Although it’s hard to see past the darkness, 40-year-old Karen Sparks wants you to know the light will always shine.
Sparks would give anything for this not to be her story. Her children, 9-year-old Reagan and 8-year-old Grant, were the light of her life. “Just full of life and so fun,” Karen said.
Three years ago, Karen was sharing custody while going through a divorce. It was her weekend to have the kids and their father was supposed to drop them off but never did.
“He murdered my children and killed himself,” Karen said.
Karen was drowning in grief and not a soul on earth could understand her pain. “I’m living, yet dying. Breathing, yet suffocating. Laughing, yet crying,” said Karen.
For the longest time, Karen prayed that she would never meet a mother like her. Although, selfishly, she longed for anyone who could fathom what she was going through. That’s when a message came across her Facebook page.
It was from a woman in Lubbock named Cybil Buxkemper. It read, in part, ‘Hi Karen, I'm so sorry you personally know what I'm going through. This is a hell we should never have to endure, but through it all God is good.’
Like Karen, Cybil had two beautiful angels with firecracker personalities, 5-year-old Garret and 23-month old Avery.
And like Karen, Cybil was in the middle of a divorce. She was sharing custody and was on the way to pick up her kids when she found them, murdered by their father before he turned the gun on himself.
"The night I found them I swore that I would never find someone else like me," Cybil said. That's when she found Karen through Facebook.
"We clicked instantly,” Cybil said.
They were suddenly two good friends who wished they'd never met. But as they grieved together, they healed together. They talked about how their children's smiles, love and laughter impacted so many people.
But more than anything, they realized this did not have to be their children's final chapter. Their lives were worth so much more.
“This event will not define my life,” Cybil said. “I am a mother and my children are waiting on me and proud of me, but this event will not define me.”
To that end, Cybil now raises money for the Ronald McDonald House, to help children just like Garret and Avery.
And Karen started a group called The Great Root Movement, in memory of Grant and Reagan, to walk alongside those who are hurting.
“Their story is worth telling and that because of this their lives will not just be forgotten, and we're going to use it to help other people,” Cybil said.
“The light outshines the darkness and I will not allow that light to die out,” Karen said.
When these two women became mothers, they obviously thought their children could one day live to change the world and by shining their light, now we know, they will.