Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 8 April 2008

Caitlyn Erin Lockard 1/4/1980 – 3/23/2008

Here is the reason for my temporary blog hiatus….my 18-year-old step-daughter left this planet on Easter Sunday. She was riding in a pickup truck cab with her boyfriend and a few other friends on the way home from the movies. She wasn’t wearing a seatbelt (her normal choice) and the truck rolled off the road in the rain. She was ejected and the truck rolled over her.

Caitlyn soaring in Costa RicaCaitlyn lived a very full life, even if it was short. She affected many people of all ages. over 600 people attended her memorial in FL and over 100 simultaneously attended a service in CA. I was very grateful that she came to live with us in CA last year for a semester. She gave my then 13-year-old daughter Grace the gift of an experience of living with a sibling.

We had plane tickets to go to her high school graduation in May. Instead, the airline graciously exchanged them (without fees) for tickets last week to attend Caitlyn’s memorial. A memorial book, set up by the Palm Beach Post has countless pages of prayers and condolences and there are two MySpace pages commemorating her.

I believe that Caitlyn’s soul exists in some other dimension and that she’s free of the earthly encumbrance of body. However, knowing this doesn’t take away the sorrow and sense of loss around her leaving. We are bound to this physical plane of existence (except when we’re meditating or dreaming) and therefore feel sad that we won’t have the joy of seeing her graduate from high school, college, get married and play with her children.

I am particularly sad for my husband, who is a new thought church pastor, because his congregation looks to him for support and comfort, not the other way around. The outpouring of love and support from his previous congregation in FL and our congregation in CA have been absolutely wonderful. But he’s still in the “public eye” – and when it comes to grieving the loss of a child, lots of private time is required. I know, I lost an infant son 12 years ago.

Caitlyn\'s pet snake

A friend of ours who is a South American shaman told us that Caitlyn completed what she set out to do in her life. She was here to show people who they are (good or bad). She pushed everyone’s buttons (especially her mother’s) and told it like she saw it. Caitlyn was a party girl. She loved tatoos, body-piercings, racy clothing and anything with the Playboy logo. She announced one day that her ideal job was to work at Hooters. She had a pet snake that we had to feed with frozen baby mice. Underneath all that was a very sensitive and emotional girl.

Caitlyn influenced my life. I started co-leading our church teen group in anticipation of her joining our family in CA. Working with teens has been a joy and a fantastic growth experience for me. I also learned not to judge her preferences in attire. Caitlyn and her friend Alexis convinced me to wear low-rider jeans (because I’m in good shape – translated to “nice butt” for a Mom). Grace learned to share (something singletons don’t usually learn). The main rule we have in our home is to treat ourselves with love and kindness as we make choices in our lives. I wish Caitlyn had followed that rule on Easter Sunday.



  1. I have no understanding of why this message came to me. My Daughter is Alexis. Funny how the internet can just lead you places.
    I am sorry for your loss and I am sure that this has been very hard on your husband. Alexis lost her “Sister” as she would say. I just miss Chelly screaming “Hey Mom when she walked into my home”. I kidded that she was my real daughter as she was such a very free spirit. A quality that I have been ridiculed for many times. She gave use light…she had no fear…she represented truth, even when it seemed harse, but she was love and we have all been lucky to experience that love….Free love that knows no boundaries.
    Alexis has mentioned in the past that she would like to somehow spend some time with Jim. Maybe to somehow stay connected to Chelly…I’m not sure, but I do know that Alexis cares deeply for you all.
    I’m sure those low-rider jeans look as great as mine.
    Warm regards, Alicia

  2. My dear daughter and son Jim; you got my email by now and what can I add that hasn’t already been said? The comments in your blog honoring Caitlyn are very fine. I’m here, let me know if I can do anything more. You are always in my thoughts. Much Love, mom

  3. Very sorry to hear about your loss. As a parent, I can barely fathom the loss of a child or step-child. My heart and prayers go out to you, your husband and your daughter Grace.


    Tim Warneka

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