Carrying Her Heart

I am dedicating this site to my beloved daughter Rachel whose earthly life ended on Sept. 17,2009.This is just a glimpse of the path I walk through this journey of grief.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Its ruff

Within hours of Rachels wreck my sweet friend Marilyn ,and her parents ,came to my house with food,hugs,prayers,advice and much love.They knew the pain I was in because they too had lost a child in an automobile accident. I breathed in every word she said and held it in my heart.There is a deep connection no matter the age of the person,when you know that they have had to feel that pain.To stand and look in the eyes of that person and see down into their very soul is something I do not take for granted. Every ones grief is different ,but I try to understand and learn from each and every person.One of the things that Marilyn shared with me was that some days you would feel so alone, even tho I was around people, I would feel like everyone had moved on .She said on those days she would pray for God to send her someone or even send her a dog.When she first told me that I honestly couldn't imagine how that felt. I wasn't there -YET. I do have times when I think I can't even take a breathe because I just feel like the wind has been knocked out of me,or my sadness is just so dark.Most days its my friends or my family that are always there to pull me out of it. Most times they don't even know what they did.Well today I understood what my sweet friend meant.I am excited about tomorrow ,Rachs birthday, but I am also very aware of the sadness welling up. Then my new friend came into our lives.He had been visiting a couple of times, and the girls just love him,so I went and asked the neighbors would they sell him since he seemed to be just what we all needed.This gracious woman said if he is helping those girls consider him yours.I gotta tell ya,when this dog looked into my eyes, I heard my sweet friends words"send me a dog". I didn't have to ask , he showed up.He looks at me as if he's saying:I got this.I know what to do. Today he did. tomorrow ...well for now I only do 1 day at a time.Oh yea his name is BO, and he loved being a cowboy ballerina.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On my knees

I went this afternoon to the church and brought a flower arrangement that my mom had put together for the front of our church in memory of Rach for her 19th birthday.I doubt I go to church Sunday,but I wanted these flowers there for her.After I set them down I turned to leave and then I just stopped,like I had hit a wall.I turned and went back to the front , to the altar and just fell to my knees. I closed my eyes and just knelt there.I thanked God for my beautiful Rachel.I thanked him for being with me through this devastation.I told him I was willing to do whatever it was he needed me to do ,and then I just stayed there, in the silence , in the dim lit sanctuary knowing that when I don't know what to pray for the Spirit will intercede .I honestly didn't know what to pray for.Last Thursday I needed to be at Rach's garden, this Thursday I was where I needed to be, on my knees.

Rach and her sweet friend Darline sang this in church one day,

There are days,
When I feel
The best of me Is ready to begin
Then they're days,
When I feel
I'm letting go,And soaring on the wind
But I've learned in laughter or in pain,
How to survive
I get on my knees
I get on my knees
there I am before the Love thatChanges me
See, I don't know how,But there's power
when I’m on my knees.

I can be
in a crowd
or by myself.
or almost anywhere,
when I feel, there's a need
to talk with God, he is Emmanuel,
when I close my eyes,
no darkness there
there's only light.
When I get on my knees
When I get on my knees
there I am before the Love that changes me
see I don't know how, but there's power in the blue sky
I don't know how but there's power and in the midnight
and I don't know how but there's power when I’m on my knees.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

i pizzle troublezz

I have been trying for the last month to get Rachels ipod to connect to my computer so I can download 3000 pics off of it. It ain't happening.This morning I called Apple and explained to "Josh" what was going on.I know people make up stories all the time to try to get help with an ipod they "found",so I wasn't sure how this would go.We were on the phone for almost an hour.Sweet guy,tried everything to help but it wouldn't do it.But he did say I could bring it to a store in Houston and they could put them on a flash drive for me.Perfect!!!!I just want everything that has her in it.I can give it my sister this weekend and it'll be done.So then I go and check my email and find this treasure=

Notes from Joshua, your support agent...I am keeping you and your family in my prayers. I know the loss of a child is very difficult. I apologize that we could not get issue resolved but I believe the apple store will accomplish that goal. Stay strong and know people are still praying for you. Joshua

WOW! it was a standard email and then this was posted at the bottom.How very sweet and unexpected.Its the little things like this that feed me.I am so thankful for each and every person that says they lift me up.
Little is much when God is in it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

get ready- get ready- get ready!

