January 12, 2013

A Mother's Painful Journey After The Unthinkable Happens...

Growing up we lived next door to a very interesting family.  At the time, I thought they were way cooler than our family.  We lived in California, but they were originally from Seattle.  I always thought of them as Seattle's version of the Kennedy family.  Not because they were political.  They just seemed to always look impossibly chic in a J Crew~Lilly Pulitzer kind of way, sporting preppy haircuts and fresh faced kids that never seemed to get their Sperry Top-Siders dirty.  The mom grew up with the Nordstrom Family, which gave them major street cred in my book.  Their house was adorned with an eclectic flair that incorporated antiques and mixtures of patterns that could very well have been the inspiration of the now famous term "shabby chic."  A huge mirror leaned easily against the front entry wall with rugs tossed effortlessly over hardwood floors.  A look that surely could have rivaled any designer magazine.  There were three kids, two of whom were older than me. They went to boarding school while I attended a local private school, so we didn't know each other well like most kids who grow up together on the same street. Although, the youngest went to school with my sister and me, and we enjoyed many days playing kick the can, holding lemonade stands, and building the most elaborate leaf houses in the fall.

Caroline was the middle child.  She actually looks today very much the way she did as a teen.  Like her mother she was always petite with short hair and a huge smile.  Usually a giggle, which made her incredibly adorable.  She was always kind but because we had a cursory relationship, we did not see each other often after our family moved to Oregon in 1980.

Over the years, there were Christmas cards and birth announcements exchanged. Gifts and notes were sent in congratulations, but there were not many opportunities to see one another in the years to come.  Occasionally, we would run into each other, as they ultimately moved back to Seattle, and we would periodically cross paths if we were in the area for the weekend.

Caroline married and had twin girls and a younger boy.  She later divorced, but remarried and had two more daughters with her second husband.

In August 2004 Caroline awoke one morning to any parent's worst nightmare.  It was a knock that would bring the devastating news that Sarah, her youngest twin had been killed in a terrible car accident.  They lived on picturesque Bainbridge Island, which is a short ferry ride from Seattle.  In this quaint sleepy community that could be illustrated as anything but the hustle and bustle of Seattle, a car full of teens would be traveling far too fast and careen out of control, injuring several and killing one.

So why am I writing a blog about this, you may ask.  Because last year, Caroline penned one of the most stunningly raw yet beautiful books about the path that she and her family navigated through during the years following the accident.  The words are written with intention yet depict a story that neither sugarcoats nor exaggerates the details of their devastating loss.  I found it impossible to put down, except when I had to take a break to collect my thoughts.  While challenging to assimilate, it was heartfelt and had many chilling moments that cause you to ask if those who pass away continue to remain in our world.

I highly recommend that you purchase or download this book.  The title is Heaven's Child and the author is my friend, Caroline Flohr.  It is available through Amazon or in your local bookstore.

I trust that if you read this book, you will not soon forget the way in which she intertwines the pain of loss with the beauty of faith and family.


  1. Thank-you,Julie. Excellent review. I will send your blog on to my friends.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I know Caroline Flohr will appreciate those who are taking the time to read her stunningly beautiful book.

  3. I am getting the book now! I LOVE your writing! I am on to read your third post now. Love the Merle Haggards story too! Bravo! I will be back! Really, heartfelt congratulations on your new writing adventure! Cindy Joseph

  4. Thank you for your beautifully written "shout out" to Caroline Flohr and her book "Heaven's Child" - a heartfelt story about the sorrow and pain of losing her teenage daughter Sarah. Caroline's story helps weave into our collective human fabric the possibility that even the most tragic of circumstances can be filled with nooks and crannies (and even surprisingly at moments, broad strokes) of hope- and life- and connection!