June 10, 1998 started out as a normal day in my household. There was a bit of excitement in the air as my mom was preparing to take off to New York for a china show. My mom had become involved in china painting a few years prior to going to the show in New York. She was very good at it and loved sitting in the basement for hours on end painting away to her heart’s content. Her best friend, Jeanette, was also a china painter and was going along with my mom. Jeanette’s husband, Dan, was also going along. They were taking Dan and Jeanette’s personal airplane and flying to New York.
That Wednesday morning was a flurry of activities as Mom was getting ready to leave. She was so excited to go because it was something she loved to do so much. She had on a purple sweat suit and white Reebok sneakers. She had her bags packed and ready to go. Dan and Jeanette pulled into the driveway and they both got out of the car. Dan started loading Mom’s suitcases into the car. Jeanette ran over to her, gave her a hug, and started chatting away. Jeanette was as excited to go as Mom was. Dan finished loading the Expedition and it was time for them to go. Mom walked back inside and started to say her goodbyes. Mom came up to me, gave me a hug, told me she loved me, and walked out the door. I yelled back to her that I loved her too. Little did I know that would be the last time I ever saw my mom.
I decided to eat some pizza for lunch and watch a little television. I also decided to jump into the shower because we had Vacation Bible School that week, and I wanted to be ready to go. I was in the bathtub when I heard a knock on the door. It was my dad and he wanted to talk to me as soon as I was done. I thought I was in trouble because my sister, Sara, and I had recently been fighting. I finished my bath, got ready, and walked into Mom and Dad’s room. Dad was in there with my sister and I thought I was getting into trouble. Then I noticed my dad and sister were crying. Dad took a deep breath, looked at me and said the worst eleven words I have ever heard in my life, “Your mother is believed to be killed in a plane wreck.” I froze and went completely numb. I whispered “No,” but did not cry.
I walked into my bedroom and sat down on my bed, feeling completely empty and felt as if there was a big hole inside of me. Jan Neff, one of Mom’s friends, walked up the stairs and hugged Sara and I. We walked downstairs and there were already so many people there. They all must have come in when I was in the shower because I did not remember hearing anyone downstairs. My best friend, Amanda, was there and as soon as I saw her, I started crying and could not stop. I do not really remember much after that. The day went by so fast and there were many people in and out of the house all day. I do remember all the shoes in the foyer and I still wander to this day how everyone managed to find their own shoes because it was the biggest shoe pile I have ever seen!
The first few days and weeks after Mom died were the hardest in my life. I only got through them by the grace of God and with the help and support of my friends and family. My best friend, Amanda, was there for me the most. She had lost her dad a few years before my mom, and she knew exactly what I was going through and experiencing. My family and friends were there for me. I would not have been able to get through it without their love, help, and support. My church family was also a great support system Mom was greatly loved by our church family and they grieved for her as much as we did. They took care of us after Mom died. They cooked for us, cleaned for us, and took care of us. They gave up things in their lives to try to make our lives easier. I will never forget all the wonderful things they did for me and my family.
The one verse that really helped me through this whole situation was Isaiah 41: 10, which says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” It helped me to know if no one else was there for me, I would never be alone because God would always be with me. I had nothing to fear. I would have help and strength anytime I needed. I would be upheld in the right hand of God. Every day of my life I have had strength, help, peace, comfort, and love. I am upheld in God’s right hand every day. I am taken under His wing every day. He sticks closer to me than a brother. He is my Guide and Rock. Without Him, I never would be able to be at the place I am today. I still miss my mom every single day, but what an awesome hope we have in knowing we will see our loved ones again someday soon. We will have eternity with them! But, life is still hard without our loved ones with us, but just remember, you can call upon Him day or night, night or day. God has a phone number and I have used it more times than I can count and will continue to use it the rest of my life. God’s phone number is Jeremiah 33:3, which says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.””
Becca Ritchey - Read BIO
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