One year ago.. I was broken. healing slowly.

(Written the evening of June 4th….)
One year ago tomorrow..
I got the phone call that crushed me and left me broken..healing slowly.
Time heals the hurt..but there are days it still feels like a fresh blow..
where, when I think about it too much, I shake my head no, as if to snap myself out of it.
take a deep breath and carry on with what I was doing..

On year ago tomorrow…It was really late. A crazy day. I was running to the grocery store down the street by myself while ben stayed home with the sleeping babies. (ps. was scolded by my worried mom but it was the only time I could make that happen. I was going to be “fast.”)

I was in the freezer section…eggos actually.
And my phone rang. It was my sister val.. She had called once before.. I thought it was something work related or to chit chat so I had planned on calling her once I got home. But I picked up this time.
This conversation is etched in my mind..I go over it sometimes..
wishing it had a different ending.

“Natalie.. where are you?”
“Oh I’m at the store had to grab a couple things”
“Natalie are you by yourself”
“Yeah.. ?.. ben’s home with the girls trying to be fast.. what’s up?”
“Call me when you get home to ben”
“What? No.. just tell me” 
“Ok. ::pause:: This is going to be hard.. Shannon was shot. Chris shot her.
(I expected her to say…she is in the down right now)
“He killed her…. Shannon is dead..”
My only response was what?….wait what? then no no….
I felt cold..and numb..and started crying..
I asked “What happened? How?….I didn’t understand..
She gave me the little details she had.. and then I told her I was going to go home.
I would call her later.
I continued to cry….and took my cart to the checkout.. numb.
I didn’t know what else to do but to check out…the cart was full.. I was going through the motions..
The checkout lady asked me if I was ok…
“My best friend was just killed…she was shot.”
I said it, ending it like it was a question.
Looking back.. I sometimes think about that poor cashier lady who was working the late shift.
I wonder if she ever thinks about me and shannon. If she ever says a prayer for her.

My mom called me. I told her I was going home to ben I would call her when I got back safe.
I drove home..trying not to cry so I could see the road.
I called ben and told him..
I pulled in the house and he just held me as I cried.
Then I called my mom..because I knew she was worried.
Then things started to go in slow motion…… for months.

It doesn’t seem like it has been a year.
I don’t know how a year already passed by. I seriously don’t.
It feels like 6 months..tops.

It feels like we just got the horrible news..that didn’t seem real.
I remember asking my mom on the phone, crying, will I ever not feel like “this??”
What “this” was….I can’t even describe.
But just… broken. a lump in your throat. sad. angry. bitter. regret. guilt.
So many emotions that you feel like you could explode except
at the same time you feel like you are too numb to feel anything at all.
Through all of this.. learning how to grieve.. I am so blessed by my husband. and my mom. and all of my family and friends..and the random strangers and blog readers who have given me encouragement and prayers and reached out to my best friend’s kids with prayers and gifts and donations..

I still think of her almost every day in some way.
Usually, at night when I am holding sienna and putting her to bed…I think about her.
and her two children.
I would like to say that I pray every time…but sometimes..I’m just sad.
I want to start “actively” saying a prayer when I am sad and missing her.
Ben and I pray for shannon and her kids and her family and friends every night.
We pray for all those affected by domestic violence.
But it’s those random moments in the day that I want to take action in..
and respond to that sadness with prayer..
for all those in the middle of DV or grieving over shannon too.

One year and..
–I still struggle with the idea that someone can take another person’s life so violently..
that it actually happens… and that it happened to shannon.
–I still struggle with regret. wishing I would have said more. did more.
–I struggle with wishing for those moments we never will get..
instead of being content and joyful over the ones we had.
-But I’m working on it..and praying.. and healing.

Please lift up in your prayers today all of us missing our sweet shannon.
That we may heal… and remember the good moments with shannon.
That we may forgive… and know that shannon would have wanted us too.
And that we may pray for others experiencing the horrible affects of domestic violence.

Shannon was such a holy beautiful young woman..
And I know she is watching over us from above.. especially us moms.. and those experiencing domestic violence.. She is our angel!

They are having a memorial and healing service tomorrow..
It will be hard not being there with everyone. A part of me wants to just fly down.
I’ll be thinking of everyone..and praying with them for healing.
I think I’ll clean the tub tomorrow.. maybe do laundry. and miss her.

Shannon’s dad asked me to include this in my post today.

Not Alone

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 5:58am ยท By Shannon’s Dad, R. Lawrence

 Dwana G. Horner recently wrote on this site wall I wished I had more conversations with Shannon when she lived next door to me..maybe she would still be here..maybe not, that question will never be answered now.”

