddly, I received a message from a friend of mine on Saturday. I am blessed to have met her through the internet, to find we share the most inconceivable connection of being a CADI (Cause of accidental death or Injury). Her name is Jennifer Eikenhorst, now an avid blogger and podcast creator of Accidental Hope. She had no idea that the five-year anniversary of our accident was just two days away. I told her that just when I feel God is putting something on my heart, a message from her pops up out of nowhere and makes me think, “maybe I should write that little something.” In turn, she said “you should, and why don’t you post it to my blog as a guest? How fitting is that? So here I am. Writing a little something, 5 years and 42 minutes after the horrific moment that changed my life forever.

It has been quite a journey to reach a milestone like five years. I’ve found myself proud of how far I have come. Astonished that we have made it, that my life is still standing after all of the hell we lived through. Angry that any of this ever had to happen and why to us?  Sad because there isn’t a damn thing I’ve ever been able to do about it, even if I thought in some subconscious way I could make it right. Determined to continue to fight for my life and be light for others in a very dark place. But most of all, hopeful. Hope is something that I have maybe become too much of a realist with. I’ve learned though, that in the worst times of your life, if you do not have hope, you will lose. You might lose anyways. The cards may be stacked against you, and there just might not be a way out. But, no matter what, if you can keep hope alive in your heart, you can keep going. 

In the past five years, I have grieved a lot. I have grieved over the events of what happened September 16, 2014, again and again. On a day like today, it’s reliving each moment as if I’m playing the movie in my head. It’s truly the one time of year no matter how far I’ve come, that I can’t get away from it. I grieved the life I thought I would have and who I used to be. I grieve for Brynn’s family all the time. I see them and they are doing great, they look happy, we can laugh together. But, someone is always missing. And in that moment even if nobody else realizes it, I always will. I lost my dad unexpectedly January 17, 2016. I have grieved him, our kids with him, the life my mom and him had. They would be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary next month. It’s so hard to not live in anger when you think about these things. Rowyn was just a baby, why did any of this have to happen? And why to us?

But I refuse to live that way. It has taken me a long time to understand that in order to fully move forward I had to focus on the new days. I had to stop chasing what felt like what I needed to be doing and just survive in what was happening around me. I remember thinking, I need to write another book, I need to adopt a child, I need to be doing something more with my life. I need to create something, I need to find a way to be better and do better. Maybe I’ll go back to school, become a counselor, take on trauma cases. At one point, I was even talking about becoming a grief yoga instructor. All of this makes me smile just a little bit because I was desperately seeking a way out of how I felt and what had happened. I could have done all of this, but I could not escape my reality. It never would made a difference. It was my journey, it was all part of the process. 

Now here I am, raising two amazing young boys, ages 9 and 5.  They are both uniquely smart. Funny is an understatement, and resilient. Because they walked this road with us. My oldest, Easton, will likely always be my protector. He worries about me when I don’t think he should be. He is intuitive to when I’m having a bad day, and he hugs me often. He feels the presence of September I think. Even if he doesn’t realize it, it’s forever in his heart too. He was there and he knows what happened. Logan is a comedian without trying to be. Some have said he could make us rich with his own YouTube channel. I do not doubt it. But for now, he is a happy 5 year old who is completely clueless to the nightmare that transpired when he was just 10 months old. My Husband Aaron has become the strongest man I know. He has endured this with me, watched me, lost me, and grieved our old life. Together, we have rebuilt our new life quite literally from the ground up. We moved into a 5th wheel trailer for 22 months with our two kids and a dog. That is a book in itself let me tell ya. We sold almost everything we owned, and started completely over. It was the best thing we could have ever done. Our marriage had been tried and tested, but after living in what we called, “the box”, there is nothing that can take us down now. During that time, we were having our home built. I was able to go back to work 40 hours a week, and I eventually applied for a promotion back to my old position, and I got it. We moved into our new house June 14th 2018. If I had to say, I’d propose that things are as close to life 5 years ago as they could be. Never will they be on the inside, but from the outside looking in, we might look like those people again. 

I keep many things at arm’s length now. I have boundaries set all over the spectrum, and I don’t even realize I’m setting them. I’ve gotten so good at self-preservation and protecting the energy that I do have in order to keep it healthy for my family. I read less, I never go to church anymore (which I don’t feel good about), we do sports 6 days a week, and I do my best to still have healthy meals for my family, exercise, and all the other duties as a mom. I love to laugh and share inside jokes with my family. I worry about far more things than I can control. I drink less than I used to, but it’s probably still too much, I enjoy a camel light when I want one, and try not to take things too seriously. 

But guess what? That is the honest truth of where I’m at, and I am super proud to be here.

~Cassie 9/16/19

More information about Raise for Rowyn

In six weeks I have an appointment

Originally published Aug. 25, 2019

Did you know Orthodontists schedule appointments six-weeks out now instead of monthly (at least ours does).  For a little over a year we trek up the highway to the best deal I could find to invest a small fortune on my oldest son’s confidence smile. As he feels grown now (17th birthday is around the corner) He goes back there and I hang in the lobby scrolling Facebook checking emails and working on lesson planning or podcast dreaming. When he is finished I am normally summoned to make the next 6 week appointment.  As a teacher I think of six weeks in terms of grades are due, chunks of units that need to be covered in order to pace the learning…but this upcoming six weeks appointment made me hit the pause button. How could it have come so soon? It took my breath away, inside chaos momentarily rose up like a volcano of emotions. Patrick emerged from the hall with appointment card proudly in hand. New blue bands adorned his grill and he confidently started to stroll on past me.  “You made your appointment by yourself?”  For a second that realization stung but I smiled at his pride but then he handed the little reminder embossed card and he had no idea the floodgate that opened. It wasn’t the reality that my “baby” is able and should be on his way to becoming more independent. (However under a couple layers that pain sits there too!)

10/04 9:30 a.m.

It is the day that changed many lives and it’s six weeks away until we reach the third anniversary of the accident. I secretly made promises to David  myself about what this year would look like. I talked with God about dreams and hopes of helping people. I challenged myself to take action some of the things I have thought about like starting a podcast and committing to it until the Lord opens another door. Other goals like getting healthier I fell short but emotionally I think I am healthier so that counts and I will make smaller goals this time around. It is easier to focus on one or two goals at a time. The me before the accident could have a cluttered dream board working all at the same time, not now.

I smiled at Patrick and inside I wanted to cry. I thought about going to change it but then I would have to explain why. As true Ennegram 6 I have thought about Chris taking him that day and I have negotiated an inner pep talk  a dozen times that it’s fine. I am fine. The 4th of October is fine.

I will more than likely go about what appears to be a “normal” day but it isn’t. It will be a significant Friday for our family for a couple of reasons.  We will welcome a new member to our family that weekend and privately manage another anniversary. Three years ago it was an ordinary Tuesday turned tragic.

Some CADIs (Causing Accidental Death or Injury) honor the lost in an outward way, some don’t believe in celebrating the most painful day of their lives. Both decisions are right. It is deeply personal, however no CADI forgets. I knew what I wanted to do this year the day after last year.  I hope I make him proud, I live life to honor the life that was lost. I hope I make my family proud despite minor setbacks and some things that will never be the same.

It’s funny and not funny that life throws these “little” reminders my way, of all the days in which the calendar could fall it didn’t choose that randomly.

I am learning to welcome the shock, process it, and continue moving forward. I may hobble but I am not stuck. Praise the Lord for that, I don’t take healing for granted I am so completely grateful!