Monday, December 9, 2013

When Lives Are Taken Too Soon

In October I was asked to be part of the blog tour for David S. Baxter's book Peace Be Still.  At the time I was already reviewing several books, so asked if I could instead review it in December.  I figured with the busy holiday season and the end of a year when people begin to look towards the new year with new goals would be a perfect time to talk about finding peace.

Little did I know that this book would become perfect at this time for a much different reason.

This last week I received a text from a friend, 'Ashlyn and Landon were hit by a car on their way home from school; Ashlyn is in critical condition.'

My heart stopped, I felt sick.  This brother and sister not only went to the same school as my kids but were also members of my church.  Ashlyn is Lucas' age and in his Primary (Sunday school/Bible study) class and also in his class at school.  Landon, her younger brother, is in Alex's primary class.

I texted Eric; he soon received a call from one of his co-workers, his co-worker's wife having seen some of the aftermath was wondering what had happened. I scoured Facebook and searched on-line trying to see if anyone else had said anything, waiting to hear an update, sending several texts.

I soon did hear an update; they had been crossing in a crosswalk when a driver made a left hand turn right into them; Ashlyn did not make it, passing away before she made it to the hospital.  I was stunned, I couldn't believe it.  How did this happen?  Ashlyn was the one daughter, sandwiched between two boys just like my own family.

I found myself watching the news clips over and over; just unsure what to do but wanting to do something.  A list was quickly formed for dinners for the family, a donation page was set up to help pay for the funeral and a memorial fund, calls were made, texts were sent.  This rocked the community.  That night Lucas' school teacher called each student wanting them to know the news before the message was sent out to everyone in the district. I can't even imagine what it was like for her making those calls.  She had said many times this was one of her favorite classes of all time, full of good kind kids who all worked hard.  At dinner that night I broke the news to Lucas, he was shocked and heart broken.

The next day the drive to school took twice as long.  There was extra crossing guards and a huge police presence all around the school.  Everyone drove extra slowly.  Flowers, balloons and candles now filled the street corner.

The communities response was beyond amazing, the amount of money donated just kept rising and rising, love and support and messages coming in from all over the country.

At times like this, when a life is taken too soon, where can peace be found?

I know the family and I know at this time they are relying on their faith; their knowledge that this life is not the end, their knowledge that families can be together forever and that they will be reunited with their daughter someday.

Last week, I opened David Baxter's book again, in preparation for this review and turned upon the chapter entitled Peace amidst Death.

I quote:
 "When one is deeply loved, grief can feel almost overwhelming.  Grief is, in effect, merely a reflection of the love of the deceased that is felt by those who remain behind.  Such grief may abate in its intensity over time, but I am not convinced that it ever completely goes away.  The depth of love will always cause some degree of grief, even though it will become less acute over time.
   The diminution of made possible through the comforting embrace of the Holy Ghost and a fuller understanding of Heavenly Father's divine plan for the eternal destiny of His children.....
   In effect, those who know and understand the central role of birth and death in mortality, have a conviction that the end of mortal life is merely the passing on to the next phase of our immortal lives."

In other words- death, when properly understood, is simply going back home.

Baxter's book is filled with insights, truth and hope in how to find peace in our lives.  He talks about such things as finding peace in the world, finding peace through forgiveness, peace amidst diversity, peaceful places, peace at home and more.

The author, David Baxter was born in Stirling, Scotland and is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  His book quotes scripture and quotes from Latter Day Apostles and Prophets and is geared towards an LDS audience but the truths are universal and all can gain from them.  The book is a quick read at just over 100 pages long.

Many of the things in this book, I already know or believe but reading them at this time brought so much comfort and peace to me.  It helped remind me of what I know to be true.  I am grateful I had this book to read during this tragic time.

The funeral is scheduled for this Saturday.  The balloons and flowers are still on the corner.  Tears come to my eyes every time I drive by that corner; but I know.  I know they can be with their daughter again someday, will have the chance to raise her to become a become a beautiful grown women. Peace be still.

 As quoted from Baxter's book:
"We can each do something about the angst, fear and disturbance of others.  We can help others feel the encompassing love and comfort that emanates from the Prince of Peace."

There is a true source of peace; I know it to be true.

David Baxter's book can be purchased at the following locations.
Cedar Fort Publishing//Barnes And Nobel//Amazon//Deseret Book//

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Peace be Still by David Baxter to review. All feelings and opinions are my own and truthful.


  1. So sad, I often wonder how people who don't know Jesus cope with tragedy like this. So thankful to know the Lord and have a support system, wishing peace for your friends.

  2. That is so terrible. I will say a prayer for that family tonight. What an awful, awful thing to have happen. I don't even want to think about it. :o(

  3. I am so sorry for the loss this family suffered. It breaks my heart. This book sounds wonderful though and a good reminder of the peace that can be found a midst such tragedy. My prayers are with this family.

  4. Please hug Lucas for me. I am sitting here sobbing. He must have been(and still must be) so upset. I can't even imagine this family's pain.

  5. Oh Em, so sad to hear this. I can't even imagine how hard that would be. Sending love your way!! And so grateful for the gospel.

  6. I was in tears reading this post. It's so tragic whenever a child is taken. I can't even begin to imagine what this must feel like.

  7. What a terrible tragedy. I'm so very sorry for the loss of your son's friend. This is the second story I've heard today of someone being hit fatally by a car. It makes me want to drive at a snail's pace for the rest of my life.

  8. I can't imagine the difficulty that the family is going through... what your son is going through... and each and every parent who have children who use that crosswalk daily.

    I have to believe that this book came to you at the right time.

  9. Oh wow, I'm not even sure there are words....

  10. I'm so sorry for that family's loss. I pray for peace for them.