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I recently spoke at a Victim Impact panel in Caldwell at Lifeways. I love speaking at panels like these because I can interact with people who had been arrested for driving under the influence. This night was a particularly engaged audience and I went away feeling very successful in what it is I do. Telling Shawn and Sage's story often, reconnects me to them and that point in my life in my early twenties. As I walked out of the building, I realized that in my line of vision was the apartment Shawn and I had lived in. It struck me, like a glancing blow, and shook me out of my "feel good" moment and reminded me with that familiar gnawing ache, that Shawn and Sage were gone. Quickly my mind returned to the memories I have in those apartments.

Shawn and I were broke with a brand new baby on the way and the costs of living took everything we had and then some. Costs kept mounting as we prepared for Sage, and we couldn't see how we were going to make ends meet. Our daily prayers often included a plea for help, since we knew we couldn't do it on our own.

One Sunday an amazing opportunity opened up to us. Some friends of ours from church let us know they were moving to Boise and would be leaving their position as apartment managers in Caldwell. They got us an interview with the owners and we were lucky enough to become the next apartment managers of Baycrest Village apartments. It was a huge blessing in our lives and gave us the help and resources we needed to get prepared to receive our daughter into the world.

We were happy in that apartment. It was the beginning of a long life together, so we thought, and we made plans together about what we wanted out of life. Shawn had finally made the difficult decision of what it is he wanted to do for a career and was only one semester away from graduating with his bachelor's degree. I was happily working doing hair and building my clientele. Sage was born and growing into a beautiful little girl, and we rejoiced over her and were filled with the excitement of watching her personality develop and seeing the person she would become.

Nine months later, it was over. The crash ripped apart these plans and dreams we had. Their lives ended and mine went on without them. I thought, as I looked across the parking lot at my old apartment and into my old life, how I wish I could have seen more clearly what a treasured time those nine months were. Despite the financial and other struggles we were having, it was one of the most beautiful times in my life. I got in my car and as I drove home my thoughts danced through time, enjoying the memory of the many firsts I had in that apartment and also remembering to treasure my life I have now.

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