So this past Sunday I had a good mad going ,as we like to say,because I knew what was going to happen the next Sunday.It's Rachels' birthday.I wasn't mad at anyone,I just was having some very real emotions.I was also sad,anxious, any and all of the emotions you can name.I posted on my facebook that I wanted the week to go slow so God could get me ready,well once again I tried to put limits on God. One day later.....I'M READY!!!!!!!!!!!I don't know why at this point I even have a doubt,God has taken care of every part of everything that I have been through.Large or small He's been in it all.So we made our plans to release 20 balloons in her honor ,and then I found out some of Rachels friends were making the same plans so I said lets do it all together! A lot of her friends are coming ,or if there are too many we'll go to the church, and we are going to release some balloons.We will do the symbolic 20 for her birthday, but then I want to just see a sky full of balloons.We are also going to put her photo and info on the balloons so if someone finds one they can respond to us.I pray that this will be another opportunity for God to use me in a big way.It almost feels like Christmas in my heart,I am so excited.And I'm so thankful.I'm so thankful for such a loving and compassionate God.

"for your Father knows what you need before you ask him"mat.6:8
Hope to see you there, I know your with me in spirit.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I have several out of town family and friends that visit my blog so my dad suggested I share this article that was written about the wreck. I remember so clearly being on the phone with this lady and thinking " i can't even form a sentence" and then I realized, this is my chance.Tell this woman how special Rachel is to you.Tell her what you know! I was amazed at how much was written. Usually they just mention that there was a wreck and thats it.I'm so thankful to Beth for this=
from the Beaumont Enterprise
UPDATE: Mom came upon wreck that killed daughter
September 17, 2009Posted: September 17, 2009, 8:42 AM CDT Last updated: September 18, 2009, 2:39 PM CDT

Suzette Ratcliff had just left her home in Vidor at 8:15 a.m. Thursday when she came upon a wreck at the corner of Decker Road and FM 105.
It took her a moment to realize that her 19-year-old daughter Rachel was inside the green Pontiac Sunfire that had collided with an 18-wheeler.
Instantly, she said, the lyrics to a song she had just heard popped into her head.
Christians never die, the song proclaimed. They just move away.
Rachel Clark, a 2008 graduate of VidorHigh School, had just left home when an 18-wheeler struck her car on the driver’s side.
Ratcliff said her daughter was already dead by the time she arrived at the scene.
Memorial Funeral Home of Vidor will handle funeral arrangements.
“I’m just so very tired,” Ratcliff said in a phone interview Thursday night. “Words fail me. I was very blessed to have her for those few years.”
Clark, who had recently worked as a production assistant at KBMT, had recently started a job at Sertino’s Restaurant. She was planning to go back to school, her mother said, even though she wasn’t quite sure what to study.
“She just knew she was so much bigger than where she was,” Ratcliff said. “The things she wanted to do she couldn’t do in this area.”
Those who knew Clark said she was a talented singer and photographer.
She used her music and photography skills to produce Power Point presentations for her church.
“She had a gift for being able to capture emotions with her photography,” Ratcliff said.
Kristen Stuck attended VidorHigh School with Clark and said they were good friends.
She recalled fond memories of a church scavenger hunt and a trip to Orlando to sing at Disney World with their high school choir.
“She was amazing,” said Stuck, a 19-year-old Vidor resident. “She was goofy and wacky and she could always brighten your day.”
Stuck said she had just arrived at work at Walgreens in Vidor when she received word that her friend had died.
“I didn’t believe it at all,” she said. “I wanted proof more than anything else. I didn’t want to believe it was her.”
Stuck said that among her graduating class, even those who didn’t know her were affected by her death.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said. “She was the first loss in our class. It’s definitely a hard hit to all of us whether we knew her or not.”
Ratcliff said funeral arrangements will be made today.
Although Rachel is gone, Ratcliff said she takes comfort in the words of the song she heard just before her daughter passed away.
“The next verse says that something’s never lost ,if you know where it is,” she said. “And I know where she is. And I take a lot of comfort in that.”

