I met my guest, Cindy Eller, several years ago in our local community of Ashe County, NC. Even before I knew her story, I recognized the strength of the Lord emanating from her — the strength that shows in the eyes that harbor deep wounds, yet the heart loves unconditionally and the lips smile with genuineness. After I learned of her family’s heart-wrenching ordeal, my admiration and respect grew even more. Cindy is a power to be reckoned with — not because she is a mighty warrior in her own strength, but because she knows the God in whom she has believed and she lives to tell His story of grace.
Welcome to Faith Notes Cindy!
April 27th 2003, my husband and I were awakened by the telephone. Glancing over at the clock confirmed it was 1:30 a.m. My heart began to race. I was fearful to answer the phone because I had three older children who lived outside of the home.
I answered the phone. It was Angie from Ashe County Social Services. Angie stated she had my grandchildren, Mariah and Aaron. I asked her where my daughter Monica was and she replied she could not answer that and asked if I would please come get the children. My husband and I arrived at the back door of the Social Service offices as we were told and Angie let us in.
Mariah ran to us and said, “Mommy is dead!” I looked into Angie’s eyes. She looked down and asked us to come into her office. That is when our world crashed in as she told us our daughter had been shot and killed by her estranged boyfriend who had then killed himself upon arrival of the police. The pain was unbearable. Monica, Mariah, and Aaron had just been in church with us the Sunday before where she spoke about how she prayed for her boyfriend to change.
The following Sunday he murdered her.
How does this happen? She was a child of God; he was a non-believer.
The drive home was awful. Telling our older children their sister was dead was excruciating. Hearing that night that our grandchildren witnessed the murder and the suicide was more than we could take.
While rocking Mariah that night trying to console her, she said, ” Grandma, Mommy came to me. She kissed me on the cheek and said she loved me, but she had to go live with Jesus and that we were to live with Grandma and Grandpa and she would see us in Heaven.”
I tried to clarify this statement with her because Monica was shot three times and could not have gone to her daughter. I said, “You saw Mommy?” She said, “Yes. Mommy had long beautiful hair and she was wearing a long white dress and … Grandma she was an angel!”
I fought back the tears of gratefulness for the gift the Lord gave our granddaughter of her mother’s last kiss. I looked up to the Lord and said thank-you.
The struggle to make it one hour was hard enough, let alone a day. The pain was the most intense pain I have ever felt. The children talked about what happened that night, speaking of the way Monica cried out, “Please! You can’t kill my babies,” and how she said, “Please, don’t.”
Sleepless nights, children afraid of the dark, any noise in the night, and horrible nightmares all made sleep a thing of the past. I lost faith that I could have the strength to endure this pain.
One day, my son Junior said he needed to go to his sister’s trailer. The thought of going made me ill, but I knew as a mother I had to do it for my son. We both got in the car and drove in silence. We pulled into her driveway and within seconds I spotted a bullet hole in the end of her trailer which was where her bedroom was.
My heart started to race. We stepped out. I heard a crunch and looked down to find glass that was from the driver’s side door of her car. It had been shattered from one of the bullets that ricocheted off of Monica’s side-view window.
I started to shake as we entered the trailer. To the right was Monica’s bedroom where she had been killed. The events of that night began to unfold before my eyes — Monica being shot … the kids screaming.
All of a sudden like an eraser on a chalk board everything went black. Seconds later a light so bright appeared before me. I strained to see through it. There before me was the Lord. He was kneeling and He was holding my child in His arms. I looked upon His face and there, coming down His left cheek was a tear.
The vision faded and what was before me was the bedroom. I felt a calm, a warmth. I knew that our Father had my daughter and that He cried for her also.
We continued to hang onto our faith that God was with us every step of the way and that, if need be, He would carry us through this horrific storm.
Prayer consumed our days and nights as we asked God for help. Often the kids asked, “Is Daddy in heaven with Mommy?” God put the words, “ I do not know baby. It takes someone smarter than Grandma to answer that.” It just rolled out after I looked up and said, “LORD help me.”
On a night unlike others, our grandson Aaron came running down the hall, and jumped into our bed. He was shaking uncontrollably and drenched in sweat. All he could say was, “Daddy.” We wrapped him up and held him tight until he fell asleep.
I slid out of bed, went into the living room and started to cry. I cried so hard! Dropping to my knees, I looked up and said, “God, please tell me how to help this baby. I do not know what else to do.” I stayed there for awhile, then fell asleep on the couch.
A few days later, deep in my heart, I heard the Lord’s whisper, “Take him to his fathers grave.” I had not taken the kids there, only to Mommie’s grave when they wanted to talk to her. So we traveled to the cemetery that weekend. When we arrived, Aaron would not go further than the very edge of the cemetery.
He pointed to the headstone and asked, “Is that my daddy’s name?”
He said, “Is that daddy’s stone?”
He said, “Is my daddy down there — under there — like mommy?”
Then he asked, “Can he get out?” “No, baby, he cannot.”
After years of nightmares Aaron slept well that night and every night after that.
So our family knows how God will carry you through even the most horrific times. We know how God answers prayers, often in His time, but they are answered. Our family has found joy again because the Lord has assured us that one day our family circle will be unbroken — that we will see our daughter again, and Mariah and Aaron will be with their mom. We praise God daily, giving him all the glory for us making it through.
We hold tight to the verse, Philippians 4:13:
I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
Cindy also included contact information for any woman experiencing domestic violence from an abusive relationship. The first two are for women in the Northwest North Carolina mountains where Cindy and I live:
P.O. Box 1591
Boone N.C. 28607
800-268-1488- Toll Free Crisis
P.O. Box 445
Wilkesboro, N.C. 28697
336-667-7-56 24 hr
This link offers a link to every agency in North Carolina
And this is the website for the national hotline for domestic violence:
More About Cindy:
My husband Billy, and I live in West Jefferson, NC. Our sons are 43, 40, and 30. Two sons are mechanics like their dad, and one is an electrician. Our granddaughter Mariah is 20 and is in her 3rd year at Appalachian State University studying to be a Child Life Specialist. Aaron, our grandson, is a Senior at Ashe County High School. He has been working at our family business, B Eller and Sons in Warrensville, NC. Aaron is planning on becoming part owner of the business when my husband retires.
As for myself, I promised the Lord if He got our family through the loss of Monica I would give back in any way I could. I work with Developmentally Disabled Adults who I feel need more people to look past the exterior to see what is in their hearts. I plan to live out my life telling others how GOD can bring you through anything, and that even in your darkest times look around because GOD is with you