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When Tomorrow Starts Without Me

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me

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When Tomorrow Starts Without Me

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Jan 5, 2014


Most people who have lost a child write books about how to cope with the child’s death. Author Lori Plegge has taken a different perspective on losing a child. Instead of writing about how to cope with the death of a child, she has decided to write a story about her son’s life. When Tomorrow Starts Without Me is a true story about the life and death of a young man named Anthony. No matter how hard Lori tried to raise Anthony right, he made some bad choices in his life and those bad choices led to his death. When reading this book you will experience happiness, sadness, and anger. You become a part of the story so when Lori loses her son it is if you are losing him as well.

Lori describes the loss of a child as an indescribable pain, a pain that makes it difficult to move on with life. She says Neugeboren best describes this pain in a quote “A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. But...there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that's how awful the loss is!” - Neugeboren 1976, 154.

Lori, Anthony’s mother, is writing this book because she wants to share her son’s story with others. She hopes her story will help other parents who have lost a child realize they are not going through this alone. She also wants them to realize that even though something terrible has happened they can make something positive from their loss and help others that are going through the same thing. She says if When Tomorrow Starts Without Me helps just one parent realize what they are experiencing is normal or stops just one child from making the same mistakes her son did, then her story has served its purpose.

Jan 5, 2014

Sobre el autor

Lori Plegge is the author of two books, one is a cookbook full of 5 generations of Southern Family recipes and the other is a true story about a mother's perspective of her son's life, his tragic death, and how she has managed to help others that have lost a child. She currently lives in Little Rock, AR with her husband Cliff. She has two surviving sons, Kevin lives in Minnesota and Brett lives in Florida.

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When Tomorrow Starts Without Me - Lori Plegge


The loss of a child

Lori Plegge

Copyright Lori Plegge 2013

Published at Smashwords

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me

The poem When Tomorrow Starts Without Me By David Romano was the inspiration for the title of this book. It is a beautiful poem. Below is the poem in its entirety.

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me

By David Romano

When tomorrow starts without me,

And I'm not there to see,

If the sun should rise and find your eyes

All filled with tears for me;

I wish so much you wouldn't cry

The way you did today,

While thinking of the many things,

We didn't get to say.

I know how much you love me,

As much as I love you,

And each time you think of me,

I know you'll miss me too;

But when tomorrow starts without me,

Please try to understand,

That an angel came and called my name,

And took me by the hand,

And said my place was ready,

In Heaven far above

And that I'd have to leave behind

All those I dearly love.

But as I turned to walk away,

A tear fell from my eye

For all my life, I'd always thought,

I didn't want to die.

I had so much to live for,

So much left yet to do,

It seemed almost impossible,

That I was leaving you.

I thought of all the yesterdays,

The good ones and the bad,

The thought of all the love we shared,

And all the fun we had.

If I could relive yesterday

Just even for a while,

I'd say good-bye and kiss you

Any maybe see you smile.

But when I fully realized

That this could never be,

For emptiness and memories,

Would take the place of me.

And when I thought of worldly things

I might miss come tomorrow,

I thought of you, and when I did

My heart was filled with sorrow.

But when I walked through Heaven's gates

I felt so much at home

When God looked down and smiled at me,

From His great golden throne,

He said, "This is eternity,

And all I've promised you.

Today your life on earth is past

But here it starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow,

But today will always last,

And since each day's the same way,

There's no longing for the past.

You have been so faithful,

So trusting and so true.

Though there were times

You did some things

You knew you shouldn't do.

But you have been forgiven

And now at last you're free.

So won't you come and take my hand

And share my live with me?"

So when tomorrow starts without me,

Don't think we're far apart,

For every time you think of me,

I'm right here, in your heart.


This book is dedicated

To my three sons,

Anthony, Kevin, and Brett.

Kevin and Brett I hope you learn

From your older brother Anthony

Not to make the same mistakes he made in life.


A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. But there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that's how awful the loss is! - Neugeboren 1976, 154.

"Spend time with those you love. 

One of these days you will say either,

‘I wish I had,’


‘I’m glad I did’." 

~~Zig Ziglar


When Lori first told me she was going to write this book about Anthony, Ant I call him, I didn’t know what to think. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became.   Why not make his life into a book so people could understand how hard it is to lose someone, especially a child.

I grew up in the same neighborhood as Anthony.  Because I was in a relationship with one of Anthony’s best friends, it was awkward with us being so close. But for whatever reason we became inseparable, we were best friends.  Every morning I would wake up early, take a shower, walk up the shortcut to his house, climb through his window and lay in the bed with him until his mom made him get up and get ready for school.  Then we would walk to the bus stop and get on the bus together.

Anthony and I were inseparable until my mother put a stop to us hanging out together. My mom thought that I was using Anthony to see his best friend, someone my mother did not want me in a relationship with, so she no longer allowed me to be friends with Anthony. Unbeknownst to my mom, that only happened on two occasions that I recall. All the other times I was really just hanging out with Anthony, just him and me.

In 2005, I took a trip to Washington DC and while I was there my mom passed away.  I needed someone to talk to so I called Ant. In some weird way it just helped, I don’t think he ever knew it.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Ant is his smile. Those who knew him well knew that he really wasn’t one to walk around with a smile on his face all the time (unless he was up to something) – which was often.

As this book unfolds you will learn about Anthony’s life and how his death affected many who loved him. Anthony was a protector. I don’t know many people who would try and pick a fight with him. As mean as he appeared to be, he could be as gentle as a teddy bear.

This book explains how making bad choices can just take your life away. The choices we make affect the rest of our lives, whether it be in that instance, the next week, the next two years, or ten years from now; it affects us in some shape or form.

The one regret that I’ll carry with me forever is not telling Anthony yes when he asked me to be with him. As you will soon find out, Anthony asked me to be with him and I kindly refused.  As bad as I didn’t want to, it was exactly what I wanted, I was just scared. At the time I was dating some guy that I had no business being with. Ant offered the world to me with what little he had, which was nothing but dreams to go off of. Anthony went back to Florida because of me.   If I would have told him yes he never would have gone back, at least not alone, and those were his words. We might not have gotten married or even stayed together, but what happened to him wouldn’t have happened the way it did.

I’ll never forget making that twelve hour drive all the way to the Leesburg hospital to see Anthony in a coma. I’ve seen my mother, father, grandmother, and several other close people on their death bed (in a hospital), but none of that compares to what I felt when I saw Anthony, this huge beast in a helpless vegetable state of mind. It ripped my heart in half and I was changed forever. 

I am now happily married and couldn’t have a better man whom I know Anthony would be very proud of. I, myself, have much experience with loss, but to lose someone who meant so much to me at such a young age is just life altering.

Carrie Rose


As I stood there listening to the slow beat of the heart monitor in the hospital, I knew my son’s life was coming to an end. I will never forget the smell of death in the room and I remember my mother saying to me 70 over 40……60 over 30…… 20 over…… flat line……flat line…… flat line and just like that, at 8:50 p.m. on March 16, 2007, my son’s life came to an end. Most parents would’ve been crying or going ballistic but I just stood there running my fingers through his thick black hair telling him everything would be alright. It was over the longest week of my life was finally over. 

My son was the third out of four of his friends to pass away at a young age ranging from seventeen to twenty-one. Anthony hung out with a group of five kids, if you saw one of them, you saw them all.  The group consisted of Carrie, Shocoby, Chris, Wyatt, and Anthony.  Little did we know Chris would be the first of Anthony’s friends to pass away, the second was JP, my Anthony was the third and the fourth was Anthony R. It was as if we parents watched our children die one by one.

Have you ever lost a child? If so how did you deal with it? Did you lock yourself in a room and hide from the rest of the world?  Did you feel like your world had come to a screeching halt? Did you throw yourself on the casket because you didn’t want your child to be left alone in the cold hard ground? Did you have other children you had to take care of? Did you continue to live each day as if nothing had ever happened because you refused to believe you lost your child?

