Easter Memories in Pictures

I’ve always heard it said that “laughter is the best medicine”. I think that that is very true.

It is approaching 4 months of my family living without Pierce. Easter will be the first (major) holiday we have spent without him…and yet, I still sense him everywhere. I think of things he would say about things going on in our lives. I see him in pictures on my phone or at our parents’ house.

Some days are still very hard. The other day, I cried. I think it was partially from exhaustion, partially from watching the detached way news anchors talk about what’s going on with illegal immigration or our family’s situation, just missing Pierce…a combination of things. It’s hard for me, as a sister, to realize in different ways every day that my youngest brother is not here right now.

Tonight though, writing this, the night before Easter, something has tickled my funny bone. Maybe it’s because it’s late, maybe it’s because I know I need to smile and take it easy sometimes, or maybe, just because these old Easter pictures of my family are cracking me up.

Laughter is good. It’s healthy.

I think, when we are grieving, we can feel guilty for doing the most normal of things, like laughing. We don’t want to allow ourselves to be happy..because we think that that brief happiness reflects on the loss of the people we love. How can we possibly be happy and laugh when someone we love is gone from us?

I’m here to tell you, though–that laughter can be good. It’s nice to laugh at ourselves from time to time.

So, without further ado, we will delve into pictures of the Corcorans from Easters past!

Disclaimer: I am not at all responsible or liable for what you are about to see. The majority of these pictures are from the 1990’s. Yea, it was a different time back then. Many questionable fashion choices and hairstyles were made. Then again, the 90’s are making a come back, so they say. But I digress!

Going To Church In Style: I’ve started with one of the more tame photos first. Here, the three Corcoran siblings can be seen disembarking from the blue, shell of a van that we no doubt crumbled Cheeze Its in and otherwise destroyed, through no real fault of our own, on our journeys around town. We were kids, after all. You have Pierce in the middle, rocking the knee socks and floral tie that looks like it was a pillowcase in a former life. Honestly, he looks the best here. He has a hint of a smile, which you will see as we go through more pictures, was sometimes rare when he was a kid. Not because he was unhappy, per se, but more because he HATED taking pictures. Really hated it.😂 This started when he was around–probably 4 to 5. I am wearing a dress that my mom picked out for me. Connor didn’t get the memo that we were having our picture taken, so…he’s staring somewhere else.

Pierce With His Easter Basket: To be fair, Pierce probably just woke up here. He is probably still waking up and/or deciding which piece of Easter candy to eat for breakfast. In this writer’s humble opinion, that’s a serious decision to be making before noon. Also, Easter Candy > Halloween Candy.

Pierce and Bunny: Pierce always loved his stuffed animals and toys when he was this age. I think we all got bunnies in different colors that year and his was blue. He looks like he might have been teething a little bit when this was taken.

Easter Pictures At Mimi and Poppy’s: So, there’s a lot going on in this picture. We all look pretty happy though, so this must have been on an occasion where we got the pictures done and out of the way pretty easily. We probably had enjoyed some Easter candy too, so that could also explain our good moods. Pierce looks like he was in the middle of saying something, I’m wearing a long scarf around my neck in April like it’s a thing and Connor..well, Connor looks fairly normal. Also, Chi Chi, my grandparents’ old chihuahua is behind us.😂 Just casually photobombing.

The Whole Family: This is about when we probably started getting tired of taking pictures.😂 Pierce looks like he’s about to throw something at the cameraman, most likely our grandfather, Poppy. I’m in the middle, being dramatic. I was about 8 here, the age when I started going around and telling everyone I was going to be an actress. Connor is holding a purple egg and–showing how he feels about family pictures.😂 Our parents are probably thinking, “Well, at least we’re all in the picture!”

Mimi and Poppy: We were on our best behavior in this one.😂Probably because Mimi and Poppy gave us all kinds of snacks we liked whenever we came over.(Still do!) Pierce looks so much like Poppy in this one. I apparently wanted Alexander Hamilton to be in our picture? Or most likely, it’s a not so humble brag that I found some cash in an egg at the egg hunt.😂 Connor looks like, “I’m smiling, but can we be done now?”

