Love Wins

I'm tired of labels.
We are too busy trying to define our
emotions, feelings, dreams, beliefs, thoughts, ideas...
in a neat acceptable package upon presentation,
and as a listener we are instantly prepared with the rebuttal of our own definition
(as if we were in competition),
that we fail to really hear one another.

We are so focused on interjecting our definition for someone else's experience,
to make it comfortable for us,
that we fail to hear that heart of our brothers and sisters.

WE get in the way.

I'm thankful for faith.
Maybe it's more of my Type A personality (routine grounds me, I'm a dancer, 5,6,7,8),
but faith keeps me going.
Faith in whatever.
Faith, I'll wake up tomorrow.
Faith, my son will continue to turn his homework in on time.
Faith, my daughter will slow down and choose her words wisely.
Faith, I'll choose to see the good, before I lean on my past encounters with humanity.

I'm solid in my walk, it feels good.
Age and experience lead me to focus more on how I can be of service,
than the importance of opinions and judgments pressed by others on how I should worship.
Doesn't serve me, doesn't serve them, doesn't serve anyone...that's hell in a hand basket.

WE get in the way.

Have you ever watched the innocence drain from the eyes of a child?
I'm not talking about days, months, years later when bitterness crept in and robbed us all.
I'm talking about the exact second it happens.
I will never look at a seven year old and four year old the same way again.

It's is so painful. Constant pain, you tolerate.
You put your pain aside and do whatever it takes to restore whatever you can for their happiness.
They didn't have a choice.
It's so painful, that you cannot witness anymore pain...anywhere.
Nightly your heart prays for peace, because your child's experience is just one of stories out of a billions of children, young and old.
Her children could have been my children, and mine could have been hers
They are not.

WE all needed peace.

Chronic pain and stress are serious subjects to my heart.
NO matter how painful, hard and humbling it is to admit,
I will always need professional help to work on my emotional and mental wellness.
It is, what it is.
My threshold for stress, chaos, and strife are extremely low, seriously.
Limitations on local and global news are necessary.
After so many personal losses, I mourn for everyone in pain.
Mothers, Fathers, Husbands, Wives, Brothers, Sisters, Sons and Daughters...
May be different stories, different circumstances, but pain is present.
I've known them all. Same heart, same pain.

WE all need peace.

Two years ago a man started his journey of rehabilitation.
Two years ago three children's perception of their life was altered.
Two years ago she wrote to me and asked speak.
In the presence of a professional (per my request; her counselor)
She confirmed everything I already knew.
She apologized for her ex-husband's actions, her participation in whatever way that might have been hurtful to my children and me, and she asked for forgiveness.
After a few choice words that built up within me for five years, I validated the pain she and her husband inflicted on my family, and accepted her apology.
We left the appointment and we started over,
"Hi, I'm Samarah Hays. And you are?"
"I'm Kim."

WE got out of the way and allowed peace to restore us.
We won.
Our children will win.
If others want to join, so be it.
If not, please move out of The Way.
I believe it's ALL possible.
I believe in the GOOD things coming.
I believe in LOVE and it's healing power.
I believe Love Wins, every single time.

This is just my experience.
Maybe it will shed light on your perception of:
the world, a personal experience, or pain and suffering.
Whatever the circumstance,
believe that Love is the answer to all questions and easily heard by every heart willing to listen.


Go Plea Yourself

Excuse me for mis-spellings or mistakes in grammar, it's been a rough month and I'm tired. :)

I gave this statement at the plea hearing for Todd Michael Willoughby. Knowing ahead of time that Mr.Willoughby was accepting the plea out of fear and avoiding even more prison time, I knew that his remorse was forced. He proved my assumptions to be correct by speaking briefly, after Russell's mother spoke of Russell's beautiful life-long nature, Russell's sister (Brandi Sikes) shared her tender heart and chronic pain from her fight through out this experience, and lastly my impact statement, by sitting on the witness stand and only sharing his "condolences with the Hays family for their loss". Not once did Mr. Willoughby apologize for his actions, yet only complained of his burns, scars, PTSD, and absence from his children. NOT ONCE DID HE SAY HE WAS "SORRY". Not once did he recognize that my late husband had no scars, he died from the burns. My children did not have a chance to "visit" Daddy...heaven is further away than any prison in Georgia. Lastly, My children did not have a chance to prepare for the careless actions of a Todd Willoughby's negligent driving and careless fleeing of the scene...you had FIVE years to prepare and be honest with your poor children, shame on you for not warning them of your absence. You are obviously a boy who had children, NOT a man.

