Lorene | Home of the Brave


“We really had no idea what that poor girl went through, did we Dan?”

“No Mom, we didn’t.”

And so began a conversation between my mother and I about my cousin Lorene Holizki’s memoir Forever Kalei’s Mom: A Story about Life, My Child’s Death and What Forever Really Means.

Lorene’s book tells the story of the tragic loss of her beautiful 16-year-old daughter Kalei in a horrific car crash. With heart wrenching honesty Lorene tells her story of profound loss and unfathomable grief. Lorene’s memoir will serve as a survival guide for the bereaved. A literary “jaws of life” for those left behind, crushed under the relentless burden of their grief.

Mom was right. We didn’t know what Lorene went through when Kalei died. Even after reading Forever Kalei’s Mom we still don’t really know. Until I experience the tragic, sudden death of one of my boys – I will never know.

I am convinced, however, that reading my cousin’s book has made me a better person.

I know this to be true because I did not judge Lorene when she laid herself down in front of Kalei’s marker and silently folded her hands on her chest. Surrounded by the comforting silence of the cemetery I witnessed a beautiful, spontaneous expression of a mother’s undying love for her daughter.

I finally got a chance to see what Forever looks like.

Silver gelatin print
Hasselblad 500c
Hasselblad 80mm f2.8 lens
Ilford HP5, ISO 400


This entry was posted in Home of the Brave.


  1. dmiller509 April 22, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

    Thank you Frank for your generous comments. The book is truly amazing. One would think it is written specifically for parents who have lost a child, but it is more than that. It is so helpful for the rest of us who would love to offer comfort but don’t have a clue what to say. Her book talks about that in great detail and I found it extremely helpful. Thanks again Frank. I really appreciate it. And I will for sure send along your best wishes. Take care. Danny

  2. Frank Vanden Elsen April 22, 2016 at 7:14 pm #

    Powerful Danny, this brought tears to my eyes. It is a perfect setting and potrayal and the black and white photo is brilliant, I am glad not to see the color version. I am going to read Lorene’s book, what strength she must have!! Give her my best!!!

  3. dmiller509 January 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

    Thank you Dale. Lorene gets all the credit for that. She knew exactly what to do. I was just lucky enough to be there to witness such a beautiful gesture.

  4. Dale Zukowski January 26, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    What an amazing photo! Lorene and Kalei are both wearing white and the ground is speckled with white snow. It appears Kalei is ‘cradling’ her mom and they are connected and comforted by the unblemished, crispness and purity of the ‘white’.

  5. dmiller509 January 16, 2016 at 1:17 am #

    Thank you Val! Lorene is truly one of the bravest people I know.

  6. Val MacLean January 16, 2016 at 12:55 am #

    It’s hard to function with a piece of your heart missing! Makes me well up just thinking about it. One of my good friends needs to read this book.

One Trackback

  1. By Lauren | Home of the Brave on May 20, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    […] met Lauren through my cousin Lorene. Their friendship was forged from the shared experience of a profound, tragic […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *