When Ky's son Jacob was brutally murdered at age 19, she was left to pick up the pieces and figure out how to carry on with her husband and her surviving son, Jacob's twin brother.
The audio of the people I interview is unedited to preserve the integrity of their stories. Each story unfolds as a natural conversation, often in chronological order beginning with the backstory. To skip the backstory in this episode, skip ahead to 30:14.
Guest: Ky Crockett
Intro / Outro: Stronger by Les Thomas (Check him out on YouTube and Instagram!) Used with permission.
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when life makes you question everything you thought you knew? No. And you are forced to retreat or rise up. You are listening to the suddenly stronger podcast with your host. Rachel. Hey, everyone, On today's episode of suddenly Stronger, I am here with my cousin Chi Chi. Thank you for being here. Thank you for having me. So we're going to dig right into this one, because this is this is gonna be a heavy one. Um, high five years ago. Give give up a brief overview of what happened to you and your family on October 29th
of 2014. I have twin boys. The youngest twin, Jacob was brutally stabbed to death in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Um, they did catch the man that did this. And he is in prison serving a life sentence, no possibility of parole, and thus be game began our journey as a mom without her son without her twin son.
So your boy's Jesse and Jacob? How old held was was Jacob when this happened.
He was 19 years old, just the beginning of his life, becoming a man and figuring out how to live his life.
And he was in college right?
He was. He was attending Oklahoma State University in still water.
So before we dig into that, I wanna go back to what is now 24 years ago. Tell me about the boys.
Well, my husband, I been We've been married 30 years now, and, um, we met on a blind date and 10 months to the day after a blind date, we married. And we just love babies, love Children want tohave a lot. But I was a little bit older. I was 31 we got married and he was 29. And so we tried right away to start a family and found out three doctors that I wasn't able to conceive. And we went through fertility testing for two years and right out of money. And I couldn't do it anymore. And I said, Well will adopt. We'll adopt. God will provide that He doesn't want me to have Children in my womb. I'm Baron. That's OK. God will well give us the desire of our hearts which was toe have Children. And I prayed to God often just one. We just want 11 will do. We will be so grateful for one child and I won't get greedy. I'll just take one. And after we made the decision to adopt two months later, my doctor called me because we had let him know. You know, if you find a young woman that doesn't want her baby, we'll take the baby will adopt And he called me and I said, Doc, I said, Do you have good news? And he said, I've got good news He said they're twin boys. There were premature. They've got health problems and and, um, through me, contacting the biological grand parent who had custody of the boys. There are nine other couples wanting to adopt the boys, and I told the grandmother I said, But they're they're mine. I know that I know that their mind. And she said, We're interviewing nine other couples. I said, it doesn't matter their mind. I know they are. And two years later, we've legally adopted or boys
Did you get to see them and and hold them at the time that you were interviewing? Or did that come later?
No, I got I went that night that I called. Ben was out of town and I went to, uh, her house who only live five minutes from where I lived. She opened the door, She hand me one of the boys and she held on to the other. And we talked for hours and, um, she a Christian like I am and we just talked. We prayed I was in all of these beautiful baby boys and they were so tiny, there's so little cause they were three months premature, but, um, I said their mind. I
go through all the interviewing you
want, but they're mine, they're mine. And, uh, and God in his goodness and his mercy and his love gave us these boys the honor of being their parents and raising them. And, um, it was a wild ride.
Decide the least. I still remember the first time that you came over to You're an uncle's house, my grandparent's house. And one of the boys was hooked up. Thio heart monitor was it? And he was hooked up to a machine. But I was just I hadn't seen twins very much, and I was just mesmerized. We
were way were my whole family and many, many people throughout the country were praying for Ben and I to adopt a have Children and through the prayers of faithful prayer warriors. Just it's just an honor to be chosen by God to raise the boy, too, had no chance with the biological mom and dad who were very, very young, uh, to give them a chance at life and give them a good life. And we did
so So you had them, he said that they were legally adopted when they were, too,
but we took them of the grand parents. I talked to them and I said, I can't can't just see him on weekends. I don't want to do that. I want them to bond with us. And while this is going through the court system of terminating print arrive, which could take a long time, which it did so I said, I want a full time And she agreed. They both agreed the grand parents, and she said there'll be a chance that they'll be taken from you if if the parental rights are terminated and I said, God's in control, you worry about that. All I want to do is have my baby with me, and so that began our journey and they were four months old Molly Broadman. We didn't even have a crib. We had a guest room with a twin mattress. We took apart the bad, laid the mattress on the floor and that was their bed. And until we got and then it was like, Okay,
car seats, care time, Thio. And we're not prepared. And but, uh, through many people that donated clothes
and diapers and formula of the grandparents bought the cribs and my mom and dad bought car seats and we were good to go. And Mom said all they need is love that zit feed him and they were so tiny and in no time at all they were chubby
little boy because Mom and I made
homemade. Um, we never bought baby food. It was all processed by us. It was all fresh in the ate and ate and ate and chubby. And you'd never know they were just £3 when they were born. So it was a while they ate. And then they grew. They grew and grew and grew. Yes, and I'm there. Jesse is now six foot, £485. And so when my mom would get in between
for 11 and the board like that. And she was sandwiched in between. Mom, you're so sure now before Jacob died, I would
get in between my babies, my boys, and it was like, Oh, my gosh. Oh, my
mom. My mom. But if I told him, do something.