Do not misunderstand me, I am so thankful Todd Michael Willoughby took a small step to put this on going saga to an end, but I know a sociopathic-narcissist when I see one and he has yet to think or show any kind of sympathy for the beautiful human being he carelessly fled from or family he robbed of a beautiful human being. ANYONE who supported this man, continued a relationship with this man, and/or believed any of Todd's lies is a fool and just as guilty of LEAVING RUSSELL HAYS in the ditch to burn ALONE. Not coming forward before March 7, 2014 is shameful and if any legal repercussion could have been charged against you, they should have been. You are a sorry human being and you should be evaluated for a pulse.

In other words, YOU were WRONG, YOU should be ashamed of yourself, and WE (Russell's family and TRUE friends) deserve an apology for your contribution in allowing us to suffer with this pain for this long. Any statement made on this blog is not defamation of character, because it's TRUE. I have several documents pointing to Mr. Willoughby's guilt and several eye witnesses to your lack of class and respect at a man's funeral. If you have the guts to show your face to me I can go through the evidence line by line with you, but chances are that you are like the company you keep, cowardly and arrogant; your lack of logically reasoning is that of a swine; eat of your feast and foundation. Pure and simple it is FOUL.

I'd like to thank everyone who supported us through this trial. To my mother who is my right hand with any need of my children or myself, she is there no matter what and every person should strive to be as sweet. To my father who came to support me through every calendar call and legal meeting, thank you for your passion for justice. To Brandi Sikes for being Brandi Sikes, for fighting along side me, for crying with me, and being my sister...Russell would have done the same. To Russell's family for loving us and rejoicing in family blessing since Russell's physical death. To my family for trusting me, loving me, and allowing me to handle this experience in the way I needed to process it to the end. To my friends, MY TRUE FRIENDS, who show me daily that there is hope in chosen family. To the police officers, DA (R.A.), investigators (R.M.), and Nikki for fighting for justice until the end and being patience with my temper, frustration, and anxiety (as well as the officers who read my blog because you always knew the truth and supporting us in court on Friday) To all the witness on the scene who willingly and eagerly came in to testify to the negligence of Todd Willoughby, Russell is thankful for your love and your honesty.To my children who are the only reason I walked into every calendar call, every hearing, every class, and every job...I love, live, and would die for your well-being. And for my Sweet Jesus...You are my way, my truth, and my light; You have never left me, your blessings abound, and our loving relationship only grows.

My Impact Statement ( I speak for everyone who loved Russell, Isaac, and Lillian): **Surprising I was able to only lock eyes with the one person who needed to hear all of this...it shocked me that I was able to stare into the eyes of someone who took so much from my babies. Deep down I know Russell was with me, because I felt the room was empty...just me and him.**

Thank you Judge Davis for allowing me to speak on behalf of my children Isaac and Lillian Hays and for myself. My name is Samarah Hays. I am the widow of Russell Edward Hays. This has been one of the hardest statements I've ever had to write; how does one explain the last five years of grief, chronic stress, rage, depression, understanding, grace, compassion, and peace experienced within one person in one statement.

I'd like to get this out of the way first.

Russell and I were not friends with the Todd Willoughby or his now ex-wife Kim Alexandre; January 1 2009 was the second time Joshua Price and Rachel Price introduced us to the couple. I was fairly impressed then of the couple, and now all four of those people are simply horrible reminders of a tragic day that changed the course of my entire family. SO on a daily basis I forget them.

Even being associated with those people is a huge misrepresentation of who I am and what I stand for as a person. I deeply regret not ending or putting even more distance in the friendship with Joshua Price and Rachel Price at earlier warning signs; from that I have learned that you can't save everyone at the sake of losing yourself or someone you love and it's ok to love people from a distance.

This event has impacted my life in the following ways:

It helped contribute in the death of my husband, the father to Isaac and Lillian Hays, the son of Teresa and Michael Leahey and Doug and Michelle Hays, the brother of April, Brandi, Douglas, and Daniel, the family member to many and a friend to everyone.