Believe it or not, unfortunately there are many of us that have had to bury our own children for one reason or another.  I know several people who have lost a child and these are just some of the ways they chose to deal with their death. Sometimes you feel like you are the only parent on this earth that has ever lost a child but unfortunately you are not.   Each of us has lost someone who is dear to us, someone we gave birth to, someone in our lives we can never get back and it hurts, it hurts a lot. My name is Lori Crabtree Plegge and on March 16, 2007, I lost my oldest son Charles Anthony Crabtree.

This is the first book I have ever written so I apologize if it is a little rough. The reason for this book is to share my son’s story with the rest of the world.  This story is about the happy and sad times, the good and bad times, how he escaped death on several occasions, and the paths he chose leading up to his death. It is also about how I have coped with his death and some of the things I have done to help others. Will this story bring my son back? No, but it will help me to remember what his life was like and the experiences we shared together.  I hope this story touches you as much as his life touched me. Maybe by hearing someone else’s story it will help you realize there are other parents out there going through the exact same thing you are.  It will get better, you will get through this loss, and life truly does go on. 

Each of us has a different story to tell about our loved one and no two stories will be the same.  Each of us will deal with the death of our child differently but we still have to continue living our life to its fullest.  You may wonder how will I go on in life without my child but with the Lord’s help, each day will become more and more easy.  Will we ever forget the child that we have lost most definitely not?!!!

If you have lost a child, I want you to go away with this one thing, as bad as it may hurt, you must talk about your child.  This is the only way you are going to heal. If you refuse to talk about your child and keep those emotions bottled up inside, it can and probably will lead to depression. Therefore, you have got to let those feelings out. The normal things you may experience after losing a child are sadness, anger, and hatred.  You may think why my child and not me, why my child Lord, and if God loved me he would not have allowed this to happen to me. Then as time goes by you will start to experience happiness, you will begin to remember all the good times you had together.  As I said before, all of these emotions are normal and more than likely you will go through each and every one of them. This is good because if you have or are experiencing any of them, you are healing. 

Writing this book is helping me continue to heal, you see, the first three years after my son’s death I refused to believe he was dead. My fiancé Cliff was very concerned because after three years I still hadn’t accepted the fact my son had passed away.  He knew this wasn’t healthy and made the decision to help me start the healing process. 

One day I was at Cliff’s house talking about Anthony as if he were still alive. Cliff walked over to me, made me look at him and said Lori, Anthony is dead. Your son is dead.  I started shaking my head and telling him, No he is not!  He then told me, Yes he is.  Anthony is dead.  I still shook my head no.  Then Cliff turned my face toward his, made me look him in the eye, and repeat to him over and over again, Anthony is dead. My son is dead.  Anthony is dead. My son is dead until I started crying. Because I started crying he knew I was beginning to accept the fact my son was no longer with me. That was very hard for me because it meant I had really lost my son and he was never coming back.

Eight months after Anthony’s death I started writing down everything I could remember about his death and over the years I shared my story with others. Surprisingly to me, each one of them told me I needed to write a book about his death and publish it.  For the longest time I just blew off what they were telling me but then I started thinking, if my son’s story could help just one parent deal with the tragedy of losing a child or stop just one child from going down the wrong path as my son did, then my story has served its purpose.

If you have lost a child, I want to say I am so sorry for the loss of your child, just remember your child is watching over you in everything you do.  Remember the good times you had together and most of all, know once you leave this life your child will be there waiting to take your hand and lead you into eternity. 

You may have people who have never lost a child tell you they know exactly how you feel but they have no idea how you feel. Understand they are just trying to help you during your time of loss. This is an awkward situation for them and they have no idea what to say so they are saying what they think is right. Please don’t get mad at them because they are just trying to comfort you during your time of loss. However, there are people in this world that do actually know how you feel and I have started a support group for us.  The group is on Facebook and is called Support Group for People Who Have Lost a Child. You will have to ask to join this group because it is a private group.  The reason I made it private is because this is a very personal thing and people want to share their stories but not with people that have never experienced the loss of a child.  Hopefully this site will allow people to relate to someone else’s story and help them deal with their own loss.