That Mama was mad. Yeah. Yeah,
I think they want to. They did. They did. Oh, my goodness. So Okay, so they graduated from Stillwater High School, and they decided to stay. Was that that was because they wanted to stay close to home. Or did they just want to stay together
together? And they went to Stillwater High School for the new people. And they were social people, especially Jacob. They made friends. They, um, all through high school, they start out at Chandler High School, and they would They would bring kids home, spend the weekend, Mom, they don't have anything. They need shoes. They need clothes. They have nothing. And we have everything. So off we went toe Wal Mart and spent money and fed, um, in the aid. And, um, they were always bringing kids home to us that didn't have a two parent home that didn't have a mom and dad that loved him. A lot of them with their grand parents or Dad's in prison. Mom is working 10 jobs and never in. And here they come to our house and and they see the house we lived in and the boys would love. They're taking care of them clothes in the closet and I cook form and the kids have they brought home with him, Didn't know about that life, didn't know and one of the kids they brought home, Witham said, uh, is it okay? Can I have cannot eat a banana? We had bananas on the counter, and Ben Reply would always be the same, He said. This is God's food. He provided the job for us by the food. Don't ask your family. You're staying here over the weekend. Clean up after yourself. He would always give him rules of the house, and here they are. You don't obey it. You're not welcome back. But this food is God's food, have added. And then I'd run out to what? Martin Good, the grocery
store. $300 Corbin and get more bananas and eggs, bacon and everything
else. But they were they? They were extraordinary in their compassion for those in need. I learned so much from these boys that to reach out to give and and if it was just a smile, if it was just a high five in the hallway when when Jacob died and at the funeral the cards that the kids wrote that they came to the funeral,
there were so many of them said. Know what? Jacob was always the one that would come by When I was
sitting there at the lunch table alone, one wrote. It was my first day. I transferred from out of state. First day I knew no one. No one was sitting with me. No one was speaking. And here comes this kid dressed in black, and he has a gauge in his
ear, sits down and and he starts talking and he said this. He brightened my world. He will never know what that meant
and which card after card after card that said, Yeah, those prakit boys, they were all over still water after school. They're always bringing some straight in. It was incredible in in the 19 years what he did to show compassion,
so the few times that I was around them because we didn't. We didn't see. I didn't see the boys a lot. They're pretty quiet, Yes, but it sounds like they they still stepped out of that.
They did. And And Jesse is shyer than Jacob. Jacob pet like the girls and all the girls went around him and and Jesse was shyer. They were in their element at school with kids their own age that they could relate to. They were bullied in the high other high school they went to. We had an emergency transfer to go to Stillwater because things were, as everyone knows, the bowling problem is still relevant and end to save my boy. We had an emergency transfer to Stillwater and and the first day they were walking in the hallway together, like they always work together and a jock walk walking by and both of them said to each other Ah, oh, here it comes because they were bullied in the other school and that jaw walked up and said, Are you new new here? Yeah, it's her first day, which name Jesse and Jacob Crockett. And he said, Welcome the school
high five and you walk by and the boy looked at each other and said, I love this school. Oh, I love this school. And so from that day
on, they felt accepted. They felt loved, and they blossomed. The early did they blossomed.