Russell is a wonderful spirit; while on this earth he shared his heart for Christ with many and that is first thing he would want me to say about him. This past Monday I had a rough day and cried for most of it, because it would have been our 13th anniversary; at our wedding Russell said sharing Christ with me was his favorite memory. In the past five years, I have struggled with God on many things, but one thing is true...no matter what happens, My Great Healer will not let me go; love, peace, grace, and compassion are His will and HE pushes that on me every single time I have struggled to understand this experience. Therefore, I do not lean on my own understanding...I am nothing. Russell was a apart of that beautiful union and for that I am thankful. We loved, laughed, fought, talked, sang, created, prayed, and worshiped together. Our life wasn't perfect, it wasn't filled with empty promises or "stuff", it was raw, real, and it was love. We understood each other not only as husband and wife, but as brother and sister in Christ. We tried to hold each other to standard's not of own, but God's...so our concerns and hopes for one another were not just of the selfish flesh, they were for the greater good. Just do the right thing. Hopes and concerns to help us not hurt us.

SO when I gave Russell my IMPACT statement three years ago in the privacy of my home, I was not in denial of his careless choice of stepping into the passenger's seat. I was not blinded by "love" or my "poor widow" status to understand that his level of alcohol consumption had everything to do with his lowered inhibitions to step into passenger's seat. I was holding him accountable for the mistakes he made under God's standards, not mine but I whole hearted agree with My Creator. Russell took a chance on his family and lost, and that hurt. As a wife it hurt, but as a mother it hurt deeply. Nothing compares to having  to explain to a 7 year old and 4 year old why Daddy is not coming home. (Other than having to watch your children watch you go through the stages of grief, rage, depression, and anger because of this loss.) Through time, prayer, and counseling not only have I been able to forgive Russell but also accept his remorse. There are several examples of Russell sending me "hello's" from the other side, to reassure me that he is sorry and he wants nothing but the best for everyone involved in the horrible tragedy. He wants peace.

I am fully aware that two men drank too much and made an immature decision to get into a fast car. PERIOD. It is sad, it is unfortunate, but I am a strong woman who has walked through the grief process before, so I knew hours after Russell died that I would not just heal but I would be able to remember Russell on a daily basis, remember his spirit, and smile because I love him. We feel him daily.

Because of the complexities of these circumstances I've had to compartmentalize several issues surrounding this cases and treat them on individual bases.

My family got the Price house, cried, and held me. Everyone was in and out of the house, while I cried myself in various positions. Then my dad came in with a serious face, and asked the question, "Sam, what is Russell's dentist's name." I snapped back into reality and realized a new horror, "If YOU NEED DENTAL RECORDS that means THERE IS NOTHING LEFT OF HIM!" This was the straw for the night, and I went into full blown shock. I hardly remember talking to Officer Dukes, hardly remember getting in the car, and I barely remember walking up my Granny's steps to her house. It was 2:00 in the morning January 2 and my arms were numb, I couldn't feel my feet, and my heart felt as though it was going to come out of chest. I thought I was going to die and leave my children parent less. My stepmother Kim told me I was going through shock.

I thought of myself, but then I thought of Todd Willoughby and Kim Alexandre Willoughby. I thought of the horror he had to witness and his own pain. All I knew was that there was a wreck, Todd was at Grady, there was nothing left of Russell. My imagination ran away with me and this is when I pleaded with my father.

"He can't live with himself Daddy, he's got Russell's blood on his hands, he's got kids Daddy, kids. They can't charge him, he's got kids. Call the police, it was just an accident. I forgive him, it was just an accident." I wouldn't find out until January 5th why my father looked at me so oddly, yet he said "Ok, baby. it's gonna be ok." I cried myself to sleep and woke up crying."

The actions taken by Mr. Willoughby after Russell stepped into the passenger's seat are the wounds that still haunt me because it's been five years. How fast Mr. Willoughby drove the car, where (Mr. Willoughby drove the car, why Mr. Willoughby ran from my burning husband, why Mr. Willoughby did not return to the scene until 52 minutes later, and why Mr. Willoughby choose to lie and blame my late husband about this horrible collision ALL falls on Mr. Willoughby. I've never gotten an apology and as a result I have not been able to heal from these offenses.

Because of Mr. Willoughby lies, the lies spread by his ex-wife Kim Alexandra shortly after the death of Russell, and the lies or fabrication of his lies by his friends Joshua Price and Rachel Price (at my husband's funeral NO LESS)  I have trust issues. I do not trust people at their word and discretely hold people at a distance, until I see that they will never lie to me about the death of a loved one or run from a burning corps.