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Sometimes when I can't sleep or when I'm just feeling sad, I go back and reread cards,messages that were sent to me or to Rachel.Just hearing about the way people saw her and the way her life impacted them brings me so much comfort.One of Rachels friends from school had wrote"you were a larger than life person I only hope to be half the person that you were...
This person only knew her from school, he didn't have the almost 20 years that I had ,but he saw in her what I had known since she was very little.I always knew that God was going to use her in a very special way .We used to call her "Lottie" when she was about 4 years old,maybe even younger,because she was already witnessing to people.I remember her quizzing my sister one Sunday"how come you didn't go to church"?That was just the way she was.I am trying to prepare for November 1.This birthday will be very hard.This time of year was always her favorite.Everything that has to do with oct. nov. dec., she loved every part of it.I am trying to see what she saw in all of it. To see only the good, the beauty in it all.It's funny how so many pieces of songs come to mind like Merle Haggards "If we make it through December". I know there will be such a void in all of it.I feel the need to over-do everything hoping that it will make it easier for the little girls, and I guess for me too.

If we make it through December

Everythings gonna be alright I know.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pressin on

I want to explain the previous post. I LOVE the fact that Rachs friends go and visit her "garden",I do.It comforts me greatly.What I meant by protecting her is keeping those who would go and spew hatred towards God or maybe even her.Some have chosen to do that online.I feel very sorry for them, but I want no part of that. Her garden is all I have left.I feel very protective of it,but I hope her friends and family understand that I don't feel I have to protect it from them.I know we are all just working it out. Have patience with me and my words.I don't seem to have an edit button these days.Thank you for coming and reading my blog.Thank you for remembering my Rach.I know more than 6 of you come and read this , how bout a shout out so I know you came by sometime.Joy does come in the morning!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Me too

Tonight at exactly 6:15, I was very sad.I had the overwhelming need to go to "Rachels' garden".It just seemed so urgent.Believe me when I say I know she's not there.Its just the place where her body is, the body I gave birth to.I feel very protective of that place. I almost wish it had a gate around it so I could lock it.Maybe I just feel that way because the reality is I couldn't protect her from what happened 5 weeks ago today.

John 11:35
me too

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

At the end of the road

At the end of the road
there is a place
where part of my heart sits still.
It sits and holds your love and grace,
Gods mercy I can feel.
At the end of the road
I never thought
that all your dreams would end.
That plans would change, life would stop
and healing would begin.
At the end of the road
I didn't know
I 'd have to say goodbye.
That everyday I'd see the place
where you first learned to fly.
At the end of the road
there is a choice,
The darkness or the light.
I choose the light, the Son of God
whose never left my side.
At the end of the road
I know there's life
there's life eternally.
And that is what i hope to see
and the end of the road
for me.
(the wreck happened at the end of our street, I have to see it every day.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One last smile

Well as I was attempting to get Rachel's cellphone to charge so I could download her pics on to my computer (which was not working) i finally realized she had a memory card in her phone,duh, .I was so excited to have FINALLY figured out how to get these photos.There were about 300 on there.Some videos of a concert she went to.Photos of her trip the weekend of 9-11 to go see her friend graduate from Navy boot camp. Lots of good pics of Rachel being her usual silly self.She took so many pictures of herself,which is so odd considering how she didn't like people looking at her.This photo was the very last one that was taken on her phone.It was taken on 9-16-09,the day before the wreck.She has on her work uniform,she was on her way to work.This is last smile.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Angel on my shoulder

Rachel in her angel costume with her brother cowboy Robin.

