TEAM BARNETT ADOPTION 2014 ~ Felix's Heroes Wall

The following people have graciously donated to our adoption fund and have made Greta, Felix, & Romeo one step closer to becoming "An Orphan No More"!
Greta's, Felix's, & Romeo's Heroes Wall:
Linda Wade ~ TX; Tammy Johnson ~ TX; Brian & Carol Miller ~ NC; Karl & Beth Brennan ~ TX; Sammye Smith ~ TX; Barbara Balthrop ~ TX; Jeri Newman ~ TX; Shirley Bowman ~ TX; Anonymous ~ TX; Kelly & Chay McClellan ~ TX; Heather Farester ~ VA; Terri Mauldin ~ TX; Sherry Hamby ~ TX; Laura Homan ~ TX; Cindy & Kelsey Cregar ~ MD; April Jurisch ~ TX; Danni & Rhaya Edison ~ TX; Brenda Baswell ~ AL; Anonymous ~ TX; Keshia Melton ~ New Zealand; Mistie Sutko ~ TX; Amy Epley ~ TX; Annie Trenda ~ WA; Jenny Raspberry-Martin ~ Canada; Amber Gilchrist-Anderson ~ NM; Bianca Montelaro-Oliver ~ LA; Sasha Fera-Schanes ~ CA; Gigi Glynn ~ NJ; Cordie Teddlie Everman ~ TN; Clydene Moore ~ TX; Peggy McAdams ~ TX; Kayla Groen; Kristen Abel ~ TX; Dandy Rivas Fleming ~ TX; Colleen Salinas ~ TX; Katy Pyle ~ LA; Sandra Lizcano ~ LA; Reby Lawler ~ TX; Charlette Flowers ~ TX; Mary Anne McCartney ~ TX; Colleen Krizak ~ TX; Rhonda Jackson ~ TX; Heather Woodall ~ TX; Heather Johnson ~ TX; Sherwin & Ann Lee ~ TX; Stacie Lee Mercer ~ TX; Anonymous; Wesley Barnett ~ MS; Anonymous ~ TX; Shirley Massey ~ TX; Jeremy & Mandy Danielson ~ TX; Anonymous ~ TX; Debbie Goff ~ TX; Jamie Discher ~ TX; Carol Miller Wise ~ NC; Cherrisa Shelton ~ TX; Sheilah Chisum ~ NM; Debbie Marks ~ OH; The Stokes Family ~ TX; Wanda Oldag ~ TX; Lisa Smith ~ OH; Michelle Hughes ~ VA;
Reece's Rainbow: Andrea Roberts, Nancy Thornell, Debbie Hannon, Michelle Zoromski, & Lucille Brown

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Day That Began In Tragedy and Ended In Grace and Love

Shane Deon Lee

For the last few days, I have been contemplating whether or not I would write a blog post about the significance of today ~ May 15th.  I prayed about it and I thought about it.  And, in the end, I decided that writing and posting would not only prove to be therapeutic for me, it would also allow me to once again thank the scores of people who came together for my family and me on that day and in the days that followed.  This post will allow me to get through this day by remembering and cherishing the unconditional love and support they so readily gave.  So, with a deep breath and a prayer to God to stop the tears for now, I am writing about what May 15th has come to mean to me.  The first May 15th of significance was in 2001.

This is one of a handful of pics where
Shane is smiling this big ~ the boy hated
to smile for pictures!!
Stacie, Shane, & my parents with me
on my wedding day ~ 9/13/97

My older brother, Shane, was born on February 14, 1970 and died on May 15, 2001.  He was only 31 years old.  So, today marks the 13th anniversary of my brother’s death.  And, even 13 years later, it is still heartbreakingly hard to think about that day, specifically the beginning of that day when my life was shattered and I was brought to my knees with a grief I had never experienced before.  There are parts of that day I remember as if it were yesterday, there are parts of that day that takes me a while to remember, and there are parts that I do not remember at all.  The latter is probably a gift from God. 

For the purpose of this blog post, I am not going to dwell on the sheer tragedy of my brother‘s death and that awful morning.  Instead, I am going to focus on the grace and the love that God gave to my family and me on that day in 2001 and in the days that followed.  However, in order to write about the grace and love, I do need to delve a little bit into the initial events surrounding the morning of his death beginning with the ambulance ride to the hospital.

I was fortunate to grow up in the once little town of Frisco, TX where the townspeople of “Old Frisco” still shared that small town bond in 2001.  On that unfortunate day, I was the one who rode with a couple of “Old Frisco” EMT’s in the ambulance as they worked on my brother while racing as fast as they could in order to get him to the hospital in Plano.  I was comforted by those familiar faces and I knew that they loved Shane and were doing all they could to save their friend.  David, my dad, my mom, and my sister Stacie were graciously escorted to the hospital by several “Old Frisco” policemen who surrounded the car David was driving with their police cruisers.  The policemen, our friends, did this so that David could stay directly behind the ambulance and arrive at the hospital the exact same time as Shane and me.  For that, my family will be forever grateful. 

Once we were at the hospital, it was literally minutes before scores of our dear “Old Frisco” friends began showing up to support us.  They brought food to us, held us up physically & mentally, prayed with us, and sat with us as the doctors and hospital staff worked on my brother.  They stayed with us as Shane was placed on life support in order that his organs could be harvested for donation after he was declared brain dead.  These friends took turns surrounding us at Shane's bedside to pray over Shane and our family.

Once we were at the hospital, I told David that the one person I needed the most to be there was Jim Wicker, my pastor during my teenage years and the pastor who baptized me and married David and me.  Jim was teaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth on that day and it took David about 30 minutes to reach him.  However, once David spoke to Jim, he told David that he’d be there within two hours.  He canceled his remaining classes that day and left a message with Dana, his wife, about what had happened.  Dana, who was also a professor at Southwestern, was actually teaching a class when Jim left for the hospital.  Dana graciously chose to cancel the remainder of her classes once she received Jim’s message and head to the hospital so that she could be with our family.  It was Jim who was with our family in that tiny hospital conference room when the lead doctor told us that they had done all they could for Shane and that my brother had passed away.  It was Jim who first prayed with us as we received that devastating news and it was Jim who rejoiced with us in knowing that Shane was now at the feet of Jesus praising Him because of the relationship Shane had with Christ.  And, it was Jim who preached Shane’s funeral and shared the Gospel with all of those in attendance.  Jim and Dana, thank you both.  Y’all already know how much you both mean to me.

Pretty much the rest of the time we spent at the hospital remains a blur to this day, but I do remember several of Shane’s friends coming to the hospital to show their respects.  The one person who meant the most to us and Shane was also an “Old Frisco” person.  My brother was a cowboy who trained cutting horses and owned several acres of land that he was in the process of turning into a horse ranch.  In fact, at the time of his death, Shane was completing the fencing around his roping arena.  And, at the time, his “cowboy running buddy” was Ricky Wade.  Ricky had become Shane’s best friend and his confidant.  In the months before his death, when Shane became ill and began going through a ton of stuff, it was Ricky who was always there for Shane.  It was Ricky who my parents could call in the middle of the night when they were worried about Shane because they knew that Ricky would come running to help Shane.  So, when we saw Ricky walk into Shane’s ICU hospital room, a grateful peace came over me and I know that Shane felt it too.  Ricky Wade, after all these years, my family and I are still so grateful for what you did for Shane and the friendship that you blessed him with during the last few years of his life.  We love you, brother.

Two other people who are worth mentioning for what they did for our family on that day are Sharon Griffin and Lynda Humbarger.  Sharon and Lynda are the mothers of two of my close childhood friends, Jennifer Griffin Upshaw and Shanda Humbarger Hatcher, and are also dear friends to my mother.  And, they are also “Old Frisco.”  Sharon and Lynda were both at work on that day when they received the news and, immediately, they both left work and raced to my parent’s home.  Sharon and Lynda stayed at my parent’s home to clean everything up so that we would not have to.  How precious is it to have friends willing to get on their knees and scrub away things that are unmentionable?  Later on, Lynda joined us at the hospital while Sharon remained at my parent's house to finish cleaning & arrange meals to be delivered.  Sharon and Lynda, the magnitude of what y’all did for us has not been lost on our family.  We will remain forever grateful to the sacrifice y’all made for our family.  We love you both so much.  Jennifer also left the school where she was teaching and came to be with me at the hospital.  Shanda was waiting for us at my parent’s home when we returned.  Jennifer and Shanda, dear friends, thank you for being there during my hour of need.  I love you both.

In the end, there were literally hundreds of people who met us at the hospital that day, who came to my parent’s house later that night once we returned from the hospital, and who visited us in the days & weeks that followed.  We would not have been able to make it on that day and the days following Shane’s death without our friends ~ especially those “Old Frisco” friends.  There are too many to mention, but I do feel the need to mention a handful in order to personally thank them for the love and grace they gave to our family.  Thank you to Tommy & Connie Ohm and Jenny Ohm Hardy for the wonderful meals (especially the hamburgers!) you brought us and the time you spent with us.  Tommy, thank you for the literal hours of laughter you gave us during the retelling of all the crazy & funny Shane stories and thank you for speaking so eloquently at Shane's funeral & gifting everyone there with laughter at the memory of my brother.  Gilbert Gonzalez, thank you for not only being there for us, but also for being Shane’s best friend and partner in crime since y’all’s high school days.  You know that Stacie and I consider you our brother.  The Carlos & Yolanda Liscano family, thank you for being there for us and making sure we had plenty of coffee.  Mary & Gordon Holbrook, thank you for being there for us and being such dear friends to Shane.  Gordon, thank you for all of the wonderful childhood go-cart & neighborhood memories that you & Shane have left us with.  Sarah Claunch, thank you for being there for me and being my rock when I was so broken.  Alton & Terry Garner, thank you for the countless hours y’all spent sitting with my dad on the front porch as he smoked cigarette after cigarette as a way to deal with his grief.  Janis McGee, thank you for coming to my parents as soon as you could.  You know how special Shannon was to Shane.  Because of Shannon, I know that Shane would have cherished Silas, Teague, Trenton, & Maclayne if he was with us today.  Steve & Glynda Covington, thank you both for coming to see us as soon as y’all returned from vacation & found out.  The hours you spent with my parents were greatly appreciated.  Glynda, thank you for helping us in the aftermath in our dealings with the Frisco Police Dept.  Gig Gross, thank you for the beautiful tribute to Shane that you made out of wood as a gift to our family.  Your artwork brought much needed comfort to our family ~ whether you like it or not, you are an angel in my eyes and one day I will convince you of your true worth in God.  Love you, friend, and God loves you more.

Thank you to several members of First Baptist Frisco for ministering to our family through love, grace, and countless meals.  FBC Frisco was my church growing up and where I was baptized.  I am so very thankful to have been surrounded by the love of my “Old Frisco” church where I grew in my relationship with the Lord during my teenage years.  Thank you to my old youth minister, Tommy Woodard, who came to the hospital on that day to minister to my family.  Tommy, I love that you still cared for me even though I was 26 years old; I guess I truly reminded you of a fragile heartbroken teenager on that day.  Thank you to several members of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano and our Sunday School class at the time.  All of you were rocks to David and me during the aftermath of Shane's death.  Thank you to Prestonwood’s Singles Ministry and Ron Holton, the Singles’ Minister at the time, for ministering to not only my sister Stacie, but to our whole family.  Thank you, Ron, for traveling over two hours with us after Shane’s funeral for his burial in East Texas.  Thank you for the beautiful graveside message you delivered.  Your words were a true comfort.  And, thank you for the countless hours you spent with Stacie, my parents, and me just to make sure we were okay.  I miss our talks about the Bible and the sheer joy of serving our Lord and the new ministry He was calling you & your wife to.

There are countless others who ministered to our family during the week of May 15, 2001 ~ too many to mention.  Please know that y’all are not forgotten.  My family and I remember each of you.  There are days when we remember y’all as individuals and there are days when we remember y’all as a collective group.  To go through a tragedy of such magnitude allows the positive and good things that come out of it to be seared into your heart and mind forever.  Everyone’s love, grace, and prayers for our family are the good and beautiful things that came out of my brother’s death.  For that, we are forever grateful.  We love each of you.

Finally, and certainly not least, I am thankful to my Savior Jesus Christ.  Had it not been for Him, there is no way that my family and I would have been able to endure that day and that week.  Our family experienced a tragedy so great, an unspeakable tragedy that no family should have to endure.  In John 10:10, Christ tells us that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  His words rang true on that day because Satan tried to destroy our family by stealing Shane’s mind in an effort to win a victory in Shane’s death.  However, the exact opposite occurred.  Satan did not have the victory that day ~ God did!  God had the victory in the fact that Shane was called home to Jesus.  God had the victory in the fact that His love prevailed through the actions of our dear friends.  And, most importantly, God had the victory in the simple fact that our faith in Him not only remained strong, it continued to grow during our unspeakable grief.  Still to this day, I praise Him for the victories that He gave our family when we needed Him most ~ He knew how much we needed Him and He was ready to shower us with His love and grace.  Father, thank you for loving us that much.    

Shane's Tombstone ~ Dimple, TX

1 Thessalonians 1:2-4:
"2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, 4 knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you"

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