Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguer Blake Bivens went on Facebook and was struck with unspeakable tragedy.
As the 24-year-old Double-A pitcher awaited a flight last August from Tennessee to his home in Virginia, Bivens signed onto social media and learned his wife, 14-month-old son and mother-in-law had been murdered.
Bivens spoke Sunday of the horrific day at the The River Church in Danville, Va., which was shared via Facebook.
“First headline I see is two females and a small child were gone,” Bivens said. “I immediately knew that was them. I found out my family was gone over a Facebook headline. I just immediately began to scream in the middle of the airport.”
Bivens’ brother-in-law, Matthew Thomas Bernard, was charged with three counts of first-degree homicide. Bernard will undergo a competency review to determine whether he is mentally fit to stand trial. A warrant enabled authorities to search the alleged 18-year-old killer’s cell phone, finding evidence Bernard had “visions” and “heard from God.”
“I think the hardest moment for me was when I got home and I walked in my son’s bedroom for the first time and realized I was never going to see him on this Earth again,” he said. “That was the worst moment in my life. Nothing ever will come to being, to feeling the way I felt at that moment. Then again, I know I will see him again one day, and it won’t be long.”
Since losing his wife Emily, 25, son, Cullen, and mother-in-law, Joan Bernard, 62, Bivens has spent time with teammates and continued pitching in Australia, relying on religion — citing Bible verse John 16:33 — to help him through the devastation.
“And when I read, ‘Take heart, for I have overcome the world,’ it changed, it completely flipped a switch in my heart,” Bivens said. “And from that moment on I knew that this was not going to beat me, this was not going to beat family. I was going to live in victory the rest of my life, and I was going to use this as a testimony to show what he has done for me he can also do for others.
“That moment for me was one of the biggest moments where I just knew God was with me, and the only thing I knew to do was just laugh in the enemy’s face, because he thought he had won. But all he’s done is awoken a sleeping giant and as long as I’m here on this earth, every day I wake up my goal is to pile-drive him right in the face every morning when I get up.”
“It’s unbelievable how much I can vividly remember from the day,” Bivens said. “And it’s kind of unbelievable to see how far things have come from that day also.”
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