As a result of the tragic circumstances of Russell's death and my reaction to the news of Russell's death, I suffered a major panic attack that led to stress fractures in my foot and full blown shock. I suffered from PTSD for quite sometime with horrible nightmares, doubt that Russell was even dead because I never saw a body, paranoid thoughts that people were lying to me about his death, and flashbacks haunted me; now have panic attacks and Generalized Anxiety. Chronic stress and anger (caused by Mr. Willoughby's negligence and prolonged denial of the facts) reached levels somatic in ways through migraines and depression. Through counseling, exercise, and prayer I am able to manage my symptoms.  Although, it is hard for me to watch the news, hear tragic stories or watch movies of lies, death, and betrayal, as well as hear any kind of lie...whether it be to me or to someone else...I can smell and see a lie from miles away and I instantly withdraw from anyone who lies in front of me. It is an insult to my intelligence and my 3.7 GPA proves I am not an idiot.

I don't trust people to take me at my word, because of Mr. Willoughby's doubt in my compassion and understanding of the situation. I take false accusation seriously. Claiming that someone caused the death of another person is a strong offense and should not be taken lightly. This saga became almost comical when Mr. Willoughby confronted me outside the courthouse in December 2013; claiming I had "made him out to be a monster". As a Junior Psych major at UNG I couldn't help but think that this was a great example of projection; Mr. Willoughby in fact was only projecting onto me what he thought of himself. He went on to shake his hands at me, "you just go on and believe what you want to believe" and it was exactly what he has been doing for five years, convincing himself of the lies he started the minute he ran away. Losing Russell was enough, I didn't need or have time for any drama, and that's all this was, unnecessary drama.

I have simply heard the truth, I am honest of what I saw that night, I listened openly to what was presented to me by the police officers and investigators as evidence, as well as the testimonies of witnesses at the scene of the crime from which I continue to make a logical analysis of the events. The truth is today what it always has been, but now it's legal and documented.

No one WON here, everyone lost. Russell is not coming back. Remorse if forced. And rather than healing as a whole, everyone involved is healing in their own way. Some destructive and some productive.

"Then the wave of shock came again, and this one was worse. I screamed at the top of my lungs and punched the sky, "Another ONE, Really!?! ONE MORE! What else, who else!?! Why did you take him from me!" They, Josh and Rachel, stood quietly behind me as they witnessed my anger towards God's will; yet they didn't hear His answer. "I didn't do this to you, baby." It was as loud as the freight train that just ran me over. Then He wrapped Himself around me and reassured me again, that He only creates. So, then my attention was drawn to the ere feeling of darkness on the outside of the Holy. I knew that something wanted to take us down, crush families, and tear apart marriages; something wanted to smut out my light and break my spirit. I willed it away, in the name of Jesus Christ, another thing I'm sure made the Price couple very uncomfortable. Then prayed aloud over everyone involved, wrapping God's hands over everyone, bring forth healing and comfort for EVERYONE. I was determined to focus only on the Holy Spirit and His heavenly affect on Russell and myself. I opened myself up to God, and HONESTLY from this point on, HE took over my every action."

I am more compassionate as a result of this wreck. I did not know that my reaction from an event like this would be one of grace and compassion, but deep down out of my heart that God controls, it was. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 2:9) I am a weak human being, humbled by tragic events, and willing to admit that I do not know all the answers to life. None the less, I am a God-fearing woman who understands, through my trials and heartache from earlier life events, that love and its awesome power would be the only Healer in this event.

I had hope for healing, I had hope for forgiveness, I had hope for compassion, I had hope for grace, until Mr.Willoughby and the others crushed it with their filth. I trusted that God alone would make peace with this tragic set of circumstances and my participation is only that of a witness. NOT a deceitful bystander trying to manipulate the outcome using lies and denial. I did not want Mr. Willoughby to suffer, I did not his family to suffer, especially his children. I did not want brokenness to follow them where ever they went....because hurt people, hurt people and what kinda world would that be. Hurt people hurt people; it's trickle down affect. If we continue to allow this kind of dysfunction and heartless attitude to reign in our beings, I have little hope for the world. It's sad. I don't want to live in a world like that, nor have I ever wanted to live in a world like that...so even more now today than ever I just want peace.

As a result of this tragedy, I am able to put things in brighter perspective than ever before. Just when you think your day or life really sucks, it could be worse. I've lost close members of my family to death, been through parental divorce, and had my share of troubled relationships to hold people from getting to close, but there is always something worse....I could be a liar.