Tonight when we were getting ready for bed I saw Kaitlin out of the corner of my eye doing this motion on her shoulder with her hand.I thought she was doing some new dance or something crazy.When I would look at her she would stop.I turned real quick and said"What are you doing ,dancing"?She looked at me like I was crazy and said "no mam, I'm loving on Rachel".I knew I needed to choose my next words very carefully.I asked her if she was there now, and she shook her head yes.She said she does it all the time. I said "Who told you she was with you".She said "I already knew it,God told me". There was not a smirk or a goofy smile to be found on that childs face, it was very matter of fact, and I'm at a loss for words to make you understand all the feelings I felt. I just looked very hard into that little girls face and she stared just as hard back at me and then I just grabbed her and hugged her tiny little frame as hard as it would allow me to.Take it for whatever you want,in a way it comforts me.

I'm Free

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free. I'm following the path God chose for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call. I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day to laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way. I've now found peace at the end of day.
If my parting has left a void, then fill it with remembered joys.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss; Ah yes, these things I, too, will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow. Look for the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, I savored much; Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.
Perhaps my time seems all too brief. Don't lengthen your pain with undo grief.
Lift up your heart and peace to thee. God wanted me now. He set me Free.

I read this everyday sometimes several times a day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

On the 17th

Of all days for me to get the autopsy in the mail.It had to be today. I don't even know why I opened it.Did it really matter?It didn't change anything about the day,there was just this part of me that needed to know.I stopped by the mailbox on the way back from town, and there it was.I had it opened before I knew it.I tried to read it.There was way too much information in it.What I needed it to say was, she didn't suffer.Thats it.I don't care how much her liver weighed.Just tell me she felt nothing.I read what I needed to know closed the paper and almost had to crawl into the house.My legs couldn't support the burden I was carrying.I sat in the corner of my kitchen on the floor until I could stand.Why did I read it?It will be put away where I, nor my kids, will ever have to see it again.On this day,the 17th ,one month ago, my daughter was killed in a car wreck.I refuse to say accident.The impact instantly killed her.That is all I will ever say.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

F is for friends..

Thursday already again.This was a very long day,but it was a good one.My sweet friend from church set the tone for the day, she brought me a card that said everything I needed to hear.I finally was able to put some things away that had been out since the wreck.Cards, papers, a bag full of stuff from the funeral home, I just kept it on the kitchen table.It just seemed to hard to do something with it.Well today it all found a home.I cleaned the house,then I made a phone call that I didn't want to make,never in my life thought I would have to make."Hi I'm wondering where the autopsy report is on my daughter"?what a punch in the gut.I need that paper,not that it will change the outcome,I just need it to move on from that part of the day.I made the call. I'll get it very soon.
This evening 2 of Rachs very dear friends came to visit.We talked, we laughed,...I butchered the song I wrote on the guitar.
They were very polite about it.We looked at pictures, we shared stories,we shared tears.We all came away tho with the very same feeling.We're gonna be ok.I gave them each something that was Rach's that they had given to her.Something to remind them what God has shown me through all of this .That he can use ME ,imperfect as I am, to leave a GODPRINT on someones life.He used Rachel ,and he can use them too.I'm so glad they helped me see what I needed to see today,I'm so glad they listened when Jesus told them ,I've got something for you to do .Keep listening girls..

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thank you

I worked all morning on a new fall wreath for "Rachel's garden".That's what my little girls call the place where she is buried.I've had a hard time deciding what to refer to it as;the grave.the cemetery,her resting place.Nothing ever sounded right.I always had to stop and think about what I was going to say and I hated it.This is where she will be forever, what do I call it?Well the girls ,Kennedy(10)and Kaitlin(6)solved that for me.Rachel's garden it is.So,after I worked on the wreath ,I went to my mom's house to get more flowers to finish it and then we brought it to the cemetery.I noticed before I ever got out of the car that someone had put flowers on the foot of her grave.This beautiful bouquet of flowers was the first thing my eyes went too. At first the thought of someone being here without me was unsettling,I just feel very protective ,even more so now.But that quickly faded when I remembered how many were at visitation and the funeral.Of course people will come see her.Maybe I just thought no one else would ever give her another thought.Maybe I just don't know what I'm supposed to feel.I don't think there is a right or a wrong way to feel,its just important to feel it. Thank you kind person for loving my Rach.Thank you for the flowers.Thank you for taking the time to go to Rachels garden.Thank you for reading this blog,I don't feel so alone.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One last laugh