Another Easter Morning: Pierce and all of us had just woken up when this was taken. This was taken at the then “new” house. Pierce always liked the Tennessee Vols.🧡 It looks like he got some fun stuff in his basket that year–some games, a Fantastic 4 toy and of course, candy! He looks 9 or 10 here.

Easter Baskets: This was taken at our old house. Connor is wearing two things I’ve never seen him in since: yellow and a suit jacket. I’m wearing a matching jacket and dress combo, which only seems to work for people under 10 and over 40, or perhaps politicians. Pierce looks like a little old man–he looks grown up in his Easter clothes.

Side Hug: Pierce and I look happy. I was trying to think the other day why we sometimes didn’t look happy in pictures when we were kids, and I think it was because we hated taking them.😂 Pierce hated it the most. Connor and I got to a certain age where we realized that, the sooner we smiled, the sooner it would all be over with, but Pierce never got to the point where he really liked taking them. Thus, sometimes, in certain progressions of pictures, we look as if we’re mad at each other.😂

And now, last, but certainly not least…

Easter Bunny?: My mom told me to preface this picture with an explanation.😂 She apparently was dressing up for an Easter thing at school for Connor’s class, but thought she would take pictures with Pierce too. After all, it’s not every day that you are dressed up like a rabbit. Pierce looks a little stunned. Probably thinking, “Where is my mom? What is this thing?!”

Well, I hope you all had a laugh at some of these like we have!😂 I may have to do a Christmas edition because there are even more pictures of us from Christmas.

I hope everyone has a Happy Easter! Spend it with your family and don’t forget what the season is really about!

We love and miss you, Pierce.❤️

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Living For You

“My actions still matter.”-Pierce Corcoran

Every day I go to the gym, I wear this bracelet as a reminder of who my brother was. What he believed in. I wear it as I go about my daily tasks, going to work, the grocery store, driving around in my car or going to “normal” events, such as birthday parties, which have become more painful since your passing, Pierce. The singing of “Happy Birthday” and obligatory passing around of nauseatingly sweet birthday cake have become rituals that…maybe one day, I will begin to enjoy again, but for now, kind of annoy me. They serve as a reminder that you are no longer here, to grow another year older or celebrate all of life’s ups and downs with.💔

I am trying not to become a bitter person. I try to enjoy the things that are going right in other people’s lives, but I wish they would be as understanding of the fact that I am not “okay” right now. Things that might be happy for them are not necessarily happy for me.

Luckily for me, most of the people I surround myself with are empathetic and nice, but there are the occasional idiots. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they don’t know what it’s like to have their world flipped upside down.

My last post was titled “Living Without You” and I wanted to title this one “Living For You” intentionally.

I try to honor you, Pierce, in everything I do. In how I act and what I say. I am soft when the occasion calls for it and I can be just as hard when the occasion calls for it. I am patient with people, but other times I don’t mince words.

I speak the truth, regardless. I try to love people, even when they aren’t loveable. Sometimes, loving people isn’t easy. I think people have this misconception of what “love” actually is. Love is hard. Love is not handing things to people or coddling them–sometimes, love is speaking the truth or letting those we love make mistakes. I think the same can be said of our country right now.

I love my country, but it has made many mistakes over the years. I look at the current state of affairs, at all the problems we have with illegal immigration, and I can’t help but compare it to that of a parent and a child. Although I don’t currently have children of my own, it was an illustration that instantly struck me.

We have become a country that strives to hand things out, right and left, never thinking of the consequences that will come further down the road. We have “sanctuary” cities that insulate and protect criminals.

It reminds me a bit of a parent trying to pacify a bratty child by giving the child all that it wants. What would we think of a parent who rewards their child for violent behavior or doing wrong things? We wouldn’t think very highly of them, would we? Nor would it be a very affective method. If anything, it would encourage other children to act that way also.

This is how our country has made me feel.

Even despite all of that though, I want to live my life in a way that makes me proud. Because my actions still matter, just as yours did, Pierce.

Even though the man who killed you is now being deported, without a felony for killing you on his record, I still try to find the bright spots in my days.

