Hey Love, we have a special 2 part interview for you. Today, for part 1, we will be joined by Sandy Marrero and her 2 older daughters- Susanna and Sara, who just lost their 26 year old hero, Leland.
You’ll hear some awkward pauses and sniffles and we clear our throats a few times… because the grief is palpable and real. but you’ll also hear the 3 of them talking over each other and breaking out in laughter as they recall fond memories with their brother, friend and son.
Leland was a man of many words and a resourceful babysitter, as you’ll hear from his sisters. They recount with great detail, his leading them in celebrating “Barbie’s National Upside Down Day.” Sandy’s reaction is priceless- like any mom, she sounds more concerned with the damage done to the ceiling than commending her children on their ingenuity.
Leland apparently had great aim and also taught the younger of the two, (Sara) about abstract concepts like the velocity of a jelly bean from atop a 15 story building…. (If ya listen real close, you can hear the older sis, Susanna, comment softly in the background, “This is a very important life skill to have.”) Once again, Sandy’s reaction is classic for a tired mom of teens- “Where was I when all this was happening?”
You’ll be encouraged by how giddy Sandy gets about the brain development of a male in his mid 20’s. She had Leland over for dinner recently to celebrate his birthday, and more importantly, the fact that his frontal lobes were finally closed up!
These women cackle and cry with their whole hearts. and they talk about God’s Goodness and mercy and sovereignty-even in the shadow of death. I mention Sandy’s instagram, which has been so inspirational to all of us. She posts about everyday things; how life keeps going.
The simplicity of her photos makes me sigh- a pile of neatly folded clean laundry, a pan of freshly baked muffins, smiling faces proudly donning “I just voted” stickers, a car receiving an oil change, a stovetop and counter covered in m&m pancake batter handmade by the littlest member of the family.
It will do your heart much good to see and hear their stories. (In the outtakes, the 3 are talking in rapidfire succession about the younger brother’s soccer game. Life goes on and they continue to show up….)
There’s a lot of laughing and every once in a while, Sandy says something so profound, all of us fall silent. Sandy talks openly about where her Hope comes from. I find myself hanging on her every word and this has been drawing me deeper into the Words of Jesus. And Job. And King David. And Paul. Leland’s favorite story was Job and he was especially fond of the Beatitudes- and for a girl in recovery, that speaks volumes.
This past weekend, (two weeks after Leland passed from life to LIFE,) Camille, the youngest sibling, came to a place of repentance while driving with her big sis through the hills around Chattanooga. She prayed to receive Christ after reading a marquee in front of an old country church. Susanna writes all about the conversation that ensued on her blog (link below.)
You will appreciate the honesty in the room. Susanna and Sara talk about where they are in the grieving process. They talk frankly about what does minister to them and what doesn’t.
I share with you my fears about saying something stupid and how it occurred to me this is SO not about me. And how I came to a place of trusting the Spirit, who is fully capable of working through the process, in spite of my clumsiness…
Also, I express gratitude for a God who allows us to experience the Hope of Glory, the assurance of salvation while we’re still here n the land of the living.
And the list of suggestions I mention are posted on the blog- for ministering to your grieving friend (link below.)
Thanks for listening.
Here are some “live out love” links;
Susanna Marrero’s writings;
Sara Marrero’s art on etsy-
Follow Sandy on instagram at “sandywmarrero”
For a list of suggestions to minister to your grieving friend, go to