So you made reference to this a minute ago, and it comes into play a little bit later. So you said he was wearing black. Had Gage had gauges in his ears when and they both they both dressed like that. Yes, they did. When did that start? When
they were bullied in in the other high school that they attended, they tried to fit in and they weren't. They didn't do athletic, which in a smaller school, that's it. That's the thing. That's the thing. That's what makes you popular. And they tried to fit in, and they never did. And so at that point they decided, You know what? We're just undressed. The
opposite will do the opposite of these jobs that were walking around. And trust me, I'm not
saying that all jocks are that way. I'm not. I know a great many people that have played athletic all of their lives, and they're good people. That's not what I'm talking about. In our experience, it was not good. And they decided I'll do the opposite. Maybe the attention away from me cause they'll know I'm not gonna be a jock. And I don't know how they thought of this, but they it was dark. It was rock and roll. It was shock factor and going through the teenage years with all that stuff going on in their bodies. And they just ran with it. And it, I don't know, the bowling changed who they were. And sometimes not for the better, because they just thought less of people. They
said, Mom, how could how could someone put my head in the toilet? Oh, my gosh. How can they spit in my mouth? How can they call me names? They don't
know me. They don't know me. You know, I said, Well, I don't know. Some people are kind, and, uh, that's why we had them transfer. But they struggled. They struggled with that. And I think even to this day, Jessie finds himself, um, looking back sometimes and going, Why're people mean? Well, some people are, but some people are great. Aren't they just he said. Yes, they are. So he stroke was That leaves its mark. That leaves its mark. Whether your abuse is a child abusive in any way, it leaves its mark. And that certainly left its mark and lead them to make some of the decisions that they made, which weren't all good.
What? What are some of the changes that you noticed in them? And how did you handle that? Well,
I mean, we got the emergency transfer when we knew when I saw the cuts on Jessie's arm and they always wore long sleeves and I went, Roll up your sleeves, son. And he did. And they're cut marks. So he was cutting emotional cutting. And so, um, did you panic? Are so afraid. I was. I was out of my league. I was I didn't know what to do. I tried to talk to them. Um, tell him how much I loved him the greatest kids ever. But that wasn't enough that that that that wasn't enough. And so we didn't get counseling. We got him out of that situation at that school. And things improved tremendously
when that happened. Did did he say that that it was because of that situation Are you just
knew I I knew that they were bullied, but I did not know to degree until after Jacob died until it all came out. I knew it was bad. I knew it was very, very bad enough that we've gone to the principal now in a smaller school. A lot of those teachers or coaches. And given that the boys didn't play the sport, they were ignored by the teachers for the most part, because they were the coaches. And we went to the principal Ben did and said, We've got a bowling problem. Something bad is gonna happen in this school, something bad. We need you to get it corrected. And we got no help, no support from the principal. And at that point, we knew something bad is gonna happen. And we've got to get them out of this school, which we did. And that changed the course of of the bowling that changed the direction of their life. I feel like and and, uh, we thought many times to go back to the principal and go Wow. Really, But we got no support. So that's why we transfer them and, um,
by this time they're already wearing black being who they are, who they are. How do you think about that When they start well, wearing all black, all black and one time, Um, the board's got
out of school at, like, three, and and I worked about two miles from the high school, and so they'd run around. They meet me in my office for 45. When I got off from one time, Jacob walked in and his hair was in this mohawk, and
it was like it looked like, 10 feet high. And I went, Oh, my gosh. And my partner that I was working when she went. Oh, my gosh. Jacob, you look so cool. And I was like, go to the bathroom and get that stuff out of your hair. Looks normal. I mean, don't you like it, Mom? But it it was just so out there, and they were, And it was for shock factor for mom. I know they did it because Amanda was like, Oh, my God, it worked. And it worked. I
was like, Oh, my gosh, Don't let your dad see that, but But I could have lightened up So I looked back. Kind of lighten up on stuff.
It's that he's a kid. He he's the hairs in the Mohawk. Who cares? But still, Still, when you're when you're conservative in the Midwest, it's a little It's just Yeah. Oh, honey, you've
got to stop that now. And, uh So?
So they went that route together?
They, of course, everything together
transferred schools? Yeah. Thrive, Dried, graduated, graduated. So when they graduated, did they Did they know they wanted to stay together? School together? Yeah, not even a question. Right? Because when you
on Lee had I mean, we only adopted the too, because I was 38 at the time that we adopted and and I thought we'd want to adopt another, and and we checked into it and they said, because you already have to and because of your age, they're younger couples in there say twenties, huh? That have no Children. And if you want an older child, I said no. I don't want no the trial. I want baby. And so we had her hands full. We realized I got We got her hands full with these two, but they just did. They did everything together. They did. They just literally did everything together. They were even be, like 15. And they crawl into the other one's bed and they talk about I walked by their door and I hear him talking. They're talking about the events of the day. They were inseparable. They were crazy about each other. And not that they didn't fight. They did. Yeah, because siblings do. But, um, they were fiercely loyal to each other to a fault. May I not? Not having any other Children. I didn't know anything but having the twins, and they just they were incredible to watch. They were they just I always knew. They even tease and said, We're
gonna marry two
girls that note that you're our best friends, and then we're going to get married them, and we're gonna live right next door to each other so they could see their future. And it was together living next door and not help the women
that that had, you know, the boys were
just inseparable. It was amazing. It was a gift. A watch, um, through the growing up. And, uh, but they never they never It was working. Being still water would goto Oh, issue you want to go? No, Mom, why would we want to? And and they depended on each other for there. Uh, bad time. They they clung to each other when things got hard or rough and they depended on each other where they felt possibly they couldn't come to Ben and I about things they had each other and that was bodily important to them meant everything to them.