I can not control our judicial system, but I can continue to fight. I can fight for justice without letting the injustice of our situation eat away at me or make me a bitter person.

Because I am not mad at Fransisco Eduardo, although some people say I should be. Now, granted, I am writing this from my couch, on a day that has been relatively easy, as far as the PTSD and media coverage goes. It may not be like that every day. I have my angry days. I have my sad days. And I have my days where I know everything will be okay because Jesus is my savior and everything is in his control.

I have forgiven the man that killed my brother, in my heart, but the person I can’t forgive isn’t even a person. It is my country.

It’s rather difficult being mad at a concept, an entity. Something as big as a “government” or “judicial system”.

A quote that I made up and that sits at the top of my Facebook page comes to mind.

“I don’t aspire to be average and neither should you.”

I have always held the people around me to higher standards. I demand the same of my country. We need accountability. We need laws. We need right and wrong, because without those things—we are nothing.

America, your actions still matter.

If not for my brother, than for me. For my family. For all the American people. For the legal immigrants who have come here and obtained their citizenship the RIGHT way. Because there is a right way.

I will not let my anger or skepticism taint my life. I will, however, hold my country to its highest standard. I will continue to fight for the rights of myself and the people around me.

In so doing, I will continue to live on, for Pierce. Pierce lives through me, my family, and all those who knew him.❤️

Living Without You

This is Avery, Pierce’s older sister. I’ve been trying to put into words what it’s like not having Pierce here anymore…and it has been hard for me. I have been trying to keep myself busy because..some days, it’s hard enough just waking up and going about a “normal” day. Somehow, I seem to think that by filling my day with things to do, it keeps it from becoming too quiet, because it’s when it’s quiet that I think about you, Pierce. Or really, I think about you even when it’s not quiet.

I think about you when I go for walks in my neighborhood; you always used to honk at me as you drove by on your way to the gym or work. I always hold my breath and feel like I’m being punched in the gut when I near the crossstreets where you last honked at me, on the morning of the day you died, December 29th. I usually cry when I see that I am nearing that spot. I meant to call you or text you right after that happened and ask what you were doing like I usually did, but for whatever reason, that day, I didn’t.

I think about you when I see FedEx trucks, which is every day. I see them everywhere. On the interstate, in parking lots, at redlights. Some of those times that you would honk at me, you were working during the pre-Christmas rush, driving one of the FedEx vans and you would wave at me.

I think about you when I go to the gym. You were always at the gym. In the days after, I remember getting on a treadmill and just watching my feet go forward. Wondering why everything just kept going. Today I felt overwhelmed by the dozens of TVs, playing commercials and talk shows and political news—all of it, just a bunch of pointless noise. I can’t help but look at the people around me there sometimes and feel so alone. A world full of living people. When I go to the cemetery, everyone there is dead…and I’m somewhere in between the living and the dead.

I’ve felt loss before, even around the same time of year—near Christmas, 10 years ago, but this is a different kind of loss. You were my brother. We were connected.

I remember that night, I was home, watching The Office with my husband. We weren’t told until nearly 3 hours later that you had been killed. Something about them “reconstructing the scene”. I was the first person to the hospital. My husband parked our car and I stood with a fire chief until Tim got back and my mom arrived. I don’t even remember us walking down the hallway, but we ended up in a room where a doctor was just…looking at us.

And there you were, Pierce. If I hadn’t known any better, I would have thought you were just sleeping. How could this be possible?

You were laying on a cold, metal table. You were wearing one of your favorite shirts and you had a tube coming out of your mouth. You still had grass in your hair from where you had been dragged out of what was left of your car and to the side of Chapman Highway. The doctor told us what your cause of death had been. I just remember touching your forehead; I had never seen you be so still in my entire life.

It was later that night that we learned that the man who caused your wreck was here in this country illegally. And that he didn’t once leave his car to try and help you or see if you were okay.

It was around that time that I had to call your best friend, Kashyap, who you used to play basketball with on the court in our backyard. I had to tell him that you didn’t make it. And over the next several minutes, all your friends showed up and had to see your lifeless body…all because of a man who didn’t take personal responsibility seriously. I had to pull the sheet back from your face, Pierce, and show your friends that their lives would never be the same again.