I’ve been pondering this post for over a month;  I’ve seen how many people feel the same about Shannon’s battle with her abuser and their feeling of helplessness and regret.  So many of her family and friends have made this very same comment as Dwana.  As the first year living without her closes in, I’ve realized just how many people are not alone in this feeling.  I too have often thought of the “what ifs” so many times. 
Reality is that everyone that knew Shannon and knew what she was going through and how hard she worked to free herself feels like they should have done more.  It is a feeling that will never leave anyone that loved her.  And in the same situation again, no one that was affected by Shannon and her death will ever view domestic violence and abuse in an uninvolved and detached way.  However, we all have to come to the understanding that Shannon indeed was very strong those last months.  And moreover, we don’t yet know what transpired that fateful day and most likely will never know all the facts that lead that person to take her life.  It is quite possible that she made the ultimate mother’s sacrifice to protect her children from this man forever.  We must have faith that she knew she had been prepared her whole life to enter God’s eternal kingdom of love in a way that only she could have known.  
She fully understood this world is not the end.  Find comfort that Shannon was truly ready for eternal life at Jesus’ side.  In a post I shared July 13, 2011 on this site, Shannon wrote to me once, “Ever since I was little I felt something different in me, something seemingly deeper than most.  I know now that it is from God, preparing me.”
“I have a gift, many gifts, especially that of being passionate about my faith and knowing it and being able to spread that knowledge and love to others.  I just need to find the courage to follow it….”
“If I do not, then I will never feel complete.”
When you find yourself mourning for Shannon as June 5 arrives, find comfort that Shannon was “complete” at the end of her life here on Earth. 

by Shannon’s Dad,
R Lawrence

More Women will Suffer Violence Today

on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 6:54pm ยท

A Message from Shannon’s Dad
I’m already being asked by the media for my reaction to today’s news from the arraignment, in that the State of Georgia is seeking the death penalty for Shannon’s murder and associated crimes against her, the state, and her children.  I don’t think there is much I can say at this point about the case.  I have every confidence in District Attorney Paul Howard and his office in this matter. 
This is the beginning of a very long process to bring justice for the malice aforethought and violent murder of my daughter after years of suffering abuse at the hands of the accused.  There are scores of family and friends that immensely loved Shannon and that will forever remain victims of the most atrocious act a man can commit against a woman and his children that he professes to love.  And there are many people as evidenced on this memorial page that have been touched not only by Shannon’s life, but by her passing as well. 
My prayer is that Shannon’s death and story will be seen around the world and understood by other women that are being abused by their partner.   It is ill-fated when a woman accepts abuse from a man of any kind, be it verbal, emails, texts, or the most violent in physical abuse.  I pray that these women will reach out and be given the strength to recognize the signs of abuse and to break the bond that endangers their lives and those they love.
Domestic violence knows no boundaries in culture and socioeconomic status, so do not think you are immune to it.  It should be a concern for every responsible family, school, church, and corporation.   As friends, we need to be responsible and intervene when we see the signs of abuse, not pass it off as meddling in a relationship and find excuses to keep quiet.   You are not a friend and neighbor of love when you look the other way and think it is not your business.  If you do not know how to intervene, look up your local Family Violence Center or use the national hotline URL address below and ask for advice.  Get involved.   Your friend could end up like Shannon if you remain silent.
(copy above and paste into your browser address bar for help with a friend)
Please share this note on your page and spread the word that crimes against women will be punished, and it is not okay to violate, control, or harass a woman under any circumstances especially under the guise of love.  It may be your friend that you save.
To read all posts related to Shannon you can click here.
Please share her story..donate if you can.
If you have been touched by her story and would like to 
visit her Memorial Page you can visit here

Please Pray for peace in our world 
and for all those affected by Domestic Violence.

****On a side note.
I peed my pants when I sneezed today. First time with this pregnancy.
The husband was very happy to be present when it happened so he could laugh really hard….
I’ve been having braxton hicks contractions lately. 
I think it’s partially from being dehydrated. partially from stress.
So trying to…drink more and stress less… :)
One easier than the other.****

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  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 6:38 am

    Sending a lot of love your way today.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies (please, notice the new url for my blog), under the Page 4 post on Jun. 05, 2012. Thanks again.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 9:51 am

    My heart hurts for you. I am sending prayers and hugs your way and to all the woman who are going through what Shannon had to go through.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I don’t know how to express what I feel when I read your posts about Shannon. I wish I had something eloquent and encouraging to say. All I know is that God will use this tragedy for good, as a way to show his goodness and power. It is already evident in your openness about what you are going through and how you keep this issue at the forefront of our minds. Only good can come from it. I know that doesn’t take away the hurt though. Praying that your hurt lessens little by little. Hugs to you Natalie!

  • Reply
    Mrs. E
    June 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    My thoughts and prayers go to you today. I’ve been following your blog for a while but never posted. This topic, domestic abuse, hits close to home. I can’t even imagine what you and her family are experiencing today. As my eyes swell up with tears, please know that many are praying for her family, you, and her beautiful children.

  • Reply
    Sarah Dodd
    June 6, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Sending love and prayers to you, your awesome family and Shannon. Every time i read the posts about her i cry and i know its silly, but to lose a friend in such a horrid way is not easy.
    I also love that you keep her memory and spirit alive by writing and tweeting about her. Although i don’t know her i hope she has found peace.

  • Reply
    Katherine Milton
    June 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I just recently started following your blog and I think you and your posts are just fantastic! I am so sorry to hear about your friend. Domestic violence is so real in our world yet it’s so overlooked because most of it is done behind closed doors. I prayed for you and for Shannon’s family and for all other women suffering from domestic violence. God heals hearts and He has an incredible way of using crummy situations for His glory, so just know that Shannon’s life and loss meant something–they had/have a purpose. Thank you for sharing her story.

  • Reply
    Stitch a Wish Designs
    July 12, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Sending prayers to you and all those affected by this tragic crime. I also love that you (and others) are keeping Shannon’s memory alive by sharing stories on your blog. I too, find myself with tears running down my face each time I read them. I hope you can find some peace, I will keep you in my prayers.

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