What were their favorite things to do together?
Everything. They got into music, they loved me. And Jesse still does. He's in a little band. He wouldn't want me to say Little band,
He's in a band that's a good band is really But,
oh, he would print if he heard me. But music was their outlet. You understand if you're going through something. Music was their outlet, and it led to a meeting. Different people. They go into pawnshops and and see what equipment they could get. Jacob at one point pawned his guitar. He needed some money, and he pawned his guitar. And after Jacob died, the pond owner brought the guitar toothy viewing at the funeral home. And there's that the guitar, by his coffin. Everyone loved the boys because they were so energetic. They were full of compassion and life. And and, uh, everyone just loved a
good example of Don't judge a book by its cover, right? Right. Because of the black. Yes, and could be intimidating. Very very. Don't take the time to get to know them,
right. And that's what they wanted. Maybe I don't know, just to be
Maybe that was their defense you're dealing with. So it's
exactly right no one's gonna bother me because I look bad. Yeah, I looked, you know, with the gauges and the earrings. And then they got tattoos. And in the black, I think they felt like no one's gonna mess with me, Mom. And right before Jacob died, about I'd say a couple of weeks, you're going into a convenience store and he was going in the older man with coming out. He said, You punk, something like that. And Jacob is that you don't even know me. You're judging from this. He said, I really am I a nice guy in the older gentleman said, You're nothing. You're nothing
the random while and Beneteau or Jacob told Ben that. And he said I stood up to him. Dad, I didn't cost. I didn't. I just stood up to him and say, You can't judge me by that
And we told
the boys, You know, when you dress like that, when you look like that, people will judge people well and you've got to expect that and those of us around you that know you and they love you. It's just a costume. It just it's it's nothing. It doesn't have anything to do what's in your heart both. You decide to be like this the rest of your life. It's gonna be hard life for you. Yeah, it will, because people judge and I don't blame people for judge because they look at that and they go, Oh, my gosh,
it's intimidating. It is very They had to choose between having that layer of protection and looking that way or dealing with is the bullying in And they were scarred from that.
They were, They were.
So when they started college, were they roommates? They
were. We got him a new apartment and part of the least was no roommates. It just you two. Um, Jacob worked at the movie theater and still water. And Jesse was at working at Wal Mart. And so they worked in two different places. And, um, they weren't college material to say the least. They didn't. They didn't. Um, music was important to them in college, wasn't it? Just wasn't. And we didn't see it in time and thus began. They're not real good experience at college. They gave up. They just told us they were doing the work. They weren't. We got a mid semester grade. If if if
oh, my gosh. Semester. I was enrolled in college. I didn't go to college. I mean, I guess
I wasn't surprised. So we were like, OK, we gotta rethink this. We met with them at a restaurant with still water and said, Finish out the semester and then college is a way for you. Fine. We're not gonna waste our money then and get a full time job. Those are your choices.
What do they care about what meeting college music that was that did unfriend. So and And because
of that, the then being premature, Jacob was a DHD severely and they were immature. They were behind emotionally, maybe 2 to 3 years. Okay? Because of the pre them being born three months early. And so they were almost like little boys live. Trying to live is a 19 year old. I think it was very difficult for him, and we thought that they could rise to the challenge we wanted them to. And it didn't take us long to realize. Know it. It wasn't working. And now what are we going to do with the boy? What were we going to do with them and so well in the nettle? Came to an end anyway. But, uh
So how so? They were living together a TTE the time. And so did they have another roommate or
they weren't supposed to? They did. The man that killed Jacob with the roommate.
Okay, so he was living
with them. He waas his brother and some others they took,
you know, they just were staying there and
not contributing. But the boys, My Justin Jacob, they wanted to help them out. They had a horrible home life. Terrible. And so they wanted to help him out. They were living with them, and it was too many people in one small small space and guys that that which aren't very tidy. Anyway, one time I came there, Ana
went okay. And I'm a neat
freak, and I'm very organized and went okay.
I can't even I can't even go there. You're on.
You're on your own thing. And and so I think they were. They were in crisis. They were.
