Lilly's Lope

Lilly's Lope Lilly's Lope for Hope is a 5k walk/ run to raise money for su***de prevention education, mental health counseling, and school assemblies.


(installment #4)

Here is where I need to truly thank some people from the absolute bottom of my heart. I don't know if they want to be I won't, but feel free to comment below if you are ok with it.

I can not even imagine being a police officer, first responder, fire fighter...the first to the scene. I think, how many times have they been there to see a family unravel? To see a mother who has just lost her child? How many times have they had to share in a tragedy that wasn't theirs? It's truly unfair if you really think about it. The nightmares that they must be haunted by, only because their calling in life includes pain of an unmeasurable sort. I truly thank the police officer that was there that day. Not only did he handle our tragedy, he went on for several more years and would reach out in many ways to help us heal...and maybe himself as well.

So much of 'that day' is a blur. I am certain that I have been protected in a way from the pain of it all, and really don't recall much of it. I do remember some. I remember going to my dad and Dianna's home, sitting on the porch and just holding my sister. I know that she felt so frail to me that day...I remember that our Pastor came out to pray for us...I know that I was not able to pray for myself... I know that Jodi Russell and Amie came by, just to hug us. I know that Tina Nunn came as well, she was really a second mom to Lilly and I remember being jealous that she had gotten so much more time with her than I had, and I know that she was breaking inside too. Eventually we had to leave, what else could we do? I remember nothing else of that day, I don't remember the drive home, getting into bed, or stopping crying. I know I must have.

The next morning I remember so well. We went and picked up Shaylee from Shelly's house. At the age of 5, almost 6, Shay was all too aware that something was not right. I remember my throat feeling so tight and full...and my thoughts were all over the place. To look into that sweet little face and tell her that she would never see her cousin again was too much. And when we did tell her...I remember that she had the same question that I still have 8 years later. 'But, why?' Oh Lord I have cried out that question since the moment it happened. But, why? Why her? Why didn't she ask for help? Why didn't she know how much we loved her? Why didn't she think of her mom, her brother, her sister and friends???? I know that our life slowly moved forward from that October day. I know that we 'celebrated' holidays for the other kids, but our hearts were certainly not in it those first years. I know we were numb for days, months, years...I know though too that the miracles that God showed us all that first year were too precious not to mention...and maybe that will be my next writing. The signs from Heaven.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for caring about our journey. If you think of it, thank an officer for all of what his or her job entails. Because it certainly isn't just the traffic tickets.


I had great intentions of writing this post yesterday. I know myself well, and I am certain that I was just avoiding something painful. I make things up in my head...'Is anyone reading it anyways?' You are so tired...just go to bed...
But, I believe completely that I am writing to someone out there who needs to hear it. So here it goes.

The drive out to Blodgett is a blur. That's where my sister lives. That's where it happened. Within 20 minutes of us leaving Corvallis I was already getting texts and calls on my phone. Social media. Scanner calls. Concerned people. My first thoughts were, we can't go get Shay. I can't tell her. How do you tell a 5-year-old what su***de is? For God's sake, how do you tell anyone? I will tell you right now, without a single doubt in my heart, God was with us all that day. He was experiencing our grief right alongside us and protecting us in any way possible. Shay was at her 'other mother's' house...(and thanks to Shelly Brown for holding it all together for her for that day and night, until we could pick her up.)

I truly don't even remember Ty with us. As a parent, that is hard to own. I can forgive myself, knowing that at this point my grief was so overwhelming for myself I could not focus on a single other person. Thank God Tracy was there. I couldn't stop sobbing. I couldn't catch my breath. Cresting the hill near my sister's home I could see crime tape, police cars, and gobs of people. I saw my dad. My stepmom. My niece. I saw pain. What do you do? There's no place to 'go'. My niece. Lilly. I actually couldn't believe it had happened. It's curious how your mind, when presented with something so painful, tries desperately to protect you. Ideas of an armed robber coming in and killing her was a more comforting thought than su***de. That is where I went. It couldn't have been HER choice. She had it all together. She was popular. Beautiful. Silly. She had great friends. No. This couldn't have been su***de. They, the cops, the other people had made a mistake. I was certain of it.

I was wrong.


(this is in addition to yesterdays post)
The drive was incredible heading towards Corvallis. We went past a small farm where someone was out burning a pile of tree trimmings...the smoke was heavy around the fire and sunbeams were streaming through. Not a cloud in the sky, but because of the smoke we could see the sunbeams. I always would tell the kids when there would be heavy clouds and a small break where the sun was shining through that God was taking someone to Heaven. Seeing the sunbeams that day made me smile, 'I guess God takes people to Heaven even on sunny days.' Looking back now, I can see so many ways God was showing me his love. He knew what horror I was about to endure. He was giving me a gift in having this thought of Heaven.

