country girl...


My niece, Casey Jo-Anna (Belcher) Everhart went to be with Jesus on May 16, 2005 at 1:51 PM at the tender age of 25 after a brief battle with acute myelogenous leukemia. She left behind many people who loved her including her husband Harry and three small children, Dominick (4), Harry Jr. (2) and Samuel (9-months.) She is also survived by her father, Mike, three brothers, Michael, Tim & Logan, Grandma Belcher and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who loved her very much. She was preceded in death by her mother (my sister) Diana Kay (Smith) Belcher, her maternal grandparents and her paternal grandfather.



What do I want to always remember about Casey?   I want to remember her gentle spirit and ever-present smile; her positive attitude despite all adversity right up to the end. 


Allow me to reminisce…


Casey and my daughter, Veronica, were bonded before they were ever born…. Diana shared her morning sickness pills with me and kept my secret that I thought I was pregnant.  When Veronica was born, just three short weeks after Casey, they didn’t get to meet right away…. You see, Casey was in the hospital with double pneumonia.


A couple weeks later, at Veronica’s baby shower, the girls were placed together in their Aunt Joan’s easy chair with coordinating outfits she had bought them…. Veronica’s was white with little pink roses and Casey’s was white with little yellow roses.  Of course, coordinating booties covered each of their ten little toes.  This was their first photo op.


As our babies began to grow into little girls, they were as different as their hair color.  Diana knick-named them “Country Girl” and “City Girl” and that name seemed to describe them as much as it stuck.


Despite their differences, our daughters became more than cousins, they were friends…  It seems that at every family gathering “Country Girl” and “City Girl” were together.  They went to Sunday School together.  They went to Disneyland together.  They played Barbies and school and had tea parties together.


As they grew into young women, this bonded pair each had three little boys.  They continued to lean on each other….  There were baby showers, hand-me-downs, and children’s birthday parties…  Casey and Harry watched my grandbabies so Veronica could work, and sometimes just so she could play.  In their 25 years, I don’t remember those girls ever having a squabble. Actually, I don’t remember Casey ever having a squabble. I’m not sure I know anyone quite as easy going as Casey, except maybe her father…


I believe that Veronica was the first family member that Casey called with the devastating news of her disease… As much as Veronica was there for Casey on the first day, she was there for her on the last and many days in between. None of us were prepared to lose her so young. There’s nothing easy about losing a loved one, but even more so, there’s something unnatural about a father burying his child.


Even though our heart breaks that Casey is no longer physically here on earth with us, we know that she is with Jesus, and surely she is “the prettiest angel.”  I know that Casey and her mother are reunited and now are together in heaven as much as they were here on earth.  But a piece of Casey lives on in each of our hearts.  Her gentle spirit and smile will forever shine in the faces of her three little boys.  I won’t ever be able to look at Mickey Mouse without thinking of Casey. 


Casey’s passing reminds us that LIFE IS FRAGILE and we need to HANDLE IT WITH PRAYER.  We must remember that God has a plan for each of our lives, even though the plan is not necessarily one we would choose for ourselves.  God’s promises teach us that He knows how all the pieces of our lives fit together for good even when we cannot begin to comprehend the circumstances.  There’s a little poem called “A New Day” . . .


This is the beginning of a new day. I have been given this day to use as I will.

I can waste it, or use it. I can make it a day long to be remembered for its joy, its beauty and its achievements, or it can be filled with pettiness. What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.

When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever, but I shall hold something which I have traded for it.

It may be no more than a memory, but if it is a worthy one I shall not regret the price.

I want it to be gain not loss, good not evil, success not failure.




May 19, 2005

 light the night