Last night I was up very late.I was not sad , I just needed to see pictures of Rach.I read post her friends had made on facebook.They all remember her the same way,that beautiful hair,beautiful skin,beautiful eyes and her laugh.Everyone talks about how they laughed with her.I can't tell you how many times in my mind I've seen her throw her head back and laugh.I so wanted to hear it just one more time.Well last night God gave me that chance.One of Rachels dear friends Brittini was online last night feeling the same feelings I was feeling.We found each other and reminded each other of how very special knowing Rachel is.She sent me this video that Rach had sent her.We were being our usual silly selves.This isn't about my bad dancing ,in the video you can hear Rachel laugh.Her laughter is the only thing you can really hear in the video. I get to hear my precious Rachel laugh ...thank you Brittni..
its towards the end when you can hear her.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The dream

It's very odd to me how sometimes I can think about Rachel or talk about Rachel and it doesn't afffect me,and then I can be doing the very same thing with someone else and I'm a mess.It's usually with people that didn't really know her or with someone who really understands my loss .I guess to look at someone that knows that pain , to see my pain on someone elses face is just too much. The hardest thing for me is to see Kennedy's(my 10 year old) grief.Tonight was especially hard.She told me that she had a dream last night that we were in outerspace and we were standing on a star.Someone else was there but she didn't know who they were.They gave her a fruit roll up.On the roll up it said"if you eat this you will die ,and see Rachel." She said she ate it but she didn't die.I fumbled for words, some sort of reassurance for her that she was just missing Rach and she stayed on her mind while she was sleeping. I asked if she was praying before she went to bed and she said she prayed at least 2 times a day.Later at bedtime I heard Kennedy say ,as she always does,"goodnight Rachel".but this time she could barely talk she was so emotional.I ran to her side to try again to comfort her.She just wants to see her one more time was all she could say.I told her the next time we see her we will see her forever. I know her little mind and heart does not understand.Seeing my pain on my childs face is very hard.I prayed for her so hard , so loud ,over her sobbing.(In our weakness ,He is strong.)
I wonder if I would have eaten the fruit roll up if it were my dream?Rachels boy/friend told me he felt closer to her now than before.He said its like shes ALWAYS with him.I want that feeling for my child.Sweet dreams tonight Kennedy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I went to Rachels facebook and found where she had posted this song I had wrote and sent to her.Like I said before everything has such a different meaning now.I wrote this in about 15 minutes it just had to get out of me.It was almost a month to the day that I sent it to her.When you read the song you'll understand what I mean. I didn't know til later how she felt about it.

"So my mom went to some substitue teacher workshop today.Apparently it was mind numbing.And while she was there, she wrote this song and just emailed it to me.I cried forever.Not even because of the song, but just what she wrote to me and the realization I had.For the longest time I could never understand different things about my mom and why she did certain things. But 20 years later, I get it.So I just thought I'd share it.Ps She needs an ending though, as you can see lolAnd a title."
so while i was in the workshop i thought i was gonna kill someone so i decided to write a song. as you will see your not the only one who wonders what couldve been.

been so long since I thought about the things I'd like to do.
Ive given up on bein me,too busy pleasin you.
i need to find a way to see the dreams I had come true
.Even if it isnt me,theres something I can do.

(chorus)Give my dreams away
Ive got to let them go,go and find somone
whose heart can let them grow.
Give my dreams away
I'm too busy for them now.
Time has gone its been too long they wouldnt know me anyhow.

What happened to the little girl who had so many plans.
I closed my eyes and realized what slipped right through my hands.
This little girl has turned into a woman lost in time.
So take my dreams and give them wings
I want to see them fly.

Give my dreams away,
I've got to let them go, go and find someone
whose heart can let them grow.
Give my dreams away .
I'm too busy for them now.
Time has gone its been too long they wouldn't know me anyhow.