Did you recognize that at the time, Or did you just think that they were struggling? I were just They were
struggling. I didn't know. I didn't want to admit that they were in crisis. I I didn't I didn't. I just I didn't want to see what was. There is a mom. I just didn't and and then it was too late.
So how did you find out?
I was at work and I had I had my cell phone always buy me on silent. And I saw that Jesse would call and I'm not or is answered from my boy because something was wrong.
And this is how long after they had started college.
They started in in August 3
minutes, just three months after they had started calling, okay? And I got a
call, and it was Jesse and I picked up the phone. I had someone that I was helping that was in front of me and and, uh and he crying, he screaming, I can't understand them. I know it's bad. Something's happened and I God Jacob out of it. I got stabbing and that's all like I couldn't understand. He's he's just screaming, He's crying. And so I gathered. I said, I'll be right there and I was about 10 minutes way.
What was your immediate response? Like, Do you remember what you what? You thought what you felt in that moment when he's kind of just
did. I knew that it was. I knew it was bad. I knew it was bad, and I gathered up all my stuff, my purse, my water model, all my personal items that I had at my desk. I said, I've got to get everything because I'm not coming back here. Uh, it's something just inside told me. And so I'm gathering up folders. I'm just throwing him in a bag in the gentleman I was working with, said Chi, What's wrong? And I said something's wrong with my boys and he said, What is that? I go, I don't know I don't know and I gather so there was no trace of me left. It was just crazy, but wow. But so I I got in my car and I call my best friend my sister Carrie. And I said, There's something wrong. I'm on the way. The apartment Jake have been stabbed from what I can understand from Jesse, and she said, It's all right. I mean, he's all right And I said, At that moment I said, No, he's already gone. He's up in heaven. He gone care said, You're talking crazy as that No, no, Mama knows, and he's gone and I'm driving there And she said, Stay on the phone with me. Have you talked to Ban? I said, No, no, I haven't. And I'm not gonna call them right now.
So between the time you left work and as you were talking to her, you just felt like he was
gone. It's gone. It's gone. And so,
um, are you crying at this point or your stoic?
Yeah, I'm I'm just talking. I am just talking. And so, um, as I approached the apartment, the crime scene tape is up. The police were there allover Ah, helicopters up above from the news station, and Jesse is crumpled in a ball, laying on the curb, half on the curb, half in the grass, in the fetal position. And my, I said, Well, to my sister, I said, The crime scene tape, that yellow tape that you see on TV. It's up in the police are here, though. I was right and she said, No, no, he could you know, maybe the you already at the hospital. It's a crime scene. He got stabbed. No, I said, I'm getting out of the car and I will call you back. So I got out of the car and a man walked up in a suit. He ended up to be the chief of police, and he said, Are you Kai Crockett? I said, yes. Are you Jacob? Mom? And I said, Yeah, he said, I'm sorry. Heat. He didn't survive. I said, Okay, well, I said, I need to go up and say bye to me in that apartment. Yes, ma'am, like that. I just I just need to go up and I'll say goodbye. I didn't get a chance to I didn't get a chance and said No, ma'am, you can't go up there. That's a crime scene. I said, That's okay. So I started walking towards the apartment and he grabbed my arm and I said, You need to let go of me. I got
really, really ready Stop in a moment. Hadn't even talked to Jesse Owens Point
No. And he grabbed my arm again and he squeezed it really tied. So it hurt. So woke me up, which is what he would do. And I he said, You can't go up there. You can. It's a crime scene and you will not want to see your son like this. Not like this. And I said, Well, he's been on his way said, I've already talked to him. He's on the way from Oklahoma City and I said, I've got to take care of my son. Is that okay? I said, What is that helicopter up there? I keep on hearing it, hearing it, and there are photographers. I'm looking and they're taking my picture with the police with the chief. And so Chief gets a couple of the police officers to bring me over to Jesse the shield us from the photographers taking our picture. So I get down on the ground and Jesse looks at me and it suggests and he said, Mama, France or not, No, no, Son said. He's gone and I said, Yeah is. And he wept and wept and wept and cursed. God, he did. That's okay, That's okay. God understands that. And we cried and rocked. I don't know how long how long it was, I don't know. And we waited for band Become. Now, about three hours before Jacob was killed, Jesse had to go to Oakland City for orthodontist appointment to get braces. Titan Jacob got his braces off a month before that and just said, Brother, come, come with me to the orthodontist. I don't want to go by myself, Jacobs that already have mine off. And I'm
not going back to that place. I've been doing that for two years, you know, and just said, You need to come with me. I
don't want they never want to be alone. Jesse didn't want to be alone, and he said, It's all the way in Oakland City. Come with me, brother. And they fought badly because Jesse wanted him to go. And Jacob said no And so they fought. And because the man that killed him left a note, he wanted to kill both of them. He was waiting after killed Jacob for Jessie to come back from that orthodontist appointment. And as he waited for him, I'm sure he got scared and he jumped off the balcony and left. And so I think maybe after the man was caused that killed Jacob will be walking on the highway and he's covered in blood and so
nice close to around Halloween. So he's just walking. Yes. And Pete inconspicuously is very conspicuous, like but right, because I saw a photo with Was it a car dealership? Give surveillance photos, right. He's just walking with the giant swept in a sword and covered in blood.