We were only about ten minutes from coming into South town Corvallis when my phone rang. Seeing that it was my stepmom, I picked it up and said hello. I could barely understand a word. She was howling, sobbing, crying out for me to come. Come where? Come and fix her. Come and fix her. I was so confused, the raw emotions that I could feel from her scared me...What are you talking about?? I was yelling into the phone. Ty was sitting beside me "Mom, what's wrong?" Urgency in his voice. Tracy's office was close, so I headed there...literally only two minutes away. The call got dropped and as I'm driving frantically to get to Tracy, I'm also trying to call her back. Ty is scared. I am scared. And so confused.. I know I called her back, I know we talked...but what was said I have no memory. I made it to Tracy's office and I don't even know how he knew to come out to the parking lot. At some point I handed him the phone and told him he needed to take Ty...Lilly had gotten hurt...I needed to get to the hospital. This part I remember so clearly. As he was on the phone with Dianna...he just looked at me with absolute pain and sympathy in his eyes and shook his head 'no'. 'Yes!' I screamed back, 'I have to get to the hospital' he continued to shake his head no...I am certain he must have said the words that she was gone, or something like that...but the next thing I knew I had collapsed onto the pavement. I did not, I could not, help Ty with his fears and sadness. I could not think of anything other than my absolute gut punch grief I was feeling. There is no way to describe this...and I pray that not any of you reading this has experienced it. It was like I was being torn into a million pieces. The pain was unbearable. It was just the beginning.

This is so hard to express...but I truly believe that if anyone out there wonders for even a second if you will be missed or if anyone cares...the answer is YES. I care. I pray and pray that our youth know their value and their worth...that they know that the God of all creation has a unique plan for them!!! I will write more of my story tomorrow.


This week has been hard. I have been trying desperately to avoid the emotions that are battling to overflow from my isn't working. You may have read my son's post from yesterday. Ty May spoke from his heart about his battles with the why's and the memories. His courage and ability to be vulnerable makes me so thankful that A)he was able to express something painful and B) put himself out there. He is strong.

It has been on my heart and mind for quite some time to write about my experience that day, and the weeks that followed...but my fear of sharing something so personal has held me back. My son has given me the courage. Over the next several days I will be writing a small piece of my own personal experience and what happened. Maybe it will resonate with someone, and they will make a different choice than Lilly did...and so so many others have.

Here it goes:

October 23, 2013
The weather was incredible. Just what any Oregonian would want in late October! The sunshine was out and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was a Wednesday. Kids in Philomath only had a half-day that day, Ty was in the 3rd grade...such a cutie! He had a special Halloween party to go to at the grandma's house of some school friends. Shaylee had gone over to the Brown's house to play after school. She and Coco were such good buddies, and Aunt Shelly never minded the extra girl. The plan for Ty was to make and decorate sugar cookies! Needless to say, he was excited, and I was even more excited because I didn't have to be the one baking. He had a dental appointment though at around 4pm (if I am remembering correctly) so I had to run out past Monroe and pick him up. It was a longer drive than I was thinking it would be...but it was beautiful. The fall colors that year were exceptional. I truly remember thinking that...crazy how trauma will freeze a memory you never normally would have held onto. After picking Ty up, we headed for the dentist.

More tomorrow.

Today marks 8 years since Lilly died.  I wish I could say it gets easier, but the truth is you just learn to adjust.  Yo...

Today marks 8 years since Lilly died. I wish I could say it gets easier, but the truth is you just learn to adjust. You don’t hurt any less…the shock is just gone. The numbness takes hold, and that’s the real difference. I can still remember that day as clearly as if it were yesterday. I remember the weather, the drive, the phone call. The phone call. I could tell you statistics all day long regarding teen su***de, I can teach classes to alert you to risks and signs of someone contemplating it, but if you ever want to just talk…I’ll share my story and you can share yours. I’m here to listen to you. I’m here for a hug. I’m here to help others never get the call I got 8 years ago.

Today marks 8 years since Lilly died. I wish I could say it gets easier, but the truth is you just learn to adjust. You don’t hurt any less…the shock is just gone. The numbness takes hold, and that’s the real difference. I can still remember that day as clearly as if it were yesterday. I remember the weather, the drive, the phone call. The phone call. I could tell you statistics all day long regarding teen su***de, I can teach classes to alert you to risks and signs of someone contemplating it, but if you ever want to just talk…I’ll share my story and you can share yours. I’m here to listen to you. I’m here for a hug. I’m here to help others never get the call I got 8 years ago.


