I met Diane Cavinder on May 26, 2010. It was awful. Horrific. Words cannot be used to fully express the emotions of that day.
Diane's daughter, Taylor Cavinder, was buried earlier in the day, on what would have been her 17th birthday. She was killed in a one-vehicle accident the Saturday before.
But she came to watch her beloved Kankakee Valley softball team beat Griffith, 3-2, in the Class 3A sectional. Softball is family there.
What do you say to a mother who just lost her daughter?
Diane and her husband, Dave, had tears in their eyes. But Diane smiled like she always did. She had more tough breaks than most anyone I know. But she never stopped fighting, or believing.
I spoke with Diane and her daughter, Morgan, before Mother's Day last summer. Her words and insight were astounding.
Especially since she had just gone through a 10-hour surgery to fight pancreatic cancer.
"People ask me if I'm mad at God and I say, 'No,'" Diane said. "I thank God every day. I am so thankful. I knew I was going to die. I couldn't believe my husband (Dave) and my daughter (Morgan) were going to go through another loss.
"Taylor is up in heaven. She's praying for me. It's all I have."
On Thursday, Diane joined her daughter in heaven. I am sure they are praying for Morgan and Dave right now.
Today, Hanover Central will play at K.V. and it is almost certain a blanket of love will be around that diamond.
In the Kougars opening game of the year against Westville, Diane was in the bleachers when Morgan hit two home runs. Of course she had a smile with a brightness that will light the days of her daughter and husband.
"It's heart-breaking when bad things happen to good people," K.V. softball coach Brian Flynn said. "Diane was always there supporting her daughters. She never stopped fighting. She was a warrior."
Diane understood the power of prayer. Even when the night is darkest, she understood the most important things.
"So many people prayed for me," Diane said last spring. "And I felt every single prayer when I was in there. I still do."
As I started writing this column on Thursday night, my phone rang. It was my sister. She was crying.
My brother, David, was in an accident. I spent all night at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. The thread he hung on was thin. But I felt the power of prayer.
And I know he did, too.
So like the Cavinders, I ask for your prayers. He is in good hands at Christ hospital and he's in Bigger Hands unseen.
I want to tell him I love him again. Amen.