That is why today is so important for everyone. WE have given everyone a chance to see and witness that everyone, everyone can fall, fail, and redeemed themselves with one simple action...tell the truth. I hope people learn from these mistakes and change their thought process. Stop and really think about doing the RIGHT thing not matter what. I am a spiritual person who believes deeply in the power of love and I'm also a bit of a nerd who finds the data on positive psychology fascinating that it also proves that love is the answer. I believe in restoration, not only do several holy books speak about it, but there is evidence that proves that negativity, deceit, and stress are bad for the human body and spirit. IN some cases stress or chronic stress will end your life early; so why go through it when you already know the answer? In the end we will be met with love, love wins every time. So why not start now, just give in. Love wins.

He would come every day and at some point play an instrument; as a result of the wreck my house was quiet for some time, but not my heart. I still sing the songs of my late beloved. I hold them in a place Mr.Willoughby will never touch or harm, in my heart. Mr.Willoughby took him away from me on his terms, and after much grief, prayer, and counseling I have him back on sweet and soulful terms of my Healer and Creator. (And therefore, I did not share any personal memories about Russell or the children because he did not deserve to hear them.)

From the blog: DEDICATION
This is a dedication to my late husband, Russell Hays. A loving, bright, deep and passionate man who died to his flesh on January 1st 2009, but lives in spirit there on. A bold young boy with a heart of gold. He loved sports, books, learning, music, and God. He pushed himself mentally, emotionally, and physically up until his death. He loved his friends and family. He loved his children so much and did everything in his power to do anything for them. And he loved me, little ole me. Oh, how he loved me.

Russell loved God first and loathed his flesh second. He saw where his spirit could be and where his flesh tripped him from getting there. Such a challenge for most and for a passionate spirit like Russell it was so irritating. The one thing that God has shown me is that Russell is not suffering anymore. That phrase is used a lot when someone is suffering through an illness, like cancer for my Aunt Miia, and it makes sense. In Russell's tragic death, of course, I didn't see it for a while. It's so clear to me now. Like I've shared in post past, I see Russell now as the spirit his flesh never allowed him to be on earth. He is beautiful, fresh as a baby, and heavenly sounds surround him."

While preparing for this day one of Russell's songs has been playing in my head over and over again.

"Where's all your Love gone? Did you leave it when you left God? Has your light that burned bright gone dim? Your body of clay turned to sod?

Well, now's the time to make a dedication, to the life He's calling you and me to live. I've seen the God of Jacob do Mighty works in this heart of mine, and now it's your time to come, just give in.

Seems like the devil has got a grand scheme, to warp your ways and turn your head. But I think he forgets that Christ paid our debts, to bring us alive back from the dead.

Now's the time to make a dedication, to the life He's calling you and me to live. I've seen the God of Jacob do mighty works in this heart of mine, and now it's your time to come, just give in."




Let's cover a few things you seem to be looking over, because judging from Monday's interaction you're not the sharpest tool in the shed. Before we get started, some legal advice: don't talk to the victim in any case without your lawyer being present. It's not appropriate. Even though I'm glad I have evidence of your piss poor character, evidence you're a bad lair, and a great material for the Gregory Brothers to shift your bull into a catchy song, YOUR lawyer will not be so happy. You don't wanna waste all your hard earned dough; your children NEED IT!

#1. Don't put words in my mouth. I never made you out to be a monster, that is something you came up with all on your own. You ran from a burning father and husband, from witnesses helping you (sitting you down three different times because you tried to run), and from a fire truck that came five minutes after you crashed the car. FACT. I simply call you what you are, a coward.

#2. Unless you are ready to apologize, which means admitting you are wrong and showing remorse for you actions, do not approach the victim of this crime. Yes, my children and I are the victims in this case, Gwinnett County Court System informs me every month of this FACT. Apparently, they ALSO feel there is enough EVIDENCE to charge you with FOUR indictments of Vehicular Homicide and Neglect. FACT! This is not my fight, I already won that one...remember? It was about four years ago when your lawyers advised you to roll over. FACT! I'm not there to prove anything; I'm there to represent my children! I KNOW what happened and I don't lose sleep trying to convince you of what I believe...that's YOU.

#3. Note, when you are backed into a corner by the courts and your lawyer knows you are such a lost cause that he doesn't make time to show up for you, stop talking about yourself to me. No one cares about your suffering. Until you lose a child or have to tell your children they lost their parent...DO NOT TALK TO ME ABOUT SUFFERING. The only reason you suffer is because you are not treating your real affliction...you WERE driving the car that night, you ARE responsible for the death of Russell, and you LEFT his burning body in a ditch. FACT! 