Stay your kids kind to yourself. (All things I need to hear, and so I am sure some of you do as well 🤍)


My heart is breaking for the kids that are forced to navigate homeschooling and no activities. Does anyone have any ideas for me that may be a helpful way to bring hope to these kids right now?? I am so worried about them and their mental health.


This year I was excited to do something new...not a virtual run!!! LOL, I was going to have different colored beaded necklaces available to anyone who was willing to wear and show by their color how su***de had affected them. I am still wanting to somehow do this in a small way....Please comment below with the color heart that shows who has left you by su***de.
❤️-parent lost to su***de
🤍-any other family member, not listed above.

Thank you for participating. Let's stand together...recognizing that far too many of us have lost someone to a tragic, painful death. 💗


If you have a donation for the online auction for this year's Lope I am ready to accept them!!! Either just drop them at my house with a value estimate or message me on here and I will come and grab it! Thank you so much!!!


So, not sure exactly what this years Lilly's lope will look like...but I am forging ahead as if it will be the same as the previous years! I am asking for help though, as I did not get a chance to do the art contest for the t-shirt design like I did last year. Please share and hopefully we can have some great entries!!!

T-shirt art contest open to all of last years 6th through 8th graders.
1) must be on 8 1/2 x 11 paper
2) must be a positive depiction of HOPE
3) must be submitted no later than August 1st to my PO BOX 1585 Philomath Oregon or scanned and emailed to [email protected]
4) artwork can be just pencil or color

Winner will recieve a variety of fun gift cards and goodies!! The artwork will be displayed on the front of this years t-shirt and winner will get a free t-shirt and sweatshirt with their masterpiece on it!!! Open to kids in Philomath, Kings Valley, Alsea, and Corvallis schools!!! Please please encourage those artists you know to submit!!


I have been wanting to post something on here for awhile now...I am usually starting the planning for the 5k by now. I would have started to contact the local small businesses and companies for sponsorship, would have gotten the route approved through the city, started acquiring the running company and insurance needed. Instead I have been praying and thinking about how does this year need to look? My heart goes out to the local small businesses that are struggling to pay wages and keep their doors open. So, instead of asking them to support the Lope this year...I instead want to ask all of you to support them. The Lilly's Lope has had such generosity over the last 6 years that I am not going to be asking for financial donations this year. We will use some of the money that we have in excess to cover fees associated with the run. The run will still happen (as long as permitted) and if people and businesses would like to donate that would be fine. Truly we have been blessed and I would love to just thank all the businesses that have helped in the past...please join me and support them now. They have financially supported this cause for years!
Here are the businesses that have been faithful to support us over the last 6 years (in no particular order :)
True Value
Albins Plumbing
Dairy Queen
Figaros Pizza
Miller Timber
Hendrix Heating
Two Towns Cider
Precision Approach Engineering
JD McGee Engineering
Xtreme Grafx
M&W Electric
ShaneCo Timber
Outwest Farm and Ranch
West Coast Machine
R3 Engraving
MidValley Gravel
Hanson Insurance
Diamond Clean
Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center
* I am soooo sorry if I have missed anyone!!!

Thank you all for incredible love and support over the years...we will all get through this, together!!!



Anyone interested in a free su***de prevention class??? QPR
Would last about an hour and half.
Time and Place TBD

Rainbows on sunny days... — Lilly's Lope

Morning thoughts...

I picked this title because it has such meaning for me. Since my niece has passed I see things I never saw before. The sky is more brilliant in the evenings, the sunrises have more shades of pinks and oranges than ever before. And I have seen more rainbows on sunny days than I can count. I belie


PO Box 1585
Philomath, OR


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This came across my feed today. I won't go into detail about the memory of her passing. Just wanted to give praise for the families struggle and strength. I lit the white candle for Lilly. Burning the white sage for Lilly's mom, Nikki and the lavender for Lilly. I remember. Tomorrow will come.
What time does the 5k begin?
Where can I find the race information
Nurses to the rescue! This year, ONA nurses in Corvallis pitched in to sponsor Lilly's Lope--a race to raise money for local su***de prevention education and mental health counseling--after Samaritan Health Services ended its sponsorship in 2018. Learn more about why we need to continue funding non-profits like Lilly's Lope to ensure all children have access to high-quality mental health care.
"There is Always Hope." This oil painting will be at the auction of this year's event. I was inspired by Lily's love of horses, the idea of strength in numbers, and the eternal hope of a sunrise that God gifts to us daily. See you all at the run!
Time to register...and thank you all for the incredible amount of love and support that my family has gotten over the years and continues to get. Without all of you none of this could have happened.
Huge thank you to Agwest supply for there donation for this years Lope