That none of our lives would ever be the same again.

Now, on an almost daily basis, I get called a “racist” by people who can never understand the pain my family has been through and who don’t know a thing about my personal character. People who focus on the lawbreakers themselves and not the laws being broken.

Now, I avoid a certain stretch of road.

Now, when people ask me how I’m doing, I don’t know how to answer, but if I don’t feel like saying, “I’m good.”, I don’t.

Now, when my family goes out to eat, we have to ask for a table for 7 instead of 8.

I can’t even pinpoint all of the things that have changed because there are so many. Things I slowly realize each day and probably will continue to for years to come, the rest of my life.

We will never have another Christmas or birthday with you, Pierce. Never go on another vacation with you. Never help you move into the house you were looking at buying before all of this happened.

I look at pictures of you as a baby because I love seeing your smile, but it also makes me so sad. You are frozen in time. You were so innocent.

Lately, I’ve found myself watching movies and it goes something like this:

This movie came out in 2004. I remember us seeing it in theaters, we were really excited about it and dad got us all out of school early. I was a freshman in high school, so you would have been in elementary school. Did I share my popcorn with you? Was I nice to you that day? I remember being so excited about that movie…but now I wish I hadn’t spent that 2 hours watching it and instead, I had just hung out with you, Pierce. Really hung out and just not been distracted.

I think back on times in our past and wonder why I didn’t appreciate them more and really just…be in the moment. I wish I could go back to when there were three of us: me, Connor and you, Pierce.

You helped Connor and I move into our houses and out of apartments. We never got the chance to help you do something like that. Never got to be in your wedding.

I kind of hate meeting new people now. The “me” that people meet is confusing and I am confused about what to tell them about her. Hi, my name is Avery. I’m…?

Do I tell them about you and what has happened? Or do I pretend that everything is just great? It’s nice when people just know what has happened and offer their condolences; it takes out a lot of the guesswork on my end. Because the only thing more sad than talking about you is not talking about you, Pierce. I don’t like pretending that things are “normal” for people I don’t even know. I don’t see the point in that.

It’s kind of exhausting having these thoughts all the time.

I miss you so much, Pierce.💔

I remember the day of your funeral, we followed you in a hearse to the cemetery. Connor was in the car behind us and I couldn’t help but think…I was in the middle. Pierce, Avery and Connor. That’s how we had always posed for pictures too, with me in the middle.

Mom and dad had to pick out the suit you wore and your casket when they should have been helping you pick out things for a house.

I know you are in a better place now. You are in heaven, but it doesn’t make any of this any easier.

I love you, Pierce.❤️

A Poem for Pierce

The following is a poem, written by my dad, DJ.❤️ He wrote this the other day when thinking about Pierce and he wanted me to share it here on the blog.

Writing has been such a great tool for everyone in my family as we try to heal from the loss of Pierce. Sometimes, there are no words, but other times, it helps to get them out on paper and describe what we have been feeling these last almost 2 months.💔

Gifts From Our Precious Gift

Pierce, you worked so hard during the holidays. A busy time of year for FEDEX employees. We didn’t see you a lot during those weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. When you weren’t working you were at the gym staying committed to your health goals or trying to do your Christmas shopping.

I remember talking to you about not spending too much on everyone. You would come home with gifts for me to wrap and I could see how generous and thoughtful you were being with each gift. You bought Connor a very nice coat because you knew he worked outdoors and worried about him being cold. You bought Avery the most beautiful clothes. Sweaters, scarves, hats and wraps. Each piece exactly her style! You bought Tim some really nice cologne. Something you knew he probably wouldn’t splurge on himself. You got MiMi and Poppy an air fryer so they could cook healthier. 🥰

You bought Jade gifts for her dogs because you know how much they mean to her. You bought her cute clothes and sweet gifts but you were putting money toward a more significant gift. A gift with more meaning. A gift with future dreams and plans attached….. 😢💔

There is still much emptiness and sadness as we long for you. We just can’t make sense of your disappearance from our lives. At times we feel as though we are going crazy. Things that once were routine are a challenge for us. Merely getting out of bed and getting dressed are difficult. How can we live without you? We don’t understand how that’s possible!

