One Year Gone

One year ago, early in the morning,
had one stood still and listened,
they would have heard
the whisper of angel’s wings
passing through the dark clouds.

You were awake,
ready and waiting,
pacing back and forth,
wondering what it was
you were feeling.
Something was happening,
you felt a tug, a pull,
a pounding heart,
but what was it, really?

Suddenly you realized
it was the voice of Jesus calling,
“Come home, my son!”
Lifting your face to the sky you replied,
“I’m coming, Jesus, I am coming!”

As softly as a feather
they lighted beside you
lying prone on the floor.
Lifting you gently into their arms,
with a soft flutter of wings
they took flight,
rising through the clouds,
whisking you away
to meet the One
who had called your name.

It was at that moment,
time stood still.
For you and for us.

I have no doubt the last year for you
has been so much better than ours.

Yours has been a day that has only begun.
Beginning with that flight on angel’s wings,
bursting into the golden light surrounding the city
and passing through the gates of pearl.
What a beautiful sight
your blue eyes must have beheld.
The streets of gold, the mansions glorious,
such beauty of which has never been told.

And there before you stood Jesus,
his nail pierced hands outstretched,
waiting for your entrance.
He had been watching you,
waiting for the moment of your arrival.
His eyes shining with love,
He reached and with a single touch,
you were made whole.

Falling to your knees,
you worshiped in praise and adoration,
in a way our finite minds cannot imagine.
Your day of glorious praise has only begun.

On that morning,
our day began completely different.
Bent low with grief,
our hearts were racked with pain.
Our beloved Tris had flown away
and we were left behind.
We cried out in anguish,
“Why Jesus, Why?”

We have spent the year
fighting for breath,
wondering how we will be able
bear this pain another day.
Tears have flown freely through
many sleepless nights,
we lie wondering,
“Will we live to see the dawn?”

We have spent the year
in awe of our faithful God
and his ways of carrying us through this.
The comfort and prayers of friends,
calls and whispered words.
Sweet peace in the middle of the storm,
which one knows only comes from above.
Days of weary battle
end with a beautiful rainbow in the sky.
Quiet moments, verses of Scripture,
a message just for us.

We have spent the year
missing you dreadfully.
The ache, the hole,
just gets bigger and bigger.
So many memories you have missed,
so many family times
when we longed to see you walk in.
Birthdays, anniversaries, Father’s day,
all passed by missing you.
You lived life so big,
so loud, so full,
and you are missed
in the very same way.

If I imagine you today,
it’s standing on those golden streets,
dressed in a glorious white robe,
praising Jesus.
Your arms lifted high,
you sway from one foot the other,
singing at the top of your lungs.

I imagine when it is our time to come
you’ll be right behind Jesus,
waiting at that gate to welcome us home.
Until then, we’ll keep fighting.
See you soon little brother.

He has achieved







He is There

Life feels heavy, weighed down with sorrow and pain.
So much sadness, so many deaths, untimely in our minds.
Yet in the middle of the mess, there is Jesus,
ever present, holding us up, carrying us, crying with us.
Never forget this!


This writing, born in deep sorrow,
yet in the middle of the never ending pain,
there is the comforting knowledge
that I am not alone, ever,
because He is there.


He Is There

When the pain is excruciating,
you are ripped open,
left wounded, raw and bleeding.
When the ache goes deep,
down to the very core of the heart.
When every beat of your heart
pounds with the pain,
He is there.

Jesus is there, He stands beside us,
not simply as a sympathetic bystander
silently watching our suffering,
but He is also in pain,
feeling the rake over the wound.
He is not only a comforting, soothing spirit,
He is experiencing our agony
to the very core of his being,
taking our pain as His own.

When we lie in a heap, heart aching and torn,
Jesus lies there too, throbbing with pain.
When we cry into our pillow at night,
torrents of tears welling up like rain,
Jesus cries too, He feels our sorrow.
When we sit in the shadows and silently weep,
Jesus sits along side, weeping with us.
He is there.

