WILDWOOD, MO (KTVI)– The Eureka High School community came together Thursday to honor Lauren and Kathleen Oliver who died in a car accident last year.
The Oliver family donated a large sculpture of a wildcat to Eureka High School in the girls’ memory.
For the first time the Oliver family is speaking about the loss of their daughters.
The family says their faith and friends have been crucial to their emotional healing.
August 15th, 2013 was the day the last picture taken of Lauren and Kathleen Oliver. Hours later Lauren and Kathleen were killed in a tragic car crash in Wildwood.
“They are always going to be in my heart even if they aren’t personally here with me, I can still feel them with me and I can still talk to them whenever just pray to them,” said their sister Anna Oliver.
Eighteen-year-old Lauren and 17-year-old Kathleen were killed when a convertible driven by their friend 18-year-old Christopher Lenzen crashed. Police said he was driving too fast for a curve on Homestead Manor Drive. The car sped off the road, went airborne, crashed into the deck of a home and went down a hill into the woods.
“Yeah there are days that are hard and days that we asked why? God why did this happen to us?” said the girls’ mother Cheryl Oliver. “We have not done much in their rooms yet. I have not been able to remove anything or make any changes in there. Their friends come over and Anna we’ll all go in there and just to look through their drawers and find a t-shirt that has memories and they’ll talk about it.”
Staying close to their daughters’ friends has been so important in the grieving process.
“Hearing more about who they were with their friends, as parents you know one side of your children, they also have deep relationships with their friends and being able to keep in contact with them and help them through the grief as they help us,” said their father Sam Oliver.
The girls were involved in many activities at Eureka. And the school has remembered them through t-shirts and wrist bands. The students honored the sisters by putting their initials together, LOKO. Cheryl has LOKO on her license plate, a positive for Anna who’s a freshman at Eureka.
“You never know whenever you’re going to have a good day, when you have a bad day and when it can turn with in just one second,” said Anna. “People I’ve never seen before say hi to me and it’s just a great community to be around especially during this. It helps me when I’m having bad days at school to know I can go to anybody and they’ll be supportive.”
The Olivers’ faith has been tested.
“Never in the past really has the relevance of heaven meant so much to me,” said Sam.
They say their church The Crossing has brought them counseling, compassion and support and through the pain spiritual growth.
Anna stated, “Before that accident I would go to church and sing but it really wouldn’t touch me as much as it does now. I enjoy listening to the pastor speak and hearing more about Jesus and heaven.”
“We feel God’s arms embracing us and we feel God’s love and we have hope and that is that one day we will all be together again as a family and that we will be able to see our girls’ smiles again and that is what’s keeping us going,” said Cheryl.
The Oliver family says their message to teenagers is use seat belts, slow down and practice defensive driving. Accidents can happen so fast with life changing consequences.
The family has started the Lauren and Kathleen Oliver Scholarships. Three Eureka seniors were chosen Thursday night to each get a $2,000 college scholarship. And the Olivers’ say they will continue those scholarships every year.