OAK HARBOR, Wash. -- Theirs was a bond that began before they were born. The love shared by Janesah and Janeah Goheen was evident when they were first separated in the delivery room.
"They came in and said, 'Mrs. Goheen, we cannot console the girls. Do you have any suggestions?' So, I told them to bring them to me, and I cuddled them together and as soon as I did that they stopped crying," said Debbie Goheen. "From that point on, they never wanted to be apart."
Debbie Goheen wiped away tears as she told that story Friday afternoon, as he family prepared for the memorial service for her two daughters.
"There was something very special about the two of them," she said.
It was a love that Debbie and her husband Jim say couldn’t be conquerd, even by death.
The girls set out with a friend on Halloween night to go to a haunted house in Seattle. Police say 53-year-old Ira Blackstock was driving recklessly and may have been on drugs when he crossed the center line on SR 20, demolishing the girls' car.
Janeah died that night. The twins had said in the past they didn’t know if they could live without each other. Ten days later their dad had to make the decision to remove Janesah from life support. He believes a vision from God told him the girls needed to be together.
"It’s like he said to me, ‘Jim, you have the faith to bring her back, but would would give me Janessa because they’ve never been apart?’ I told Him yes."
The twins filled the Goheen home with music and their hearts with joy for 17 short years, even in the most of difficult times. Parents of five girls, the couple lost another daughter in a car wreck in 2008. Now, Jim and Debbie say their house is sadly quiet, but joy still sings in their hearts.
"Even though our hearts are breaking because they’re not here anymore, our hearts are rejoicing that they’re together because our love as a family was for them to be together."
The couple finds joy in seeing the love shared by their daughters now spreading across the community.They tell of strangers praying for each other's children in the Harborview ICU. And they point to a couple reconciling their marriage with the realization that life is too short.
"In tragedy there can be life," said Jim. "It’s all in how we choose to look at it."
As they prepare for life without their beloved daughters, the Goheens have one simple message for parents everywhere. They ask that you honor their family by taking a few minutes once a week to honor your own.
"Take some time, it doesn't have to be at a big family meal, but take a moment to look them straight in the eye and tell them how much you love them. I love you. Those three words are incredible."
A public memorial service for the Goheen girls will be held Saturday at 2:00 pm at Oak Harbor High School. A fund to help the Goheens is set up at Whidbey Island Bank branches. Additional information can be found at http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/goheen-family-fund/106388