For three years after losing her daughter Jenna in a car wreck, Sharon Cockrell said she and her husband, Bryan, didn't decorate their home for Christmas.
Jenna was nearly 15 when she left church on Aug. 5, 2001, with 17-year-old Daniel Jones headed for lunch with friends.
Instead, Jones' car veered across the Interstate 20 median into oncoming traffic. Both were killed.
Six years later, Cockrell said she still has good days and bad days. She still can't watch video of her daughter, who was an active athlete at Augusta Christian Schools.
"I have a real pet peeve with that phrase, 'time is a healer,' because that is not true," Cockrell said.
"Time is an instrument that the Lord uses to bring healing into people's lives. But he is the healer."
On Friday, Cockrell will share her story of losing a child with other parents who have lost children at the second annual A Time for Special Remembrance service at Christ's Sanctified Holy Church in Evans. The 7 p.m. service is open to all parents who have lost a child of any age.
Debra Allsup organized the service last year after losing her 13-year-old daughter, Katie Ridenhour, to cancer three days after Christmas 2005.
"I wanted to somehow bring everyone together, because I feel like we have a connection, a link, that other people, even friends and family members don't have -- to know how it feels to lose a child," Allsup said.
"Also, I wanted to do it to honor (Katie's) life, what she taught me and how she lived before me."
The service will include music, prayer and a ceremony in which parents can place an ornament in memory of their child on a Christmas tree in front of the church.
Cockrell is the main speaker at the service, where she hopes to share encouragement with other parents. Her life revolved around Jenna as a stay-at-home mother with the last of the couple's two daughters.
Cockrell said it took time and some divine intervention to learn to live without Jenna.
"I guess I want to relay to people that God can give you that strength to live, not just survive," Cockrell said.
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