In 2018, over 67,000 people died of a drug overdose. Each person who lost their life to this disease was someone's child, parent or loved one. With their loss, we are left with pictures and precious memories of the beautiful people we knew and loved. This section is dedicated to those memories.
Since it’s graduation season, we are sharing Parker’s graduation photos. Robinson High School Class of 2016. He finished his first residential treatment program the beginning of his Senior Year. He was so proud to graduate.
Parker Alan Gill
You are Loved. You are Free. You are home.
I asked Hagen’s mom Staci for a memory and like most of us mom’s, whether we’ve lost a child or not, she had trouble coming up with just one.
I love the one that she chose to share:
“Choosing one memory to share was difficult but I kept being led back to Hagen’s first trip home after joining the Navy. We kept it a surprise from his little brother, Weston, which wasn’t easy. He, like the rest of us, was so proud of his brother, but missed him immensely. There was 6 years between them, but they were the best of friends.”
She recalls, when she asked him to get something out of the trunk that day, finding Hagen there was the last thing he expected. Moments like that with her boys are ones she misses the most. “I used to think nothing could top that sweet reunion, but I bet our next one does!”
Thank you Staci for sharing that sweet memory with us. Our hearts go out to you and Weston.
Hagen you are so missed and we thank you for your service to our country!!
Taylor was born on August 26, 1996 and was the light of her family's life. Living up to her initials, “TNT”, her mom describes her as “a firecracker who lived life fully with a big dose of energy, zest and personality”. Hints of that firecracker personality can be seen in the photos here.
Taylor’s mom shared with me a time when she and Taylor visited her grandmother’s church. When the request for a “special song” was made, Taylor got up and walked up to the stage. Taylor at 8 years old had written a song about Jesus and with no hesitation or permission, went up in front of everyone and sang the song with gusto.
Despite going through many hardships, she loved fully and helped many who were struggling, often putting them first above her own recovery. Her disease took her from us, a year ago today on July 13, 2019. The world has been less colorful and less full of life & love since then.
Taylor's Mom says, “For those suffering from the disease & for their loved ones, please reach out and get help. You don't have to walk this path alone & the world doesn't have to lose another precious person way too soon.”
Parker loved to duck hunt and blow a duck call. As my preacher said at his funeral, “he could blow a duck call like nobody’s business”. I loved to sit on the deck and listen to him practice his calls-which he did over and over on a regular basis. I couldn’t blow a duck call myself, but I had the routine memorized. He had the privilege of training one-on-one with Butch Richenback, the 1972 World Championship Duck Caller and founder of Rich N Tone duck calls (which happened to be Parker’s favorite calls). The time Butch took with Parker meant the world to him. You can see him practicing with Butch in the video here. I’m so very thankful that I took my camera that day to video the instruction.
Parker competed in duck calling contests including the World Championship Duck Calling Contest, Youth Division in Stuttgart. He didn’t win, but I was proud of him for competing. He wasn’t too fond of the competitions. All that really mattered to him was whether or not he could call well enough to get the ducks to come in, close enough for a shot, so he could bring them home.
Oh, how I miss listening to the sounds of duck calling coming from his bedroom, the smell of his dirty camo and finding duck feathers in the laundry.