Please remember if you have other children to take care of you cannot close yourself away from the rest of the world.  You must be there for your other children they still need and love you. Not only that, but they need you to help them learn to deal with the loss of their sibling and be a shoulder for them to cry on. Also if you have a spouse you need to lean on each other during this time because you will need each other to get through this loss. 

It has been six years since my son’s death.  I’ve done the best I can to remember the good along with the bad times in his life. I did this so I won’t forget that time in my life.  I forget things very easily and I want to be able to look back years from now and remember the last week I spent with my son.  It may not be a good memory but it is my memory and I don’t ever want to forget him. 

Please understand if you have lost a child you are not alone in this great big world. As I mentioned before, each of us has a story to tell and this is my story.  God Bless each and every one of us.


I want to thank the following people for believing in me and encouraging me to write this book because if it weren’t for all of you, I never would’ve done this.

Thank you to Debbie for taking the time to read the story about my son’s death and encouraging me to write about it.  You touched my heart after you read my story and told me I should publish a book about it.  I remember telling you I didn’t think I was good enough to write a story about my son’s death and you explained to me that a good writer was one who could make you feel what they were feeling and see what they were seeing. You then told me I had already written a book, which was a very good book, because you could feel the emotions I felt during that very hard time.

Thank you to Natasha and Sandra for listening to me talk about my son’s death and encouraging me to write about it. There were days I just needed to talk about him, you were there to listen and lend a shoulder to cry on.

Thank you Tiffany for taking the time to read my book once I finished it and giving me any constructive criticism I needed.

Thank you to Tracy for giving me the idea to make this book more personal.  You suggested adding pictures to the story which in turn gave me the idea to write about his life.  This allows other people to know what type of person Anthony really was.  

Thank you to Carrie for writing the Foreword for this book. You did a beautiful job and it is very touching to me. You were a very dear friend to Anthony, and he loved you with all his heart.  I wish you guys could have gotten married and had little Anthony’s and Carrie’s running around everywhere.

Thank you to Sylvia & Charles, my parents, for doing a great job of raising Anthony. He loved you both so much.  Just remember the choices he made in his life weren’t your fault so don't ever blame yourself for his death.

The biggest thank you of all goes to my husband Cliff because I couldn't have done it without your love and support.  If it weren't for you, I don't know when or if I would've ever come to grips with the fact, my son was dead.  Thank you for giving me a shoulder to cry on during the rough times and pushing me when I needed pushing.  Even though you didn’t know Anthony, you knew he loved anything with flames on it. To this day every time we see something with flames on it you point and say Anthony.  It does my heart good to know that you are keeping my son’s memory alive, thank you so much.   Not only that but every time we go somewhere they are selling clovers, ribbons, etc. for $1.00 to put a loved one’s name on, you always buy one and put his name on it.  I will never be able to thank you enough for all you have done for me. I love you babe.

I want to thank everyone in this book that shared their stories about Anthony with me.  This helped me get to know the side of my son I never knew. I wish I could have used them all.

I have had to change some names in the story but I want to thank all the people that allowed me to use their real names because that makes the story more personal. I am so thankful each one of you was a part of our lives. 

Chapter I – How I Met Anthony’s Father

I met Tommy, Anthony’s biological father, when I was fifteen years old. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Tommy because that same night, I came to the conclusion I never wanted to lay eyes on him again!!!!!

The night I met Tommy, I was supposed to be meeting my boyfriend, Ken at the movies.   When I arrived at the theater, this guy walked up to me and said, Are you Lori? I said, Yes.  He said, Hi, my name is Tommy and I am here because Ken couldn’t make it.  He asked me if I would take his place because he didn’t want to stand you up.  I thought this was rather strange because I had no idea who this guys was.  However, it was very considerate of Ken to make sure I wasn’t alone. Since Ken knew this guy I assumed it would be okay to see the movie with him, boy was I wrong!!!!

We waited in line, got our tickets, went inside the theatre and sat down.  Once the movie started we both decided we didn’t like the movie so Tommy asked me if I’d like to walk with him to the bookstore.  The bookstore was located in the mall which was connected to the movie theatre.  I wasn’t allowed to leave the movies but since the mall was connected to the theatre I knew I wouldn’t get in trouble so off we went. 

