I wanted to create a spot for Amber, our niece who was killed this last Summer.  Amber lived in Arizona, but was a big part of our lives even though we lived far away.  Our children loved and still love Amber and she loved them.  She was especially attached to Gracie and when we would visit AZ Gracie would ask to see Amber right away.  It’s hard to write about her and everything that has happened since June 22, but I really wanted a place for her here.  Amber is now completely woven into our lives.  Not a day goes by and some days…not 10 minutes goes by…. that we don’t think about her and ache for her.  Our family will never be the same.  There is a heaviness now that wasn’t there before; a feeling that something isn’t right and you want to fix it, but you can’t.  I imagine that most people who lose a loved one unexpectedly feel this way, but in Amber’s case it’s not over.  There will be a trial and more media coverage.  I don’t think I’m going to cover all of that as it happens here.  I just want to post our memories and pictures and focus on what the world was like when she was here.  People always say that when a person dies they are not really gone, they live in you….in your memories.  I havenever felt that to be more true than now with Amber.  She is everywhere.  I hope you enjoy this page as I add to it and fill you in on my perspective of this girl who I  loved and worried about, laughed with and got mad at, cry and smile about.

December 2007 Grammies, Emma, Gracie, Connor and Amber

We took a trip out to California and Arizona for the Christmas break and one of the goals of the trip was to visit Amber’s grave site.  I was a little nervous at how the kids would do, but they were great.  Connor took little stones and made a happy face on Amber’s stone and Gracie kept “finding” flowers and putting them on Amber’s stone.  Emma was too distracted by the balloons at other grave sites to notice. 🙂  It’s a lovely place and it was much harder for Chris and I than I thought it would be, but I’m so glad we went.  I think it finally made it more real somehow.

Gracie with AmberConnor, Gracie and AmberAmberConnor’s smiley faceHeadstone

May 17, 2008

We are getting closer to the year anniversary of Amber’s murder and I know it’s on all our family’s minds.  Mike and Candy are coming for a visit this summer shortly after the anniversary and I’m so glad, but I’m not sure how to recognize this time in our lives….It’s very unreal to think that it has been a year.  I still look at Amber’s picture and have to remind myself that there won’t be any new pictures.  She’s 17 forever.  How do you comfort a Mother and Father who lost their only child?  When they come for the visit do we all just have fun or do we talk about everything?  I have a feeling there will be many late night, adult conversations about last Summer and I’m really looking forward to it.  It’s been hard to feel like we are helping Mike and Candy from so far away.  Having them here will feel like Amber’s here too…that will be nice.

October 12, 2008

I just finished talking with my MIL Mary and there was a hearing this last Monday.  It looks like the trial will be May 5, 2009.  The victims’ advocate was preparing Mike and Candy for the possibility of a plea deal for one of the boys if they will testify against the other at trial.  I have a feeling they will try and “flip” Nick because they believe that Todd planned the attack for weeks before and also delivered the fatal blow.  Ugh.  Can this really be happening?  My instinct is to go to the trial and be a physical presence to support Mike and Candy and to represent what this murder has done to our family.  But, man.  A trial is gonna suck.  It feels like a huge wave is building out at sea…growing bigger and bigger, just waiting to crash on the shore.  We are all standing on the shore…

Thank goodness for prayer and the gospel.  I couldn’t have found it at a better time in my life…literally.


3 responses to “Amber

  1. Tamara Castaneda

    That was a really touching tribute to Amber, looking forward to photos and such! Tam

  2. Grammies

    I didn’t notice this before when I looked at the blog. I think it is a wonderful tribute to Amber and it will help all of us heal from this great loss. I miss her terribly and know that God has given her wings to watch over those that she touched in such special ways. Especially Gracie.


  3. Candy

    On October 21, 1989. I married not only my soulmate, but I also received two awesome brothers, another set of the worlds best parents, and soon to follow; two of the most beautiful sister-in-laws there could ever be. I can’t tell you what a blessing it was and how much more Mike and I are blessed to have them in our lives everyday. They take my breath away everytime I see them, hear them, hold them and think of them.
    Each and everyone of our nieces’ and nephews brings out so much pride, joy and more love then we ever thought was possible.
    When Amber was born, I knew she was destined for greatness.
    On earth she made the world shine! everyday, every person, without ever knowing it, was touched by her smile. was embraced by her warmth, shocked at her truthfulness, yet comforted by her trustworthiness.
    Her greatness carries on in Heaven, where she is one of the many, most beautiful angels there could be. My lovely sister-in-law couldn’t be more right when she said that she is everywhere.
    She is. and always will be.
    Live life to the fullest, and remember that it’s the little things that happen in life that should always be cherished.
    All my love to you!

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