And he's covered in blood. And so people that air dry because he's on highway 51 which is very busy. And people are looking and they're thinking Halloween love, Bob. But
then we're scary stuff. Yes, but then people
get a better look at it. Maybe, and he's drawing. He's walking in the media, and so it's buyer stop like people are stopping their life. No, this is this is bad. And so, um, someone called it in and and there's a guy with a machete. He's covered in blood. You need to come get him. And they did. They got a mint in. The man said what he had done and where Jacob Waas and then they were immediately there. They arrested him. They covered the crime scene. Then Jesse drives up. So if God had not protected Jesse and send him has just had an orthodontist appointment two weeks prior that he missed. So this was a re scheduled appointment on October 29. And so God spare Jesse and I remember I remember sitting there with Jesse on the curb and he cried and I said, You know, God took one. But you're here, you're live. And I think maybe you should have been dead to this will all come out. But I just I just think that God spared you in. It's for a reason. It's for a reason. You don't know this yet. You don't know it. And nor do I. But I love you. You're live. And I tried to maintain a CZ best as I could. And in you're in shock. Your shock you can't believe this. And Ben came there. Ben finally got there, and we were, Ah, Highway Patrol Did. My husband was Oklahoma Highway Patrol. All the bunch of troopers came. They each got us in the different cars because we were unable to drive, took us to her home. And and thus the journey began on planning the funeral. Many people were many, many, many people were at the house that day continued to come because it was such a such a horrific death. It was intentional, preplanned, premeditated. And Jenkins was just sitting on the food tone when the attack happened, which I don't allow my mind to go there that often. But when it does around October, it will, um I think of him being attacked. And did he call out Mama? Mama, help me. I'm all alone and I'm being killed. I'm being attacked by a friend. My roommate. And he didn't. You didn't suffer long years trying to get out and was found at the top of the stairs trying to get out. And, uh, once he died, he was further attacked and just unimaginable, unimaginable. And I think of people that lose their loved ones in a car wreck. I'm thinking that's bad. But is this worse? I don't know, in a dentist's of death and it doesn't matter. And as we were sitting out by the pond today before the funeral, my sister Carrie said, You know, I know he was scared. I know he was frightened. The attack was quick and left, and he said, Kind, you realize the last breath the very last breath you took on Earth was the very 1st 1 He took up and happen, and it's all for gotten. All of this would happen on Earth. It's it's no more. And now we're left to just carry on the best that we can.
So how do you do that? It's such a horrific. I read the news stories that came out after it, and it was It's horrifying if it was just horrifying. So how do you knowing that that happened to him and that he had the intent of killing your only other child? How did you How do you move on? Well, I would I would. I don't even say you move on. How do you keep going out? Akiko? I would
say the key for me and whatever loss it is that you're facing the death of a parent, a death of marriage, You lost your job. Whatever the loss that you're suffering, I know for me I had to allow myself to grieve. I took off six months off work n grieved, web, cried, prayed, trying to figure out, How does a mother go on? How how what is my life gonna look like from now on after having to say goodbye to my child and you have to allow the feeling to come out and and confront them and deal with them? And I did that for six months because if you if you keep it all inside, you're not going to survive. You will not survive. You've got to to pry and screen and cause and sometimes not get out of bed, sometimes not go to shower. And the therapist that band Jesse and I used, she called me one day and and I said, I I haven't been to Wal Mart and I need food in the house, but I can't go, she said. Why not? Because I said, I know I'm going to see those Rahman Noodles and Jacob love ramen noodles, and I'm gonna see everything that I used to buy, she said. Well, get in your car, drive to Wal Mart and walk in. Just walk out, get back in your car and go home. It's gonna be baby step for you. But I said, I assure him, Hungry. We're out of food and
I've been putting it off like I'm really hungry, she said. Well, maybe just run and get something. But so that was
a big, big step, getting out of my comfort bone of the house and going up to Wal Mart and buying food and crying as I walked by the rahm neutral because I intentionally walked by that I'll because I knew I had to face it. Women women are very, very strong. I come from strong women, radio grandma and Aunt Pat and my mom. They are strong women, and I thought, I've got to show Jesse that I can survive here watching me to see if I'm going to crumble and give up on life, and if I do, he will. I've got to lead by example. And so I purposely intentionally walked by the ramen noodle heil and stared at it and wept. I even bought one because it looked good. And I
was right. Okay, well, here we go, you know, crying in on this stupid Roman noodle package, which I bought. I ate when I got home. And so the best and worst Rama knew you never liked. And I went Is I aided extra salt? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you could just feel
the salt in my body. I'm like, OK, yeah,
I can't do this again. But it was It was
intentional because I knew I had to get back to to find my new normal, this journey that I was going to go on. And you have to dig deep. You have to find out how to live forward. Carrie and I went to grief retreat in Colorado two years after Jacob died, and their motto is to live forward lift home. And, um, there were three women that were all divorced in the process of and to hit. And
I thought, Why are they here? And they explained, divorce is the death.
