Wednesday, February 1, 2023

With Love, To Our Rebel Family

My husband and I lost our son almost nine years ago very unexpectedly. Tragically life changed for us in just a matter of minutes. What should have been one of the happiest days of our lives, bringing our new son into the world, turned into a day of sorrow and heartache like we had never known before.

The Weatherly's at this year's Rebel Road Trip.
The Weatherly’s at the 2012 Rebel Road Trip.

During this most tragic time, the support from our family, friends and community showed up in many ways to support and encourage us. The Ole Miss Rebel Family was no exception. My husband’s college friends drove hours to visit and donate blood on my behalf. Cards were sent, flowers, phone calls, pledges to St. Jude in memory of our son and the list goes on. Each and every act of love and compassion embedded a mark within our hearts that would never be forgotten or under-appreciated. Ever.
I have been in the world of loss mamas for quite some time now. Sadly we have lost some precious Rebel Family members, many sweet little Rebels. Time and time again, the support I see from the Rebel Family is amazing and one I am proud to be a part of. The coaches, the players, the staff and administration are not just encouragers on the sidelines of those who need support, but they are also fine examples of how we should be uniting together to offer our love, service and encouragement to those who are hurting.
It didn’t take me long to see that within the Rebel Family you are going to be loved, supported, prayed for and thought of when you need it the most.
Just five weeks after we buried our son, Hurricane Katrina came and claimed both of our businesses, as well as damaged our home. Our lives and so many we knew and loved were once again forever changed. Our extended Rebel Family opened their hearts and home to our families. They fed us, clothed us, and invited us into their home with electricity and provisions. This was truly an act of kindness that was extended to us in our time of need. We will never forget that first warm meal made for us lovingly by Mrs. Smith, of course, it was barbeque with all the fixings! Whew, Hotty Toddy!
On any given day you can find beautiful examples of the Rebel Family uniting together to help others. Just take a stroll through social media and you will find love and support, prayers and well wishes to those who are suffering, those who have sick children, those who are in desperate times after life changing natural disasters have claimed their homes. These are moments we were meant for. These are moments we can make a difference and be a difference in the lives of others.
When Coach Hugh Freeze and The Rebels visited Batson’s Children’s Hospital it touched my heart as I know it did the lives of all those precious children and their families. To a family that is hurting, expressions of outreach and love are huge! Taking a moment and letting them know you care is worth more than money can buy.
And in times of tragedy, there is a beautiful peace that is placed between schools to help their fellow brother regardless of the colors they are wearing. I have seen it time and time again and it is beautiful.
This makes us all better.
Being a difference in the lives of others serves much purpose and that purpose is grand.
I am not saying this as someone who sat on the sideline of tragedy, I am saying this as someone who was devastated by tragedy and truly touched by the outreach and love from many people I had never even met before. People that have become family to us, extended family, family that we cheer with, cry with and love.
The Rebel Family.
And to all of you, I say thank you. Thank you.
Today I reach out to any of you that have suffered loss in your lives or are facing devastation of any kind. I reach out to let you know you are not alone! I will cheer with you, I will cry with you…and eat cookies with you! A lot of cookies! (I will take it for the team!)
Much love and a great big Hotty Toddy to all!
loriweatherlyLori Weatherly is the proud wife of a Rebel and proud mother to three little Rebels, two that she gets to take to Ole Miss ball games and one that has a special “Hotty Toddy” room in heaven. She is the author of “Facets of Life; What I Didn’t Expect When I was Expecting.” Her work includes sharing her personal journey of child loss through writing and speaking as well as her hand painted, inspirational card line. She has a passion to help others and a most special place in her heart for adoption. Her website is LoriCWeatherly.com.

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