Working It Out: A Journey of Love, Loss, and Hope

Working It Out: A Journey of Love, Loss, and Hope


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Working It Out: A Journey of Love, Loss, and Hope by Abby Rike

In 2006, Abby Rike lost the life she knew and loved when her husband and two young children were killed in a car accident. Devastated and numb, she shut down. For nearly three years she walked through life like a spectre, present in body only. As she descended, so did her health.
Fortunately, Abby was not alone. She had loving parents, supportive friends, and a faith that continued to sustain her. Little by little she found the courage to return to life. Joining The Biggest Loser proved a catalyst for the physical and emotional changes she needed to make. In fact, against all odds Abby gained strength, courage, wisdom, and continued her steadfast relationship with God. Instead of anger, she found herself slowly but steadily healing. She lost a hundred pounds but gained hope.
In this riveting book, Abby tells her story—from her joyous life before the accident to the unbearable pain that followed it and her eventual emergence as a woman reinvigorated by her faith in God. Today Abby's resilience and positivity are a testament to the power and importance of faith in the darkest hours.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446575034
Publisher: FaithWords
Publication date: 05/04/2011
Pages: 274
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Abby Rike was a high school drama teacher before the 2006 accident that changed her life. After losing her two children and husband in a tragic accident, Abby journeyed through the trials of grief, and ultimately decided she needed a life change. After a stint on The Biggest Loser, where she lost 100 pounds and gained a new perspective on life, Abby quit her teaching job and now travels around the country speaking full-time to a variety of different groups about her physical and emotional journey.

Read an Excerpt

Working It Out

A Journey of Love, Loss, and Hope
By Rike, Abby


Copyright © 2011 Rike, Abby
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780446575034


Into the Depths

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our despair, against our own will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.


I am standing on the side of the road. It’s as though my feet are planted in the ground, planted in cement. And I’m just waiting. No one will tell me anything. The dreadful scene that lies around the curve ahead remains a mystery for now as I’m frozen in place, standing like a statue at the defining moment of my life—eerily controlled while the life and love I’d cherished slips from my grasp. The intense combination of the red, white, and blue lights from the multitude of emergency vehicles penetrates my vision so severely I am overwhelmed by the visual assault. These are the lights that embody emergency, rescue, and often tragedy. Only this tragedy—my tragedy—has left us with no one to rescue.

My heart beats as if it wants out of my body, as if my heart knows it belongs in the van with the three people who had filled it with the joy of a truly perfect love. I ask the unavoidable question piercing my soul: “Is there a white van in the wreck?”

“Possible family member” is the emergency responder’s reply into his radio.

“I need to know if there’s a white van!”

And then simply, “Yes.”

Friday, October 13, 2006, began as a calm and quiet day of precious hours shared between a mother and her brand-new, beautiful baby. And I knew beauty. I had watched it grow and radiate from every part of my daughter, Macy, for almost six years. I had witnessed the beauty of her innocence and the gift of her vivacious spirit. And now we’d been blessed once again with our blond-haired, blue-eyed, nine-and-a-half-pound perfect baby boy. The past eighteen days spent with Caleb had been absolute bliss. Caleb represented our hope for the future, and Rick and I savored the joy he added to our lives.

He was the only boy, Mommy’s handsome “feller” (as I so lovingly called him), PaPa’s fishing buddy, Daddy’s little Longhorn, and the most wonderful completion of our family.

In those moments with my new family of four, I was acutely aware of the blessings that had been showered upon me. Not once did I take what I’d been given for granted; they were my purpose, my joy, my truth, and my everything. My roles as wife and mother were everything I’d ever wanted, and I would not have traded lives with another human on the planet.

That particular Friday I wasn’t feeling well. Aside from the normal fatigue every new mother faces, my chest felt unusually tight, and I was running a low-grade fever. Nevertheless, I wasn’t too ill to miss time with my delightful son. With my husband Rick, a teacher, and Macy at school for the day, I had time alone with Caleb to play and treasure those fleeting moments of a child’s infancy. Sitting on my bed with him in my lap, his head at my feet, I talked to him and cuddled him as we studied each other to our hearts’ content.

When Macy and Rick eventually came in from school, I was immediately captured by Macy’s excitement over what she described as the best day of her life. As part of fire safety week at school, she had climbed onto a fire truck and embraced that occasion with the unbridled zest for life she brought to every experience. She went on to tell us about a sweet little boy named Mcguire who wasn’t in her class but had made her feel special by knowing her name. As I watched her trademark red curls dancing around her jovial face, she ran off to draw a picture of herself and Mcguire each wearing a crown, poised in a whimsical carriage.

Meanwhile, Rick and I discussed whether some of the symptoms I was having warranted a visit to the emergency room. Deciding I should go—better safe than sorry—we agreed that we didn’t want Caleb exposed to any potentially harmful germs lurking in an ER waiting area. Rick would take him, Macy, and our two nieces, Madelyn and Maryl, to an open gym while I sought medical attention. I kissed Caleb and then Macy. I walked over to Rick standing behind our counter and kissed him, then went out to the car. Darting out from the house, Macy ran toward me as I was about to leave. From the car I called out, “Baby girl, you have got to get back in the house. You cannot just run out of the house!”