It is a death of your dreams. What you expected, toe, have your husband by your side. You're all women. That were their husband by their side to grow old together, to have kids and grandkids and eat Women are devastated and they don't know how they're gonna survive. And so and then there were a couple of people in the family members committed suicide, and then I was there. And so, um, I listen to their stories and everyone was talking me because Jacob just died So horrific, Lee. It was just awful. And they were in shock when you first hear the story and and
how do you do
it? And I said, Well, you know, the grace of God and my faith, your faith is gonna be tested and we're told it will be tested in the Bible. And I've had to cling onto my faith because of things are going well and you praise God. That's easy to do. That's nothing, right? And so when you are handed a situation in a death like we were, you better be pricing God. Dan too. In the good in the bad. Yeah, that's vital to do. And as a woman, I just knew I had to get back to work. I asked God to use me and my story to possibly reach others. And I knew I had to do that. But it's it's intentional. You, even if it hurts so bad to get in the car and go toe Walmart do it. You've got to do it. You've got to move and it's got to be intentional to do that. And and
I just I had strength. I
never, ever, ever guessed that I had and not mine. Really. It's God and I'm allowing him to use me in my journey of the last five years to touch people, to reach people and say whatever tragedy you're you're facing, you can't overcome it. We are overcome. Earth were Children of God and were overcome. Er's And I was determined to have some good come out of this evil evil act. And they say, you know, when they when we went to court and and he admitted his guilt and they sentence him to life No paroled, you know? Do you have closure? You know what? No, that doesn't matter. This man is gonna have to face God and live with what he did for ever. And he was 21 years old when he killed Jacob. So young young man just beginning his life. But there's no closure. I don't I don't care about that. It it doesn't matter. It's over and I'm glad we didn't go to trial. That part is over. I don't have to think about him anymore and and then you you go on. So I guess in that way that they're out of the way out of your mind. Now let's focus on us getting better and you got to allow time to go through the journey. If you expected, all be better. Oh, it's the next day or the next month worth the next year. It takes a lot of time and it's a slow, slow process on trying to live forward. But
I think that's a really great motto. I like that.
It's wonderful having my little bag that they gave me and I carried my stuff at work and I look at it every day and I said Yes, I am living forward If I gave in to the fear and to the regrets that I have of things that maybe I should have done with the boys that I didn't the grief if I let it just eat me alive, Dan. Then the man that killed Jacob, He's going to take me to. And I told Ben and Jesse that very night. I said man took Jacob. He's not going to take us high divorce rate with a couple of married couple that lose their Children, lose their child, high percentage of divorce. And I said Ben were gonna We're not divorcing. We're gonna fight this. And, Jessie, you're gonna be okay, and we are going to do this is a family unit. So,
Coach Kai, this'd What? This is what I am on my mom or what? Oh, my God. Right for sure. Yes, It all came out and I
said, I am gonna stand Caroline, you're not gonna win. He's not gonna get us. He's not gonna win. He took Jacob and Jacobs up in heaven, worshipping at the feet of Jesus. Right now how envious I am of
him calling up there. And your mama's ringing him. And yes, yes, And get a haircut, you know,
and playing rock music for my mom. So
it's Yeah. And now my dad, he's been up there two years now and in, so
we can only imagine what his life is like and it was cut short, but I thought, man, I've got I'm gonna win. I'm gonna win.
So what impact You talked about the divorce rate for people who have gone through something the death of a child. And I imagine that something that violent just compounds it even more. So did you encounter some tough times in your marriage? And, uh, what? How does your marriage different as a result of what you've endured? I think that, um, men and
women are so different. Mars and Venus. And they agreed differently, too, because I was Jacob's mom. Mom Ben was his dad to different outlooks. And he went to work pretty pretty close after we went to Branson for after week after died to get away from things. And then when we got back, he went back to work. And I want How can you work?
