August 14 — A Knock at the Door

by Carol Kunnerup

My cell rang during training. The kids wouldn’t call unless it was important.

Raechel was crying. ”Mom, can I move back home?”

” Of course. What do you need me to do?” She would borrow my minivan; her little zoomer would not hold much. Younger sister, Sara, would help her move out of her boyfriend’s house.

The girls picked me up after the training, seemingly in good spirits. I hugged Raechel and said we would help her figure something out. She was so independent that I could not imagine her wanting to stay for long. She would rather come by on her own for suppers, snacks and to hang out with her sister and little brother. We had all been enjoying each other this summer.

I had to collect Trevor from Vacation Bible School. She needed to go make her car payment.

”Raechel, we’ll be eating hamburgers across the street for dinner, come with.”

”I might go with friends,” she replied.

”That’s okay. I’m glad you’re here.” I told her.

‘Thanks, momma.’

I watched her walk to her silver little car. Beautiful, tan skin, cute tank top, luscious dark hair pulled back in a ponytail. She is home. I felt such joy and relief. I crossed the street to pick up Trevor from VBS, shouting, ”See you later, sweetie.”

Our regular routine, late dinner because of Peter’s long hours. We discussed how we would handle an adult child in the house. It would be a challenge for us all. Then all off to bed for us. I was wishing I had gotten her a key already.

There was a knock at the door. 1:30 a.m. Holy cow. This would definitely be a conversation with Rae tomorrow.

It was the officer Raechel had thought was so cute when he helped her unlock her car one of the times she locked herself out. Like mother like daughter.

He asked me to get dressed and come with him. Peter was sitting up in bed, wide awake and asked me if he should call Marilee to sit with the kids and follow me. Of course.

I was in a daze. The officer said nothing for our three block ride. There were so many young people wandering the hospital parking lot. I could not fathom why.

I was led in and a nurse greeted me. I followed her. I just knew that whatever happened I would care for Raechel and nurse her back to health. I would put everything on hold to help her.

The nurse took me to a curtained area.

‘I am so sorry. Your daughter was in a motorcycle accident with a young man. Neither survived. She passed away at midnight.’ She opened the curtain and there was my beautiful girl. My girl who just moved back home. My girl who had just asked if I could believe I have a daughter who would turn 19 soon. My girl who had taught me so much about being a parent.

I am a mother, a wife and a woman who is rediscovering her artist within. I have lived many places and find that my home is always with me; my children and my husband are the heart of me. We are in North Dakota on a lovely farmstead. I teach preschool and am working towards my masters in special education. Visit my blog at


14 responses to “August 14 — A Knock at the Door

  1. You leave me with tears streaming and an aching mother’s heart. May your own heart be sustained and lifted always; it sounds so full of love.

  2. No words can express the tragedy you have suffered. No blog comment can apply even a drop of healing to the heart of a mother who has lost a child to violent circumstances, yet I dare to write this comment anyway. I am so sorry for your loss.

  3. My heart aches for your loss….I think of her often, all of you especially when we go by your house. Love you
    Cathy F.

    • I love you, Cathy. I know that she is in our hearts and minds always. She is never far. and I love that you still think of that little house as our house. It was where I lived some of the happiest years of my life.

  4. This ending was SO unexpected. If I’m any example, you have uncorked an ocean of tears as we grieve with you. Blessings on you and your whole family.

    • Sharon, thank you for your kind words. And, actually, the ending was really unexpected for me as well…..I still find it difficult to believe, after four years. Thank you for letting me know how this story touched you. ;D

  5. My heart breaks for you. You lived through every mother’s nightmare. Right now a friend’s 16 year old is dying from metastatic osteosarcoma as she has run out of treatment options. I cry for her, for her mother, for your daughter, and you. All I can say is I am so sorry this happened.

    • You are very kind. I will keep your friend and her family in my thoughts and send positive energy out for them. Thank you, Joyce.

  6. Carol–I am so saddened by your daughter’s death. I don’t know how to begin to express what I am feeling, but will hold you and your family in the LIGHT. Caroline Ziel

  7. My heart breaks for your loss. I lost my oldest child too, at the age of 35
    my tears flowed freely as I remember the loss- the aching feeling.
    I am so sorry for your loss…

    • Nancilynn, we belong to a club no one wants to join. I am sorry for your loss. That feeling just never goes away. Thank you for your kindness.

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