#4. Choose your words wisely. I NEVER testified nor do I have a testimony. Hello genius, you haven't been to trial yet. I simply told the investigator what I saw and it wasn't flames. You have no clue of what I saw or how well I remember that night.

#5. Irrelevant. It is irrelevant if Russell asked you one time or many times to drive the car he told his friend looked like a "cheesy calendar car for boys in middle school", YOU were in the driver's seat leaving the driveway. So stop waving your hands around, your body language screams, ACTING, LAIR, etc. Everyone else heard you ask Russell in the basement at the bar. It was around 7:30 and I heard you ask four times, FACT! Only you and Josh Price say Russell asked; which is funny considering you and Josh contradict each other on which direction you turned out of the neighborhood OR just par for course for you fools.

#6. Which brings me to my next point, be objective and borrow a brain. Yes, I'm going to determine what I believe upon reviewing the evidence, not what I "want to believe", but objectively reading through the material. Like the depositions of your ex-wife Kim, Josh and Rachel Price, and the Garners. Your ex-wife was totally lying for you (I've highlighted the page, it's pretty funny) which is the reason why I don't believe her, (not because she cheated on you) but good job throwing her under the bus. Wonder what she would say today? Maybe you can confront her the next time you're in court together. The Price's are clueless and it's sad they believe you; they'd probably buy a car from you too. And then we come to the Garners, WOW. Yep, those two men are sorely disappointed in you, boy. It started when you refused to go back to the scene the first time, and a second time, and a third. AND you forgot your "four fire extinguishers", darn....you might have to run back and get them.

#7. Grow a pair and get yourself checked. For the love of everything that is good and holy, please do not whine to me about your ex-wife cheating on you...like you are "suffering here, there's a lot of suffering here". What did you think was going to happen, when you chose to run, lie, and cheat together. The DEATH of a loved one is nothing like a divorce; it is insulting for ANYONE to compare a divorce to the loss of a spouse or child (just for future reference). You had a choice to end your marriage, I DID NOT!!!!! SOOOOOOOOOO, CRY ME A RIVER!!!! Your wife (a liar) doesn't want to sleep with the coward and liar anymore... AND you're surprised!?!?! I don't know who would...Oh wait. Yes, I do and so did Russell. Weird.

#8. Be a MAN. Way to wait until my dad wasn't there to confront me, classy. Character, true character. Again, you're coward.

#9. Don't underestimate me. Don't for any reason think that I am naive as to how this all will play out in court. I UNDERSTAND completely how the evidence will be presented and what the jury needs to find you guilty on every count. I AM RESOLVED in the HUGE chance that because there was not one living soul who can testify they saw your hands on the wheel at the time of impact, you'll slide under the radar. So when you think this will be over because the courts are done with you, it won't be. This will haunt you for the rest of your life. There aren't enough conversations you can have with me or any one else to take that memory away from you, until you come clean. If you were innocent you wouldn't care what kind of monster I made you out to be; why does my opinion matter to you so much that you have to convince me of your innocence? Classic guilt move...get a counselor. Truth moves forward; Lairs spend their lives convincing themselves of what they want to be true. I'm settle in the truth, it's called peace. You might get there one day, we're all still praying for you. For real.

#10. Prepare or Plea. YOU WILL be held accountable for the other counts against you. You are a neglectful coward. FACT! So instead of wasting your sorry excuse for a story, your poor explanation for your "flash backs",  and your ridiculous hand gestures on someone who has nothing to do with Gwinnett County Court (that would be me). Go to your LAWYER and start your plea process.



We live everyday in Russell's honor. We live with the small hint of his whisper, "Don't relive it, LIVE."

Each "New Year's Day" it's gets harder to remember your life and honor your passing without remembering each detail of that day. I remember every minute, every second of the every last moment with you. The other edge is the shrug of your shoulders, Todd's flippant attitude towards the deadly drive, the sound of the car as it passed me, the look on Josh's face as he told me, and the pounding floor cracking my foot.

What kills me, I know they are remembering their version of what happened too. Every year. I don't fear their version, I don't fear forgetting, I don't fear a cold heart, and I don't fear death. What I fear, because I feared it for myself...is that they will never heal. I am past the fear of not healing, because I am. I continue to take the proper steps to full wellness. Step one, being stone cold honest, blunt, hard to swallow honest. With yourself and the choices of people we love.

It's not always pretty, but neither was Calvary.