Are you insane? That's not normally
said I I can't stay in this house anymore. He just needed he needed to do what he did, and that's to be a trooper. And that brought normalcy back into his life. But we felt like Okay, well, I'm normal now. I've got my job and and I couldn't do that. I knew. I knew I had degree. I needed that six months to get my feet on the ground and to have many discussions with God, which we did. Working this all out. Um, we never fought about. I mean, it wasn't fighting. It made. I can tell you that Ben is softer, kinder, more compassionate. And our marriage, it just It just never changed it. It was it was hard. I mean, because we both wept so much, wouldn't go to bed 34 months later and go to bed crying. Wake up crying and Oh, my gosh. I mean the bags under my eyes. I mean, I had red splotches from the salt from your tears, I thought, and yet we clung to each other. I mean, we didn't know we didn't have anything else but but each other. And so even though we agreed differently and and went back to work in different times,
we stayed the course and you allowed each other to grieve in your own way. Yes, I never said I wouldn't say, Why are you crying more? And he said, Get in the shower and I break down, I'm sitting on the shower floor. I can't even I can't even shampooed my hair. I'm weeping, my baby, my boy, and and you don't see that, But I and and he didn't see me, and sometimes we, But it's incredible when I would have a very hard time
and I break down. Boy, he's like the rock on. And then when he would break down just weeping, I would be in Iraq and we're going to make it through this. And so it was just a good balance for each other. But through the five years we've realized, long hair doesn't matter. Whatever else, it doesn't matter. We let him grow his hair down to the floor if we could have him back.
But that's I. We try to
live with no regrets, but it's hard not to have the regrets of if we had said something if we had done something differently. But the boys let these two into their house, and, uh, then it happened. But I don't think that it really it didn't take a toll in our marriage. It made it stronger. It made it different, though, because now we're two parents that had to bury their child and were softer were kinder, more compassionate.
How has that impacted your relationship with Jesse? Well, and I told
Ban us that he's gonna be watched and he's gonna be looking and ah, it I was to see how we're handling this. And there were many times I thought, just you'll kill himself, he will kill himself. And And Jesse even said that to meet. And I went my son, I hope you don't have me bury my second son. I hope you don't put us through that. You're gonna do what you're gonna do. And I pray to God that you don't. God loves you. And I said, we're gonna make it through this. We are, he said, But Jacob, with my other half, I don't know who I am. I said you'll figure out who Jesse is. You will figure it out and carry with them, carry him with you. But you're gonna have to figure out who you are without him, what you've never had to do. But you're going to do it. I'm gonna make
you, Mama said. But he
has just exceeded our expectations. He's a He's a strong kid.
He's 24 now 20
four, and he is loyal to his mom and dad. I couldn't have done this without you guys. I couldn't. I You're everything to me and so were extremely close. And he struggles. Still, he does. I know, he said, you know, with the band played in this place And he said, I just wantedto call Jacob, Say, Man, look at what we're doing in this ban or he should be beside me and he's not Mom, even five years into it because it never goes away. It never does. But you learn to live with it, chairs the memories. And I know people say on the memory that only takes so far. You know, in some days I want No, I don't want the memories. I wanted him. I want him back. I want it back. I just want him back. I wanted with me, and that's not possible. And so you you realize that you can be used through tragedy and that what Early on
I thought, I
just want to be a help to someone else that that is grieving for whatever loss it might be. It doesn't matter. But that I can share my experience and what I've gone through. And perhaps they can take a little piece of something that I say to make it better for them. And I've tried to do that, and I'll continue to do that in honor. God honor Jacob and just carry on live forward.
It's great. I was gonna ask you some more questions, but that is a great place to end. And I think you really hit everything because you, you you don't get over it. No, you don't completely heal. And I'm sure some days you are taken back where it just seems like yesterday. Unexpectedly, probably. Yes. But before we turned on the mikes, you were sharing with me how many opportunities you've had to share your pain, your experience with others and help them understand that they're not alone, which is the whole purpose of this podcast to help people understand. Other people are going through horrible things. But there's hope, and there's good that can come out of tragedy. And I just want to thank you so much for coming here and sitting down with me and sharing a story about Jacob
and thank you for letting me shared. And he was the precious boy just loved by Manny. And there is always hope. Always, always, always hope and cling onto that. Cling onto your loved one. Whatever you're facing, you're not alone. Thank you for having me. Thank you.