Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I don't actually like thinking about him on this day, but inevitably that's what happens. I like to try and think of him on his birthday or other happy days, but March 9th and 10th are forever in my memory. I could walk someone through hour by hour or minute by minute those days in 2004.

I was in my night class from 7-9 on the 9th, so when my parents tried calling me over and over again to let me know that my brother was missing, I didn't get the messages until I was riding my bike home. When I walked in the door, my roommate Melissa immediately looked up from ironing and worriedly asked if my parents had gotten a hold of me. Unable to reach me, they called Melissa trying to find me to tell me that Phillip had gone up for a flight with a friend that afternoon and never returned.

They had a search group out and the sherriff's office was involved. I didn't really sleep that night. My parents told me not to drive down that night, hoping and praying that everything was all right and that there wasn't a need to worry. All night, half of it on the phone with Jason, I kept praying, but at the same time never really believing that anything really could be wrong. That sort of thing doesn't happen.

I think I left at 5 or so in the morning. Or maybe it was a little later. I knew my parents were still out at the Oakdale Airport and they told me to meet them there. An hour and a bit later I turned off the freeway following the signs to Oakdale, never having driven that way to the little town east of where I grew up. Still, six years later, every time I drive past that sign on Highway 99, that's what I think of: that morning. I was so tired and not awake, scared, but still not really thinking that anything could really be wrong.

When I arrived at the airport, it was really quiet and when I walked in the little terminal, I knew right away that something was wrong.

I could tell you all about how each person arrived at the airport that morning and at the house over the next few weeks, planning Phillip's memorial service, how hot it was on the day of his burial, and so many other details (including a debate over whether or not to use his favorite Simon and Garfunkel music at his service and ultimately deciding that they were rather un-hopeful in their lyrics...something I guess you wouldn't think about until you have to).

So every year on this day, whether I want to or not, that's what I think of. I also think of my brother and how much I miss him. While I know in my head and my heart that he is with the Lord and that someday we will all see him again, I am selfish, wishing that he were here so that he could have been with us all when Anne and I got married, when friends had babies, or when I had Hazel. Sometimes I wonder what he would be doing right now and if he would have liked to visit us in Moscow. Just a lot of wonders. About our relationship and how hopefully it would have improved with age, as I think all three of us kids were going through a small distant patch in our lives. Whether that had to do with being in college and he being in flight school or whatever, I'm not sure. But I hope that if things had turned out differently that we would have become much closer than we were at the time. Either way, I know that he knew that we all loved him, despite the temporary timing of us all living apart.

I do like thinking that if he were alive today that people when they met my sister Anne, they would see how we're related since I think that when you place all three of us together we look semi-related (kind of ). During my short hair phase, I did look quite a bit like Phillip.

I will admit it is a struggle to remain positive sometimes, despite my hope in Lord, simply because I would prefer to have him here right now. But I know that God's plans aren't our plans and that His ways are higher than our ways. I keep reading His word and praying for understanding and acceptance, since I don't know His plans for us all.

I do take refuge in the knowledge that my Christ is alive and that through His promises we will live forever with Him one day.

Job 19:25 - 27a
"As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another..."


Sandra said...


That was very well written and such an encouragement to anyone who would have to or has struggled with a similar thing. Your strenght is something I admire.

Sandra Mason

grace said...

Liz, I'm so sorry. I didn't even know.

The Loscutoffs said...

Boy, I remember those days so well too. I felt so hopeless as a friend...I had no idea how to bring you any comfort. I remember the morning you left to go to the airport with still no word of Phillip. I was praying so hard the news would be good. That afternoon I was sitting on the grass at the UC Davis quad when my Mom called and told me the news. I burst into tears and cried with my mom on the phone. So much sorrow.

I still often think of him...I remember all the times we would annoy him when we would hang out :-) or all his legos he used to build and I even remember him renting "Titanic" one of the times I came to visit you in Ripon. Such random stuff to reflect on, but he will forever be in my memory.

I love you Liz!


Ben and Sarah said...

I remember getting the call from my mom, as well. I was sitting on the couch, nursing my son who was only 3 days old. I was completely shocked by the news, and I burst into tears. You never think something like this could happen to someone you know! Phillip was only a year or so younger than me, and it was difficult to think of a peer of mine, someone I grew up with, being gone.

What great hope there is, though, to know that there is life forevermore with Christ! This life is temporary, just a shadow of things to come, and God calls us home in His perfect timing. And you will see Phillip some day in glory! Praise God!

Thank you, Liz, for sharing this from your heart. :-)

Bethany said...

Well, I am catching up on your blog (way-to-go on posting frequently!) and this post smacked me in the face. Thank you for sharing - we just passed Levi's 1 yr. birth and death and I have been having very similar emotions. I tried to stay positive and think that it's nice to have a time of year set aside to remember him. I know my biggest fear is forgetting those sweet memories. Count the memories you made with your brother a blessing and hold on to them tight. :) Love you Liz!