Once we arrived at the bookstore, Tommy immediately walked to the comic section which was located in the back of the store. He turned around towards me and started fondling me everywhere. He was all hands!!!  I pushed his hands away from me and told him to quit.  He said, No one can see us because we are in the back of the store.  I explained to him there were mirrors above us and everyone in the store could see us. After several times of pushing his hands away, Tommy finally realized he wasn’t going to win the fight and decided to leave the bookstore. I have never been so embarrassed in my life. 

Once we left the bookstore we had nowhere to go because we weren’t allowed back in the movie theatre.  After standing around for a couple of minutes, Tommy asked me if I would like to walk with him to his cousin’s house.  Not knowing how far it was, I agreed to go.  His cousin’s house was a pretty good distance from the movie theater.  Put it this way, I lived a good distance from the theatre and we could’ve walked to my house from his cousin’s house. 

We stayed there until the movie was almost over then we walked back to the theatre where my father picked me up.  I know I could’ve walked home from where we were but if my parents would’ve found out I wasn’t at the movies I would’ve been in trouble and I didn’t want that.

I’ve never been so glad to get home from a date in my life.  That guy was a jerk and I let Ken know exactly what I thought about Tommy.  Ken was very apologetic and promised me it would never happen again.

Little did I know but that wouldn’t be the last time I would see Tommy. When I was eighteen years old, Tommy and I were both hired to open the Family Dollar Store in Newport, AR. The manger assigned us to work together stocking shelves, I wasn’t happy at all with this decision.  I thought to myself, Well at least here we will be with a lot of people so he won’t be able to try anything.  Because we spent a lot of time together we got to know one another better.  He even apologized to me for acting the way he did on our first date.

The more time we spent together the more we started flirting with one another.  Before I knew it, we actually started liking one another other but we never saw each other outside of work which was a good thing.

Family Dollar ended up hiring me permanently and they let Tommy go. Not long after that my family and I moved from Newport, AR to Jackson, MS so we were no longer in the same town. Our moving was a good thing because I really didn’t need to get involved with this guy anyway.

You aren’t going to believe this but when I was twenty years old and living in Jackson, I saw Tommy again. It truly is a small world.  Who’d a thought I would see Tommy in Jackson, MS of all places. 

One day my father and I were sitting at home and it was getting close to supper time so Dad told me to call Mother at work to see what she would like for supper.  When I tried to call her I discovered our phones weren’t working. Since none of our neighbors were home I had to drive about five miles up the street to the nearest convenience store to use a pay phone (keep in mind this was before cell phones). 

I called our phone company to see what had happened to our phones and they told me there was a construction company in the area that cut our phone lines while digging. I thanked them and as I was hanging up the phone I turned around just in time to see this truck drive past me. In the window of the truck was this guy pointing at me.  I recognized the guy in the truck as Tommy and I thought to myself, Oh my God, surely not!!! Please God please don’t let that be Tommy!!!!! He got out of the truck, walked over to me, hugged my neck, and introduced me to the guy driving the truck, his boss.  He told me he told his boss he knew me and his boss told him there was no way he knew me because I was out of his league.  Sure enough he knew me, lucky me.  Guess what?  Tommy was with the construction company that cut our phone lines.  Not only that but he was the person that actually cut them.

Not long afterwards we started dating.  As our relationship progressed we got more serious about things and became sexually involved.  For those of you that believe you can’t get pregnant from having sex only one time well…….we had sex one time and it was in July of 1986. In August of 1986 I found out I was pregnant.

Chapter II – My Pregnancy

The day I was going to tell Tommy I was pregnant, we got into a fight.  I had given him my class ring to wear so I told him I was coming to his apartment to get it back.  While I was there we fought even more and on my way out the door, I said, Oh by the way, I may be pregnant.  His reply was, Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Wow, you would think he would’ve had a little more concern than that but he didn’t. Shortly afterwards he moved back to

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