She replied, “I just wanted one more hug.”

And then she stood in front of the car, wrapped her arms around herself, hugged herself, and said, “I love you!” I watched that exceptional child run back into the house, then pulled out of the driveway.

I’m at the emergency room and of course there’s a long line. My name has been on the waiting list for almost an hour. I determine that my family—my life—headed in the opposite direction on their fun outing together, have surely arrived by now. I call Rick to check in and to my surprise he doesn’t pick up. Weird. He always answers his phone. I call back. It rings and rings and rings. Voice mail. I call again. It rings and rings and rings. Voice mail. I know that more than enough time has passed for him to have arrived at the open gym, so I place a call to my ex-sister-in-law’s house, where Rick was to pick up our nieces. I get right to the point. “What time did Rick pick up the girls?”

“He hasn’t picked them up. I just went ahead and took Madelyn and Maryl.”

And the feeling that something is horribly wrong begins to rise up from the pit of my stomach. Every fiber of my being knows that there’s been a wreck. What I don’t know is how bad it is.

I’m not completely conscious of my legs as they carry me to the front desk of the emergency room to explain that something has happened to my family. But somehow my body successfully reaches my car and I’m driving—fast. I’m driving and crying and praying out loud. “Please put angels all around my family. Please. All around them.”

Five miles past our house, on the two-lane highway we’ve traveled so many times as a family, the sun begins to go down in the sky and a barrage of flashing lights comes into view.

Please put angels all around my family.

The onslaught of lights is almost too much, as I recognize the telltale signs that something truly terrible has occurred. I watch as uniformed officers redirect traffic around the blockades they have positioned, but I will not be redirected.

Please. All around them.

I pull over to an open space and get out of the car, standing there with my emergency room bracelet on. The frantic words escape my mouth. “I need to know if there’s a white van!” I hear the “Yes” in reply. But my life is in that van. My life is in that van. Panic-stricken, I turn to the man beside me and ask, “Is it bad?” No one will make eye contact with me as the lights continue to flash and engulf my senses. The curt answer I am met with barely registers.

“Well, both of the cars caught on fire.”

WHAT?! And I see the fire trucks, but no one will tell me anything. I call my mother who is on a trip with my father in Florida with the Trinity Valley College board of directors. I cry out with a torrent of incomprehensible explanations of the events unfolding before my eyes.

Approaching me from a distance, two stone-faced officers are coming with the news. I am vaguely aware of the phone still at my ear when each officer takes one of my arms. And from the mouth of a wonderful man named Officer Clint Pirtle—the only man to make eye contact with me—came the most horrific statement ever to reach my ears: “I’m so sorry. We found no survivors.”

I drop to my knees, only to get right back up and plead, “Well, I need you to keep looking!” Surely they just haven’t found everybody yet. And then I remember the phone in my hand. “Mother, he said they’re all gone. He said they’re all gone.”

As Officer Pirtle takes the phone from my hands, I am left with the wave of numbness that has begun to infiltrate my body and mind. I instantly know Officer Pirtle’s words are true; I know that they are gone. I know that I will never see them again. Without the benefit of denial, I’m left on the side of the road with only myself—truly broken, violently severed from the life I’d known only hours earlier. And just as if a limb has been severed from my body, shock takes over quickly, and I don’t feel the pain right away. As I absorb that everything precious to me is gone, my mind becomes flooded with the knowledge that I have nowhere to go, no one to call, and nowhere to be.

Sitting on the back of an ambulance beside a young paramedic, I think back to that frantic drive toward the unimaginable place in which I now find myself. I prayed that God would put angels all around my family. I just didn’t mean this way. I turn to the unassuming paramedic and am overcome with the urge to tell him our story. I tell him, with an eerie calmness, as though I haven’t just been told that every member of my family is dead, “I have to tell you how wonderful my family was.”

And as I explain that I’d had the most perfect husband, and the most perfect five-year-old daughter, and the most perfect two-week-old son, that precious man stands there and listens. I wonder aloud, “How could this be real when they were just going to open gym?”

And that wonderful man, a complete stranger, stands there and listens. A female paramedic joins us only to leave minutes later, unable to handle the words I feel compelled to share. But he never leaves; he stands quietly, offering no inane platitudes meant to comfort me.

As my ex-sister-in-law arrives on the scene and I get into her car, I am starkly aware of my complete solitude. I recognize the face of Ronnie Daniel, justice of the peace and the man here to fulfill the unimaginable duty of declaring my family dead. He comes to me and says, “Abby, I’m so sorry. If I could take their place I would.” And he means it. He truly means it. “Is there anyone I can call?”

No, I think. I don’t have anybody to call. It’s just me. My parents are on their trip in Florida; my brother is at a football game in Georgia; and my husband’s not answering.