The ache of death,
the cut of a word,
abuse of a child,
lonely, hungry,
cold, tired,
weary and worn.
Every time,
every place,
He is there,
experiencing the very pain
felt by man.
He is there.

His crucifixion stretches,
never ending through the years.
In every moment of pain and suffering
He feels the whip lash his back,
feels the scorn and abuse.
He cries a thousand tears on our behalf,
kneeling beside us in agony as we grieve.
He is there.

Someday there will be an end of suffering,
of death, of crying, of pain, of heartache,
a beautiful ending with a resurrection.
Resurrected with him,
made new,
just as He was.

Until then,
He is there.

Six Months Later

Dear Tris,

Six months after you’re gone
finds us missing you still.
If possible, even more
than we did the day you left.

Six months later we have moments
when we smile and enjoy life again,
but no sooner then we laugh,
we remember our heartache.
You are always in the back of our minds,
never far from our thoughts
the ache of missing you clings close.

In our finite mind we wish
for just a few more moments with you.
However, knowing where you are,
could we really wish you back
to this sin cursed, cold and dark earth
filled with pain and sadness?

Your day has only begun,
the glories are immeasurable around you.
Forever springtime, flowers blooming
and gentle breezes blowing through the trees.
Green grass, fields of wheat, infinite beauty,
a feast for the eyes in every direction you look.

Heavenly sky

A stroll by the river of life brings a smile.
So many people to greet, to watch, to talk with,
you are enjoying every minute.
Martyrs and saints of old,
stories come alive in their presence.
You listen, you ask questions and finally,
you have answers so long wondered over.

A child’s hand tucks in yours as you stroll,
you look down and smile knowing
exactly whose hand you are holding.

As you walk along the street of gold,
your legs don’t ache, you don’t get tired,
for perfect health is yours as you stroll for miles.
You swoop the child into your arms
as you continue your journey.

Far in the distance is the sound of singing.
You hum along and whistle a few bars as you walk
and the closer you get, the clearer the melody.
Praises to Jesus, beautiful, glorious music,
a new song unlike anything you have ever heard.
You join the group, standing straight and tall
and with your head held high,
you sway back and forth as you belt it out,
acclamation to Jesus with the choir as one voice.

You move through the throngs,
anxious to see the one whom you adore.
As the choir lifts it’s voice in hallelujahs
your eyes behold the King in all His glory.
His nail pierced hands outstretched to you,
welcoming you into his embrace.
As the light of the Son surrounds you with glory,
you kneel at His feet in worship and know,
you are HOME.


Save a place for me, I’ll be there soon.

Four Months

Never has time been so long.
Never has time been so short.
It feels like yesterday we heard you laugh,
yesterday we saw you come through the door.
But it feels like years since we heard your voice,
saw your smile, and heard you sing.

Never a road so hard,
so wearisome, so tiring, so dark.
Darkness is the absence of light
and light left our lives when you took flight.
Weary to the bone, tired of the weight on our mind,
wondering how to walk this path,
how do we go on with an ache so great?

Never a day goes by that we don’t imagine your face.
Never a day that we don’t smile at a memory.
We miss you so much, so very much.
You were larger then life and
took up such a big part of our hearts.
A Tris shaped hole forever remains.

Tris 5x7

Never a day that we don’t wonder what you are seeing,
hearing, singing, and laughing about up there.
I am sure your happiness knows no bounds
as you belt out praises to Jesus.
Four months of splendor are a drop in the bucket,
you have only begun to see the glories.

Never have we shed so many tears.
Never has the pain gone so deep.
Never have we grieved as we do,
but it’s all the price of love.
We would never have chosen to love you less,
never given up a minute of time with you.
In return, this grief we carry
is because of our love for you.
We will walk this road bravely,
head to the wind, facing the fight,
in honor of you, whom we loved so dearly.

To Bless Him

The road He led me to travel started smoothly,
rough along the edges at times,
but quite easy to traverse.
I blessed His name as I walked.

Small pieces of stone developed over time,
larger ones tripped me up occasionally.
Trustingly I stretched out my hand for His,
placing my faith in Him to keep me steady.
I praised His name.

