Community Mourns the Loss of Roxie Pickrell [PHOTOS]
The Owensboro community is mourning the loss of one of their own. Roxie is now in the hands of Jesus and with her Poppy. Keep praying for this beautiful family. It's going to be a long hard road in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.
The last twenty seven days have been a nightmare for the Pickrell family. On October 11th, 2019, two life altering events happened. They lost Gary, the patriarch of the family that day. Gary Pickrell played a large role in this family and in the community, as the owner of Gary's Drive-In. Losing someone you love is the hardest thing in the world. It was most definitely for all of his family and friends. But, there was little time to grieve.
When Jason and Cathy got the news of Gary's passing, they got devastating news of their own. Roxie, their 13-year-old daughter and Gary's granddaughter, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and they needed to get to Norton's Children's Hospital right away. This is where they've spent every single day since October 11th, 2019.
Roxie went into surgery to have the mass removed on October 14th, 2019 in Louisville. Over the last month, there's been some emotional highs, but mostly emotional lows as Roxie's brain tried to rewire itself. Jason and Cathy stayed strong, gave the community medical updates, and had hope. The entire community was praying with them every single step of the way.
I remember getting the message from Jason when the surgery was over. He said, "The doctor is cautiously optimistic. Roxie is not out of the woods yet, but he did say that it went better than he expected." Everyone at that time was feeling hopeful and prayed for healing. Jason ended with, "She is just the sweetest girl ever to everyone. I've said it hundreds of times. If there was ever an angel on earth it's my Roxie Doll."
On October 21st, 2019 the family laid Gary to rest and it marked one week since Roxie's surgery. There was a glimmer of hope when the family got back to the hospital later that night. Cathy shared the good news. "Roxie is drowsy, but opening her eyes, trying to make eye contact, she snapped her fingers along to her favorite song and she waved at me. SHE'S AWAKE!" There was even a rainbow outside of her hospital window. Her Poppy was by her side. There was so much hope in the moment.
Meanwhile the community started pulling together to help the family. It was obvious that it was going to be a long healing road for Roxie and the family. Fundraisers started to pop up to help with medical and living expenses. Prayers continued.
On October 29th, more prayers were answered. Cathy shared, "Roxie was extabated today. She has been asleep and snoring since. She is still not fully alert. She is answering questions with her right hand and head nods, motor skills still not present."
On October 30th there was more promising news. Cathy shared, "Physical therapy got her sitting up on the side of the bed today and speech pathology worked on helping her drink water. They also helped with an assisted hug." Needless to say, I had tears of joy when I saw this photo, as I'm sure many of you did too. Prayers continued.
No, Roxie was not out of the woods by any means. This would be a slow healing process. Again, there was hope. Cathy added, "Roxie is mentally strong and spiritual." In my eyes she's also a brave little girl and a fighter. She has to heal and make it.
I think most people in situations like this gravitate toward the positives. Not ignoring the seriousness of the daily setbacks and battles, but clinging to hope. As humans we are just built that way. That's why it was so devastating when the news came in yesterday. News nobody could imagine. Fall to your knees and pray kind of news. A hard kick to the stomach news. It was truly unimaginable. Roxie was put on life support on Tuesday, November 5th, 2019.
Psalm 23:4 - "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
I laid my head on the pillow last night with a heavy heart. I cried and I prayed until I felt nauseous. She's just 13-years-old. This shouldn't be happening. Hasn't this family been through enough? No parent should ever have to lay their child to rest. As a parent you should be the one to go first. It just isn't fair. I finally fell asleep waiting to see what the next day would bring. I tossed and turned all night and when I finally woke up, the clock said it was 5:55. I smiled and thanked God for the "wink". I knew that God would be there for Roxie and her family. No matter what the day would bring, God would be present in their lives.
On 11/6/2019 at around 1pm we got some news from Jason. "We have called in the family to visit with Roxie. We are very sad and will have deep scars that will take a long time to heal. I would like to thank everyone for all the support and prayers."
More tears flowed and more prayers were said. Prayers for peace and no more pain.
Moments ago, Roxanne Lorraine Pickrell took her last breath. She was just 13 years old. As a community we mourn. We mourn for Roxie and what her life could have been with that red hair and sass. We mourn for the entire Pickrell family, especially for Jason and Cathy. We mostly mourn for a life cut short. I can’t believe that this is how her story ended. She had so much more to do. Rest in peace beautiful girl.
It's going to be important to pray for the family, be there for them and to mourn along side of them. But, also remember that NONE of us know what they are feeling or going through. Everyone has their own journey through grief. Even if you think you do. You don't.
Here is a list of platitudes and clichés that are upsetting to those who are journeying through grief. Laurie Burrows Grad
THE TOP 10 WORST THINGS TO SAY TO SOMEONE IN GRIEF:
1. He’s in a better place. (A better place would be beside me now.)
2. Everything happens for a reason. (There is no rhyme or reason for this kind of loss.)
3. Time heals all wounds. (Time doesn’t heal all wounds, although healing takes time.)
4. Try not to cry. He wouldn’t want you to cry. (He’d be bawling his eyes out.)
5. It is time to put this behind you. (There is no timetable for grief.)
6. At least he lived a long life. If you think this is bad ... (No comparisons, please.)
7. I know how you feel. (Do we ever really know how someone feels?)
8. Let me tell you about my own loss, which is similar to yours. (Please just listen and acknowledge my loss.)
9. Surely you’ll find someone. (This diminishes the person’s loss and their loved one.)
10. You’ll get through it. Be strong. (This tells people to hold on to their grief and not let it out.)
HE TOP 10 SUGGESTIONS TO SAY TO SOMEONE IN GRIEF:
1. I am sorry for your loss is the tried and true easiest thing to say.
2. The best thing one can say is “I love you.” Actually a hug is the very best thing, since one losing a spouse does not get hugs on a regular basis.
3. I wish I had the right words to comfort you. Just know that I care.
4. I don’t know how you feel, but I am available to help in any way I can.
5. I am always a phone call or email away.
6. It’s ok to cry and it’s ok to hurt.
7. My favorite memory of your loved one is...
8. Please let me know how I can help you.
9. How are you doing this minute?
10. Say nothing. Just be with the person.
SOURCE: Laurie Burrows Grad