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When Corby passed away in late 2006, Lisa and her siblings, Price + Macy, lost their big brother and friend. In honor of his memory, Lisa + her husband founded Corby’s Castle. Today we share Lisa’s story…
Corby + Lisa goofing around as kids
What is a favorite memory you have with him?
Just simply being silly. We were just two years apart in age, and really best friends growing up. We were mischievous, competitive, and goofy.
What was helpful to you in dealing with your grief after he passed away?
Being with my family. My younger brother, Price, and I were brought closer together, and I leaned on him quite a bit. I was a newlywed, had been married just two months. My husband and I stayed at my parent’s house for a while. I don’t exactly remember the time frame, but I know that I stayed for quite some time until I was finally ready to go home. It was completely necessary and comforting for me to be with my parents and my brother and sister. Another thing that was helpful for me was writing. I wrote his obituary and wrote a speech that I shared at his funeral. It allowed me time to sit back and reflect on the happy times in his life and the joy that we shared together.
Corby, Lisa, Price, + Macy
What wasn’t helpful?
The “what ifs”. And boy I had millions. I played them over and over in my mind and had myself fully convinced that I could have changed something. Today I know that isn’t the truth, but I could not forgive myself for a long time. I blamed myself for a lot and played different scenarios in my mind of how things could have been. Those times were the hardest.
Is there something that when you see or hear it reminds you of him?
Corby and I were very much alike in so many ways. I honestly remind myself of him every day. We also look quite a bit alike, and I can often see him when I look in the mirror. That may seem creepy or strange, but it is true. The most difficult part for me personally has been since becoming a mother almost three years ago. I couldn’t believe that my brother would never meet my daughter. Now that she is older and understands so much, and can talk, she knows of Corby. She doesn’t fully understand who he is, but she knows him in pictures, and knows that he is my brother and her uncle. Recently, before heading out the door to go somewhere, don’t remember where, she asked me if Corby was going to be there. The other night she sat my husband and me down on the den floor and told us she was going to do story time. She grabbed her little pink Bible, sat in a chair in front of us, opened her Bible and said, “this is a story about Corby in the sky with Jesus.” I was in shock, forced a quick smile, and wiped the tears streaming down my face. The crazy part about it was, we had not yet talked about that Corby was in heaven, or “in the sky with Jesus”.
What do you do to honor his memory?
At his funeral, Corby’s girlfriend read a poem that he had written before he passed away. It was about how he was going to turn his life around and in it he wrote, “I will begin to steadily lay the foundation to my castle”. Knowing that Corby would not have that opportunity, I knew it was up to me to build his Castle. So in May of 2007, eight months after his death, Corby’s Castle was started. We are a 501c3 non-profit community service organization. Our mission is to get high school students involved in all areas of services, and we do work locally and globally. We have grown a great deal since our start and have been involved in some life changing projects. I am so blessed to be able to honor Corby in this way.
The kids of Corby’s Castle with Lisa and here husband, Joey
What do you think he would be most proud of now?
He would be so proud of the work that I have done to build Corby’s Castle. I know that he is proud of all that we have done in his name and I pray that he feels some redemption. That although he never could quite get it right, amazing things are happening in people’s lives because of his life. One of my favorite quotes, that reminds me of Corby’s life, is one by Ralph Waldo Emerson. “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded”. I know that he would also be proud of the kind of mother I am. He would also be proud of my brother, Price and sister, Macy, for the incredible people they have become.
Thank you Lisa for sharing your story. If you would like to share your story on the blog, please email us at [email protected].