Over time a few rolling hills loomed in the distance.
I placed one foot in front of the other
and with the help of His hand,
climbed steadily up,
the path still relatively smooth.
Bless you Lord, for this life of mine.

Peeking over a rolling hill one day,
I saw a valley lying before me.
Though the task of crossing looked great,
with my hand in His, I knew we could make it.
When I tripped, He lifted, when I fell, He caught me,
and together we made it to the other side.
Thank you Lord, for crossing with me.

Day followed day, months turned into years,
still we walked on.
Nothing seemed impossible for us together.
Bless you Lord, for all you do for me.


And then one day with His hand in mine,
we crested a mountain ridge,
the scene before me was dark and ugly.
A deep ravine, a chasm so wide
the other side could not be seen through the fog.
Fallen logs, swift moving streams,
cliffs, boulders and danger blocked my path,
night as dark as ink filling every crevice.
“Lord,” I cried as I pulled my hand from His,
“I cannot bless your name!
This road you have asked me to travel
is more than I can bear.”

I fell into a heap, tears coursing my face.
“I cannot cross this great divide,
the way is too rough,
the pain too much to carry,
the road too hard to travel.
I cannot bless your name,
what reason have I?”

As I wept, a gentle hand tugged mine.
With care He lifted me to my feet
and pulled me into His embrace.
In a soft voice he whispered,
“You don’t have to cross this valley alone.
I will carry you when you cannot walk.”
Only a tiny sigh touched my lips.

Together we started down,
the road ripped deep into the earth,
filled with pain beyond compare.
Many days were spent struggling,
only moving one step forward.
Tears fell freely,
but a gentle hand was there to wipe them away.
Blood spilled from the wounds in my feet,
with tender care he bound them.
But nary a word of blessing
crossed my lips as we climbed,
only cries of grief and anguish.

We pressed on day after day,
crossing that great divide.
Always, as he had promised,
He walked with me,
when I could no longer move,
He carried me, faithfully there.
And finally one day I quietly spoke,
“I bless you Lord,
not yet for the path on which I walk,
but for the hand that holds mine.
For this, I bless you.”

©Shannon Hostetler

Happy Birthday Tris

Happy heavenly Birthday Tris.

Tris party

I can’t believe Nov 3 is here and you aren’t.
Who would have thought we would celebrate
your 33rd birthday without you?
You never were one for big birthday parties,
but sorry man, we’re having one this year.
We’re going to bake cupcakes, decorate them,
and let the kids spit all over them
while they blow the candles out.
We’ll sing happy birthday to you and laugh at your jokes.
We’ll look around to find you and then remember where you are.
Makes me wonder what kind of celebration
you are having up there.

Tris ice-cream

There will be ice-cream, of that I am sure
because a birthday is not a birthday without ice-cream,
according to you.
Not just any ice-cream though,
homemade ice-cream was the absolute best.
If it wasn’t homemade, it must be soft.
We would get out the container
and everyone would scoop theirs up.
When we were finally ready to put it away,
there you would sit, waiting patiently.
“Aren’t you getting any ice-cream?” we would ask,
even though we already knew you were.
“Yep! Be right there. Just waitin’ on it to get good and soft!”
I think we’ll need to pull out the ice-cream machine
for this birthday of yours.
I don’t think you had a happier weekend
then that one back in June
when we ate ice-cream all weekend from the ice cream machine.
There just isn’t any other way to celebrate
then with what you loved best, so ice-cream it will be.
I wonder if heaven has ice-cream.

Tris porch

We’ll have a good meal for your birthday too.
You were always up for good food,
“That was about the best meal I ever had.” you would say.
You didn’t care for all the fancy things,
just something plain and simple made you happy.
We might celebrate with a big plate
heaping full of beef tips and gravy over mashed potatoes.
Maybe we’ll grill a good steak, just the way you liked it.
We’ll throw in some hot wings for good measure
because we know how much you loved those too.
We’ll skip the veggies, the salad
and the fruit for today, in honor of you.
We’ll all eat up and lean back and say,
“Man, that was good!”
A common comment from you was,
“No one can cook as good as Lisa! My wife makes the best food!”
I wonder what you’re having today!
I wish our imagination was good enough
to see half of your birthday meal up there.