Who are you to say I wouldn't forgive you, I wouldn't help you, I wouldn't hold you, I wouldn't kick your ass and drive you to a counselor to talk about your inner brat. The first mistake we make as human beings is that we doubt the power of love, trust, and faith; our first step to being a fool. After all this time, I know now I am not a fool. I believe in the power of love, I believe in the forgiveness of sin, I trust in ways of which I do not understand, and have faith that one day it will all make sense. And if it doesn't I had fun dancing and a pure heart is the blessing.

Year four, there is no date for the trial. I watch as the walls of the court room and the faces inside grow smaller and smaller around Todd. I don't hate Todd, I pity him. Well, I do get pissed off because this is such a waste of time, but whatever it's his dime. (Which will run out soon and be the tax payer dime, so just chew on that...NICE.) But seriously, it's a shame that because he is a fool *see above* he didn't trust me. Some where a long time ago someone didn't hug him. Fools breed fools. This is why I still pray for the healing of Josh, Rachel, Kim, and Todd. And I pray for their children. I always have, BECAUSE I knew that this would BREAK them. And for the Willoughby family, I hear it has. Pray for their children.

Because even though, year four has brought a detail to my daughter's life that makes me weep every time I think of it, I cannot imagine the heartache, distrust, and misunderstanding the Willoughby children will face in their lives ahead of them. Homes aren't built or kept on a foundation of lies.

 My baby had her daddy for four years. A solid loving rock. I will spend the rest of her years speaking the truth. A solid loving rock.


Sticks and Stones

I looked at my back yard, once buying the property and knew I needed a fire pit. We had many memories around the fire and so many left in ashes. I knew it would take me some time to complete it and I knew it would be somewhat of a emotional milestone for me. Embracing the moment, I dug in. I shifted the dirt around, dug a hole, and moved the stones. I could feel the different sizes of clay, rock, or clumps moving from mound to mound, forming something that was once unusable to now something of use.

It was emotional. It was hard work too. I was hot and sweaty. As I dug the memories of fire side chats came up, like flames from warm over-night embers. The calm state of peace that comes over me while doing yard work settled within me and the flames of my past grew even warmer. Finally, I admitted I missed you.

We weren't that far off. Not many people understood you, but I did to a degree. I didn't always agree with you and you were somewhat okay with those differences. Not many liked you, but I gave you a chance. Even after all of this I can still say, I'm glad I did. You reminded me of someone. Someone who, did not give me a chance. I can't say I whole heartily gave them one either being so much history between us. And now they are gone...as well.

So giving into trust, I gave you a chance. Went out on a limb for someone who was trying. I give you credit for at least trying. I understand your wanting for friendships and welcoming everyone into the fold. Always inviting and gathering friends together. For a time, I felt there was something sweet about it. Yet, in the back of my mind I wondered if you too would turn on me. I thought those feelings were trust issues. Even still I set boundaries, so that I would protect not only myself and family, but the relationship I thought ours "could" be...I thought down the road, it could be something deeper. First crops are never the hardiest; mature plants are nurtured.

And now I understand, it was not I who let her guard down or allowed you pass the boundary.

It was you, who never set any.

I understand you were doing the best you knew how to do at the time. I understand the confusion you must have felt. I understand that your nature or normal way of dealing with others was not what was needed at the time, but the only tools you had to work with. I understand and know your heartache, a friend was lost to another realm and another lost by choice mere miles away. I still pray for your heart, as silly as that sounds, but really, I do.

Dear One, wash over me in kindness and make my words clear. I lift up those who have hurt me and I pray I understand their choices and their fear. I pray that they will one day understand my decision to end the friendship. That one day they will quietly admit their wrong doings. Reveal to them the things you have opened my eyes to see, and show them where I too went wrong. Place on their hearts the tears I shed for them, for the events of the night, and the guilt I place on myself for not doing more to stop them. Press into them the deep tissues of tears from my heart and that they are not only for my beloved. Share with them the image that I so clearly saw and that my words or thought process are not rooted in bitterness, but one of truth. I beg of You, with heavy heart, share with them the pain I feel for the choices they have made that will haunt them. Guide me grace and send it to them; That they feel the hug of forgiveness I will never be able to physically give to them. Rest in them the understanding that my heart is not one of self-righteousness, but one that deeply, deeply longs for everyone to simply be nice to one another. Ultimately loving one another. Show them I've always wanted to just do the right thing, not just because I was told to do it, but because nothing else feels as good as a heart full of pure intentions. Ultimate love. I lift these intentions up to you, Lord, in Your Holy name of Love. Amen.