(was this for me or for her
we donated her heart valves and the paracardium.)
I love the part where Rach says I GET IT>isn't that all any mom wants.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Heavenly Day

Today was such a wonderful day.I know that next thursday i might slip back into deep sorrow,but for today and all the joy that I had in it I am truly thankful.Rachel and I shared this song together many times.She enjoyed it more when her aunt played it on the guitar and we pretended that we sang it better than the woman singin it. Music was Rachel's escape and comfort. I guess its only fitting that now it does the same for me.I use it to soothe ,to remember, and to comfort.Before we left the night of visitation I stood by her and sang this song with her one last time.In case you were wondering no I didn't forget -3weeks today,this Heavenly day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Deep Impact

I found this paper Rachel had written about me while she was in high school.I remember the day she left it in my room for me to find and read.It reads so differently to me now.It helps me to let go of all the things that satan wants me to dwell on. The joy robbers .Theres too much good to remember.This paper that I had forgotten about ,God placed in my hands today.This posting is not to be boastful ,it is only to show how God is still working in my life to help me find comfort and peace. If you click on the paper, it should make it easier to read.Notice how many times she says"my mom". Not my mother , my mom.I was her mom,and I am so thankful.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Beautiful One

I wrote this song(i guess thats what you call it) today.In my mind its a real slow country song.Like maybe June Carter singing with some awesome harmony.I'm still workin on it.Theres just so much inside of me I need to get out.Thanks for listening...

oh beautiful one
who came from my dreams
you didnt stay long
you were needed its seems.
youve gone to a place
where no pain is known
angel gather your wings
he's calling you home.

oh beautiful one
forever youll be.
your heart will live on
i know your with me.
youve gone to a place
where no pain is known.
angel gather your wings
he's calling you home.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

God is in the details

I've been trying to remember all of the things that happened before ,during,and after the wreck.The week prior ,it was almost like God had a checklist of things for me so saying goodbye would not be as hard.I was given a song that said"Christians never die,they just move away to a land of perfect peace one never ending day.In the presence of Jesus take comfort in this -somethings never lost when you know where it is."I thought it was powerful but had no idea of its true power.A couple of days later I watched a movie that had the E E Cummings poem "I carry your heart" in it.I couldn't get either of them out of my head.The next week I had such an urgency to share them with Rachel.In the car I played just the chorus of the song for her, told her I had never heard it put like that before , we talked about who could sing it. The same week I pulled the poem up on my computer and had her read it.She said she knew that poem and she loved it. That Thursday she was leaving to go to work.I made some peanut butter toast and then I jumped up to go to a garage sale down the street.There was an urgency in that too.Didn't fix my hair.Didn't brush my teeth 'just go -just go" is all I heard. When I got to the end of my street I saw people looking towards a fire truck.I remember saying out loud"not my baby" over and over.Then screaming it when I saw the car. The song .The poem.They both came in my head immediately as soon as I came upon the wreck.I knew as soon as I saw the car,she was gone.My whole body ached.I could feel my heart breaking.I felt a pull as if part of me was trying to go with her. Its was so intense,and so hard to put into words.I knew before they ever told me she was gone.I never saw her body leave the car. All I ever saw was her car.They said it was instantaneous.No suffering.When she was born it was so quiet and so quick, I had to ask them to make her cry.She left this world the same way she came in it. I find some peace in that.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

forever beautiful

For some reason this week was harder.Going to Rachels grave feels different every time.I find myself speaking out loud ,not necessarily to Rachel, just out loud.Its so peaceful there.But since I've never felt any of these feelings before, they feel so foreign.It's almost like I'm living someone elses life.But then I stand there and look at the mound of dirt and I know this is now my life.I will do this for the rest of my life.I wonder how long I will continue to count her death in weeks. When will I go to months.When will Thursdays not make me sick at my stomach.When will I not relate everything- EVERYTHING to her.Its like I have this need to make her part of everything I do.I guess because she was a part of everything.I know her little sisters are watching everything I do,so I try to make things look easier than they are.Its when I am alone that it is hard.It's when I'm alone that I am sad.Only because that is usually when it was just Rachel and I ,either texting, or watching tv or running errands.Its been two weeks since I told my best friend goodbye. Events of the day flood my mind. Forever beautiful is how a friend described her. Forever beautiful she will be.