Tris jeepin

Since it’s not so cold out,
we could all go for a long jeep ride tonight.
Back to the cabin, through the woods,
we might even hit a mud hole or two,
just for old times sake.
The kids could bounce along in the back,
having the time of their life.
How does that new gold jeep ride up there?
Pretty smooth compared to that old Willys you had?
Although I’m sure you wouldn’t trade the gold one,
we would love to see you drive that Willys one more time.

Tris shop

I guess we could all go hang out in the shop
to celebrate your birthday.
We could invite all the guys you loved to talk with,
guys that stopped in on a Saturday,
guys that would call for advice, with a question or just to chat.
There is a lot of tinkering we could do up there.
Did you ever just sit still when you were in the shop?
There was always a motor to be torn into,
tools to arrange, a floor to sweep,
the dirt bike to fix, a jeep to repair, or a tractor to fix.
There were kids to entertain,
tools to collect that they had drug around,
some junk food for them to snack on,
or Sunny D for them to sip.
We might plug in the stop light that you were so proud of,
and just watch it glow in the dark.
Are there tools in heaven? Anything to tinker on?
A golf cart to fix or someone’s tractor?
I’m sure you’re in the middle of it, if there is.

Tris swing

Maybe instead of jeepin’ or hanging out at the shop,
we’ll just stretch out on the couch
with a toothpick in our mouth after our good meal.
We’ll all pull out our phones
and check Craig’s list for a good deal.
Pretty soon we’ll drop our phones
and take a little snooze in honor of you.
You must have slept lightly because you still seemed to hear
every conversation that was going on around you.
After a bit, you would whip your legs around, sit up and say,
“Well boys, let’s get this show on the road!”
Are there toothpicks in heaven?

Tris table

But most of all for your birthday,
we would just love to sit around the table with you
and listen to you talk and laugh.
Oh, just to hear another story that you so loved to tell.
We would all interrupt and soon you would say,
“As I was saying …” and pull everyone’s attention back to your story.
We would love to sit and watch you stick your toothpick
in the candle and turn it into a mess.
All we would really want for your birthday is
one more hug, one more laugh,
just one more evening with you.
We miss you so
and selfishly we wish you back,
just for one more time.

Tris relaxed

Happy birthday Tris.
I hope it was thee absolute most
grandest birthday celebration you have ever had!

Life of Grief

My mind whirls endlessly,
never ending questions without answers,
fighting reality, grasping for hope.

And then without warning, a London fog rolls in
and my mind stops on it’s on accord,
unable to process the most simple things.

Tears push behind my eyes, but refuse to fall.
The next minute tears well up ceaselessly,
a never ending stream.

Life continues to go on around me,
even when I feel like it stopped.

The last few weeks would best be described with a photo a day.
I do have a photo for every day,
but I won’t be sharing them all for various reasons.


On the darkest of days, friends and family rally around to lift you.


The days following the funeral were filled with
shiny stars, beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and much more.


We stood in the lawn one afternoon and watched God
paint a rainbow right before our eyes.


There were days spent in Tris’ shop,
looking through his tools, laughing at his jokes
remembering him in his favorite spot.


Glowing evening sunshine warmed us,
dried our tears, and drew us closer to heaven.


There were quiet evenings around the fire,
reflecting, talking about Tris and all of our good memories.


Tris was a junk food junkie and his work truck was full of snacks.
Sarita and I went to his favorite store and loaded up on his favorite stuff.


More time spent in his shop,
checking out his next projects and remembering better days.


And one last early morning visit,
saying good-bye before I went home.


Blogging may be sporadic until I get my thoughts together again.
I don’t want to bog you down with my mountain of grief,
but neither do I want to write like it never happened.
It has very much effected our lives and changed us forever.

Keep praying for our family,
it looks like Mt Everest was dropped in front of us
and is waiting to be climbed.