I leave the scene with my ex-sister-in-law and head to my house—our home—to pack some things. I have no reservations about returning to the house we shared as a family. It is truly a home in every sense of the word: a place of safety, love, and comfort. It is the happiest place on earth to me. As I enter the house, I am greeted by balloons saying “It’s a Boy!” I pass Caleb’s stroller in the living room and walk into our bedroom, robotically filling a bag. My face is strangely dry; I am without tears. I walk out the door into an existence I cannot comprehend. Just like that, at one fell swoop, I know that I’m no longer a wife to the most amazing man I’d ever met. No longer a mother to the two most precious children in the world. Where do I go? What now?


Excerpted from Working It Out by Rike, Abby Copyright © 2011 by Rike, Abby. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

1 Into the Depths 1

2 A Light in the Dark 9

Part 1 The Caterpillar Stage

3 Boy Meets Girl 15

4 Growing Pains 39

5 Team Rike 62

6 Baby Huey 69

Part 2 The Cocoon Stage

7 Don't Bring Green Beans 83

8 Filling the Time 108

9 When to Hold 'Em and When to Fold 'Em 123

10 Rock Bottom 153

Part 3 The Butterfly Stage

11 Treading Water 173

12 The New Me 212

13 I Don't Know Much, but I Do Know This-A Letter to the Reader 241

Acknowledgments 255

Appendix: Letters from Abby and Rick 259

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Working It Out: A Journey of Love, Loss, and Hope 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Shari_Rocks More than 1 year ago
I couldnt help but to feel a kinship with Abby as I read her incredible story of love and loss. Sadly, many never experience true love but it was amazing to read her love story. It made me appreciate my own love and my amazing son more than ever. I could also identify with her on her weight loss journey. I was on this same path at nearly the same time. I, like Abby, lost 100 pounds and completely appreciate life in a whole new way. I wish Abby a life of love and joy along with the amazing memories of her wonderful husband and two sweet babies.
MM1019 More than 1 year ago
I remember seeing Abby on The Biggest Loser. She was such a wonderful, honest person on the show. It is so nice to see that she has come through this and turned her life around. Most of us would not have been that brave. Good luck to you Abby!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a true inspiration to me. When i read "being a christian doesnt mean life will be easy and it could possibly be harder" (almost quoted exactly) read into me deeply. I've questioned and wondered almost daily how God could let life constantly feed me severe happenings and complete heart devastation way more times than normal. This story helps me see that happiness is still in the midst during the worst times of our lives if we just reach for it and grab it. Thank you Abbey for putting your world on paper, which is so very hard to do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
hygienus More than 1 year ago
I felt that parts of the book were a little slow but you need this back ground info. The amount of strength that Abby has is amazing. To read how she continues her life after the accident with such faith makes up for the slow areas. It is inspiring how she stained true to her faith and realized God didn't do this but her was there for her is a great testament to Abby. Great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was beautifully written!
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Misti Goodlet More than 1 year ago
Well written and motivating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book it is a must! You won't be able to put this book down! I give this book a thumbs up! What courage and strength it took Abby Rike to share her story. Its part of the healing process not only for herself but for others. I found this book to be very moving in so many ways. We are all on a journey where there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cathy Crossno More than 1 year ago
An inspirational story about life, love, family and faith! Thank you Abby for having the courage to write this book and share your story with us!
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moonbeamKM More than 1 year ago
This book has truly touched my life - Abby Rike - one of the strongest women I have ever heard about - truly amazing. A must read - you'll cry, you'll laugh, and you'll be uplifted through a beautiful faith when you are finished. Whether you are a religious person or not - you truly will feel the "power" when finished with reading this heart-touching story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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SugaNa96 More than 1 year ago
I was very excited to read her life story after watching Abby on the Biggest Loser. I think she is very strong in her faith and that was a huge encouragement to me. We can live through the hard times and even live a happy life. I would recommend this book but did find some areas a little slow. All of the letters from her husband were fun to read but at times I found some of the letters from students hard to get through. I would love to have heard more of her own words and advice and ultimately more on her weight loss in general.
rkelly0321 More than 1 year ago
If you want to be inspired, read this. If you want to witness pure child-like faith, read this. If you want a true example of 'hope in the darkest hour', read this. Be prepared to have your life changed, it did mine in the very best way. I am blessed because of Abby Rike.
BLinspired More than 1 year ago
Abby's story is one that will touch the core of your very being. It is not just a book it is a message to LIVE life and not merely survive. Not many people can write about such a loss and dark place and not make it all about them selves or a woe is me plea, Abby does not once make you feel sorry for her, in actuality she motivates you to cherish life, cherish people, and to be the best you can be. IF after reading this book you do not hug your children tighter each night, top feeling sorry for your circumstances and take the steps to choose a better life and make the things that matter a priority, then you probably don't have a pulse! YOU will WANT to give this book to your friends, your family, people you see on the street who just need hope. I am forever changed and will always think of how precious life is in every moment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago