Do you have a specific day in your life that changes your life forever? Mine was 4/20/1999. (when I speak about my life, I also mean my family’s). This day was the Horrific School Shooting at Columbine High School. My daughter Monica was a senior and my daughter Brandi Jo was a freshmen. They are considered Columbine Survivors, but this has taken a toll on them mentally along with my husband and myself.
There are so many things I could say about the next few years after Columbine, so many heart aches, so much pain. But as a mother, you truly believe that you will get through this somehow.
Our daughter Monica has done well, she is married now and has 3 kids, one of which also graduated in 2019 from Columbine High School.
Our daughter Brandi Jo has her own story, one in which is so sad that it’s hard to even talk about. She has been missing since 12/26/2006. The details of her story are on a Facebook Page called: @HelpFindBrandiJo. Please visit her site and share, as we still do not have any answers. Please ask me anytime about her and I will share her story and talk with you about her.
The years since she has been missing have been a blur. I have gotten through this by these 3 things:
1. Our Faith
2. My Husband Rick and My Daughter Monica and Family (Family)
3. Staying healthy
Now the first 12 years since Brandi has been missing has really been a blur. I tried to stay as busy as possible. I worked 2 jobs, and worked out as much as I could. I walked a lot listening to books on tape. Now this was ok, but I didn’t hang out or do anything with too many people out side of work. My part time job was at Weight Watchers. I joined Club USA in 2009 and started to do Zumba and Barre classes. I went to classes but still didn’t do anything with too many people. I was struggling with not having answers on Brandi. So my life was Work, Work, Workout, home. I didn’t let myself have too much down time.
During this time frame I also lost several members of my Family including the loss of my Mother in January of 2014. She passed not knowing where her Granddaughter was. She held one of BrandiJo.s stuffed animal until she took her last breath.
In 2018 there was this New “Hip Hop” class (Reb3L) that I was asked to try. I wasn’t really excited about this, but went ahead and tried it. The first class was way different then I thought it would be. I loved the format with the lights down and following the instructor from behind instead of mirroring them like in Zumba. I kept going to these classes and started to notice my mood improved after each one. The endorphins I got were amazing. I walked out of class in a better mood, no matter how mad or sad I felt before class. I started really trying to get to know the people in the classes, I moved to the front of the class and then the instructors even started to ask me to come up and do a song. So the end of 2018 and all of 2019 I was focused on Reb3L.
2020: Covid Hit! Wait, what? I can’t go to the gym and do Reb3L, I won’t see my friends from the club? What am I going to do. How am I going to deal with this? I knew that Reb3L had an online application and I signed up right away when Covid hit. I was considered an Essential Worker, as I work for King Soopers, so I worked partially from home and in the Store doing Payroll. Again I was able to stay busy (down time was not a good thing for me). After work I worked out almost every day in the basement through the shut down. The online community of Reb3l was so awesome during this time. Seriously, this is what got me through 2020, Mentally and physically. I even joined a few challenges and won one! Later in the year I started doing outside classes with the Amazing Reb3L tribe from Club USA. The instructors were great through all of this! When we were able to go back to the Club to work out we had to sign up for classes as there was a limit of 10. I signed up for as many classes as I could even if I had to wear a mask.
At the end of 2020, my husbands Dad and younger brother both passed away. This was another horrible part of my life. These were both senseless deaths. So heartbreaking.
2021: 1/1/2021 I turned 60, Yes 60! How did that happen? I made up my mind that I would OWN it! I decided to become a Reb3L Instructor ( I have never done anything like this before, I do not have a dance back ground, except for being a Cheer Leader in High School, many years ago).
People ask me all the time how I deal with my daughter being missing. I have to tell them that I never wish that this happen to anyone, but you have to make the decision to go on. You have to make choices: You have to Believe that you will get answers.
My Saving Grace:
1. My Faith
2. My Husband Rick and my Daughter Monica and Family (Family)
3. Reb3L and the Reb3L Community
I Choose my Faith, I Choose my Family, I Choose Reb3L 3
I AM HEALTHY, I AM STRONG AND I AM REB3L