I finished the pit. I buried my anger within the rocks and the dirt. I prayed with every clump of dirt that the fires of our future would refine the jagged edges of my heart. With every flame melting away the scars of bitterness; refiners fire and mold the scars around the new heart of forgiveness. I saw a vision of new fires, with bright faces laughing and singing, and tending to the flames with as much care as I. Even though a fire was not built that night, I welcomed my guest with a heart of trust even with boundaries up. My son's smile was the first to see the flames and it was a start.


1953 days later....grow UPdate

Todd Willoughby is still a liar. His wife, Kim Willoughby, supports him. Which means she is also a liar, weak, or both...probably both. Josh Price is still equally as weak, I "assure" you. ;) Not to mention his wife Rachel Price...just sheep following sheep.

No growth in any of these human beings, which is sad. I'm not trying to be rude, unkind, or mean...it's simply the truth. And it might make you mad, or sick of hearing it, and maybe that will urge you to do something about it. I would have been just fine with one, "I'm sorry." That's growth.

But yet again, I hear an excuse for another day. I and others, who love Russell, are pushed aside for nothing. Just to wait on others, who don't want growth. They want the same ole, same ole...just drive it like you stole it, right!?! A motto you can't even claim anymore, because it speaks volumes of your immature character and how quickly you drove around the curve. Steal what you cannot grow yourself. Drive, because you have none, of any real purpose that is. Lie about who you are, cause you cannot stand to see what you are really made of...nothing worth speaking of to begin with.

My personally growth is a different story, one I keep to myself because it is all I have left. BUT I am doing pretty freaking fantastic. Considering, I've been through more crap, more heartache, more errands, more housework, more work, more counseling, more praying, more forgiving, more loving, than any of those people have ever done, probably in their lives! AND maybe that's WHY! (Different breeds at different speeds; grow UP!)

With this perspective I still have hope, that a child will make a decision to act like an adult and end this sham.


"20 Seconds of Courage!"

I yelled at a man over a parking lot. I was not angry. I was pleading with the only broken heart that can end the misery he started. There were hedges and 40 yard between us. I stood in a circle. This time he was just walking away.

The night before I watched "We Bought a Zoo" with my children. They had seen it before and Lilli wanted me to watch the movie. I couldn't make it through the first time, too many memories surfaced under my scars. They were excited about the movie and felt a connection with the two children characters, so I made myself watch. Walking into the kitchen at some points, squeezing the kitchen sink hoping that it will hold me up, remembering the pain, depression, and deep hole left in my heart after our loss, and then returning with a red face and popcorn. Remembering my children's first months without their Daddy, and trying to heal "my littles" with whatever strength I had left in me at the time. I MADE myself watch the movie, because it was important to my children.

I do not enjoy going to calendar calls. I do not even have any satisfaction from seeing the face of the driver or him seeing mine. My hands and voice shake so much so I want to scream. My heart beats so fast, it makes me mad it's not for something fun. I want to throw up. I MAKE myself attend these painful 10 minute to hour long sessions of hogwash, because my children deserve an answer from SOMEONE! When all this is said and done SOMEONE will answer the hard questions about EVERY detail of this drama, and I will be able to say I SHOWED up and did not RUN AWAY.

As hard as it is, it makes me stronger and the honesty leads to great unbelievable happiness in the depths of the heart of my family. I would not be able to "make our happy loud" if I ignored the painful truth of our past. Is your happy loud? Do your children hear you laughing without the worry of your heart crying out to be free? What do you want your life statement to be? As hard as it is, I want my babies to know I uphold the vows I promised to my late beloved to this day, for better or worse, sickness and health, love, honor, cherish, and through sitting in calendar calls and trials without his physical presence beside me IN HONOR of our WORD. For better or worse, it takes courage and I pray for it every single day I wake up. Courage to be honest throughout my days.

I honestly want your life statement to be something of worth and not failure. Running away is failure, bro. Running past your house and further from the scene"for help", because the thought of me still being at your house is failure, bro. Turning around takes courage. Yesterday, I saw the first cry of a lying heart. You MADE yourself turn around, good job.

"20 seconds of COURAGE!" He is still walking away. "20 SECONDS of COURAGE!" Forty yards from me, he turns his body to my direction. "Instead of 52 minutes of FAILURE! That's all I have to say to you, Bro. Peace Out."