Surviving tragedy: A woman's story of loss, strength

November 4, 2011 4:06:27 AM PDT
Six years ago, a car ran off the Gulf Freeway, hit a poll and exploded. Four children under 12 and their father died. Dori Powledge was later told her family was killed because a throttle on their year-old car got stuck.

We have the story of how that wife and mother dealt with the overwhelming grief of losing five loved ones at one time. And now, Powledge teaches us the steps she learned as she struggled to overcome her life's worst tragedy.

Dori and Adam Powledge had eight children in their blended family, and their lives revoled around them.

Then one day, Adam was driving their four youngest children to school when the car went off the road and hit the signpost.

"It exploded, it was completely destroyed. So there was nowehre to go, no one to see, and absoutely nothing I could do," she said.

Powledge lost them all -- 12-year-old Jake, 10-year-old Blake, seven-year-old Rachel, six-year-old Isaac and her husband, Adam.

Her daughter Samantha usually was in the car too.

"She had asked to spend the night with a friend. They were working on a school project and I thank God every day that she was not in that car," Powledge said.

Powledge says it was her faith in God led her to understand that her healing would begin with a decision.

"Not to say why or why me, because the truth is you're not gonna get a good answer in a tragedy," she said.

Step 2: Avoiding the "whys." It helped her avoid the anger that often follows a tragedy.

"Then all the sudden you can stop that train of thought," Powledge said.

Reject the guilt is step 3. Powledge says she refused to let it consume her or her four surviving children.

"Being guilty because you had an argument with someone and then they died the next day doesn't mean you didn't love them any less," she said.

Step 4: Don't blame yourself.

"Bad things happen to good people every day. We're still meant to be happy, we're still meant to live," she said.

It took six months after the accident before Dori could go back to work as a legal assistant. But her co-workers were amazed at her strength.

"For someone to be through such a tragedy and just go through life and have a sense of calmness -- just something about her, I always tell people she's angelic," said Powledge's co-worker and friend, Laura Bryan.

And something surprising happened; people began coming to Powledge for answers, for help with their own grief.

"My ministry was birthed from a tragedy," Powledge said.

Now, through her ministry, Powledge shares steps to overcoming tragedy and often, her oldest daughters are at her side.

"I see people who are hurting all the time and they don't know exactly what to do," she said.

She also wrote a book called "A Love Greater than Death." And Powledge has found love again. She's remarried.

Six years have gone by since that tragic October day, and when she needs to feel close to her children and Adam again, she goes to the small circle of crosses along Interstate 45 to pray.

"Life is just different. It's just different, but it's still very good," she said.

Powledge's ministry will soon expand to Texas prisons. For more information about Powledge Powledge Ministries, visit the website, or call 832-221-8677.

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