Our lives were forever changed the day we lost Corey. He was an amazing man who loved the Lord and his family with all that he was. The pain of losing him is like no other. Our only comfort comes from knowing we will see him again someday.

I have moved the slideshow played at Corey's service to it's own post page above, titled "Corey's Memorial Service - August 10, 2010"

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Out of the Darkness (details surrounding Corey's death)

Psalm 36: 5-9
Your Love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, 
your faithfulness to the skies. 
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, 
your justice like the great deep. 
O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. 
How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. 
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights. 
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light. 

        On Saturday, October 16th my friend's daughter, Andrea, will be participating in the Out of Darkness community walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
        She will be walking in Corey's honor.
On Thursday night, August 5th, Corey lost his battle with depression. None of us, not even those closest to him (myself included) saw coming what would be his end. Corey struggled with this illness for at least 4 to 5 years before God rescued him from the darkness when He welcomed him into Heaven's light. Corey loved his family very much. So many of the details that I have uncovered from his last few days point to this fact, including the fact that Corey waited until the girls and I were not home when he took his life (we were 90 minutes away, gone for an overnight stay out of town with my mom).
        For many of you, knowing how Corey died only brings more questions. How did he get to this horrible place of making such a horrific decision to end his life?  "Everything seemed fine with Corey," people say to me. Corey struggled with clinical depression. For those who haven't experienced this level of "the blues", it is more than just being "down" for a few days. Clinical depression produces physical symptoms that accompany the depressed feelings. Lack of energy and motivation, changes with appetite, anxiety in the form of heart palpitations and chest pains...just to name a few (you've all seen the drug commercials)...real symptoms that can produce real problems with daily life. People who suffer with such a condition can be very good at masking it. I know because I also struggle with depression. Fortunately my treatment regimen is working effectively. However, before I started taking meds my depression had me in a very dark place. The task of trying to appear okay while around other people was just plain exhausting. Corey's words to me over the phone just minutes before he died expressed his fatigue at battling his symptoms when he said, "I appreciate all you've tried to do for me, but I'm tired. I just can't do it anymore." Those with depression are sometimes able to keep their symptoms "contained", so to speak, for periods of time...such as throughout a work day...only to come home and be hardly able to function. Instead of being able to get rejuvenated, the downward spiral often only continues making the next day that much harder to get through.
        Why am I sharing all this with you? Because I, along with many others, believe that there is a stigma attached to mental illness that I hope to help dispel. Mental illness (depression included) is a real illness like any other...just as heart disease or diabetes are illnesses that must be managed effectively or can result in death. The brain is an organ just like any other in the body.  In the days following Corey's death, a good friend encouraged me to bring the cause of Corey's death out into the light because there are so many more people that struggle with this type of illness than is talked about openly. Again, there is a stigma attached to depression and other mental illnesses that causes people to try to hide their problem - sometimes in shame because they feel their symptoms are a sign of weakness.
        My husband was a good man who was dearly loved by "his girls" and so many others, and he is sorely missed. I promised to do whatever I could to bring good out of his death.  Sharing our story is part of that effort. Things in Corey's life were not okay...he was struggling with a great deal of inner turmoil. As I stated at his funeral, God was in all the details surrounding Corey's death. He was there in the moments just prior. Please understand that I do not believe the choice Corey made was the right solution to his problems. I also know that it was not God's desire to see Corey make the choice that he did.  And yes, God is powerful enough that he could have stopped Corey in his fatal tracks. That was not His plan and I can't tell you why.  I can however be at peace knowing that the God I know and love is faithful and wise and works together for good all things for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). I had shared with someone that the deeper my valley, the more God has poured out his grace and mercy in my life. This led me to question then, where was God's provision in the depths of Corey's valley? The answer came through a friend who said that it was as if God said, "Enough, you've suffered enough Corey. I'm going to allow this to happen (his death) so you can come home and be completely healed." What grace and mercy! 

        To Corey~
Isaiah 60:19-20
"The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,

and your God will be your glory.

Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end."
        I love you more than words can say Corey.  Abigail's words: "Mommy is happy about daddy's new life."  I am so happy you have been set free!  I only wish it wasn't so hard for all of us down here to live without you! 

        Thank you all for following my blog and allowing me to share all of this with you. I have simply one request (or maybe 2 ;)). As I've mentioned before, my utmost concern with sharing these details openly is that "little ears", particularly Abigail and Allison's will overhear information about Corey's death that is beyond their level of understanding. We never know when innocent ears might be listening in on our conversations and what children might, without meaning harm, say to one of my kids. Out of respect for our family, would you please be cautious when discussing these circumstances with others. I would prefer that you use my blog as the forum for discussion about the details surrounding Corey's death. Would you also please encourage others not to speculate about details I have not shared with you all personally.  It is natural to want to discuss tragic events, but I really don't want to see rumors started. If you have any questions you want to ask me, please feel free to ask, either through email (corjilly@gmail.com) or you can post a comment (I monitor these before they are visible to all). If it is a question I am not comfortable answering, I'll let you know :))

        Thank you also for your patience with me. I know I haven't posted anything for over a week. This post was a "biggie" and I've been working on it for days now...What a relief to be able to finally hit the publish button! :))  I have to say, it feels very freeing to bring all of this out of the darkness and into the light! Thanks for walking this journey with me. God has truly been carrying the girls and I each step of the way.
        Okay, one more thing and then I'm done for the night...really! Below is the link to Andrea's personal support page for the Out of the Darkness walk.  She is a teenager with a tender heart...much like Corey's. I would love for her to feel supported in her efforts toward such a great cause! She also wrote some sweet words about Corey's influence in her life.  Be sure to check it out:
                                               Much love to you all!