Your gifts to your Dad and I have given us much comfort and now take on new meaning as we struggle getting our days started. We begin our day knowing you are here and you are pushing us to get going! You gave your Dad shaving items from “The Art of Shaving” store. He proudly uses them each morning knowing they are from you.

You gave me lotions. Each one labeled with things I need to get through my day: LOVE, FOCUS, COMFORT and SLEEP. All things I need and wondering if you knew I would need them.

Pierce, you were such a gift to our family. We cherish every moment of the 22 years we got to love you and be loved by you. We will never stop missing you but we will get up each day and carry you with us in all we do.

Psalms 147:3

Now Comforted By Friends, Family and Strangers❤️

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Avery began your Justice for Pierce Corcoran page on Jan. 4th. A lot has happened since then. She shared your story at the Capitol triangle in Washington, DC. She did such a great job and her words were very impactful. Each of us takes every opportunity to tell others about you. About your life. Your faith and compassion. The love you had for your family, friends and Jade. Your love of exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Your love of life. We also, sadly, have to talk about your death.

We don’t know why this had to happen to you, but we do know we are compelled to honor you. We don’t always understand it, but we feel your presence and know you are guiding us through our grief. You’ve put us in places we didn’t imagine had any significance at the time, but revealed great comfort and healing through connecting with others.

Each time we find ourselves wondering “Why are we doing this?”, it becomes evident. You brought us to an event we weren’t really sure why we agreed to go to. It just so happened we met the trauma doctor who worked hard to save you. It brought us comfort to hug him and thank him for his efforts.

We knew then why we were there.

It was you! Sending comfort through others! 💜

You were with us while searching

for your brothers “giant” rabbit. As we walked the neighborhood in 20 degree weather wondering how we would find “Barley”, we found something more. We saw a dear man who had also lost his son recently. We cried and prayed together. We’ve found in the midst of great pain there is great love all around us. Many of us are hurting for different reasons, but leaning on our Faith and each other.

We were invited to be guests of Senator Marsha Blackburn and Congressman Tim Burchett at President Trumps State of the Union Address and we were honored to represent you. These trips are hard because returning home we are faced with the reality you are still gone. Nothing we do will bring you back, but we will continue to let God lead us and we will follow, not always knowing why, but knowing God has a plan!

Even in our greatest heartache, we know God is with us and you, dear son, are with him!

Our actions matter! 🇺🇸❤️🙏🏼

31 Days

31 days….

We’ve never been apart for more than a week and even then, we would talk, text, or FaceTime. We long to hear you in our home. There is silence where we once heard your alarm, your footsteps, your razor, your shower, you cooking, you watching sports, you talking on your phone, you yelling goodbye as you grabbed your keys to head to the gym. Your everyday sounds…. now there are no more.

Pierce, you would be amazed by so many wonderful family and friends who have hugged us, cried with us, comforted and encouraged us since you went to heaven. I guess you are aware of it, because so many of the things we’ve experienced can only be Heaven sent.

Our journey over the last 31 days is a blur in many ways. We were in New York with other grieving families, then DC, where your sister spoke of you at the Capitol Triangle, we met with representatives from our state as well as the Vice President of our country. We’ve met with local leaders and have plans to meet others to discuss our concerns.

We don’t know why this happened to you, but we do know we are being led to talk about it. To share your impact on our life for the 22 years we were so blessed with. Our hope is someone’s life is saved or changed by our interactions with others as we share your life.

Sure, some of the places and people we’ve encountered over these days are considered impressive, important and powerful, but they are just people. The really impressive and important people are right here beside us. Our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. So many grieving with us and crying with us because they know we can’t do it alone.

Pierce, you’ve orchestrated some amazing things to comfort us these days. You and God have been busy sending us signs when we least expect it and most need it! We are thankful for them and thankful you guided us to be where we needed to be to receive your messages. We long to be reunited with you. Until that day, we will be your voice as God guides our steps. We love and miss you, our precious son ❤️🙏🏼