After losing loved ones in a fire, couple has message of hope for Haltom City family

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on January 18, 2013 at 7:39 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 18 at 10:03 PM

Four killed in Haltom City fire

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HALTOM CITY -- Yessenia Garces walked in front of her Haltom City home last Friday shocked and stunned after losing her two children, a nephew and her mother in a fire.

The images of her grief shook Rachele Lightsey and her husband, Gary. They know that pain.

“It just brought back the fact that no one understood what we were feeling,” Rachele Lightsey said.

The couple lived the same nightmare nearly 12 years ago. The couple lost their two children, 16-month-old Kyleigh and four-year-old Tyler, in a house fire on August 16, 2001. Rachele’s mother and stepfather, Dan and Debra Bradford, also died.

The couple knows the dark road that lies ahead.

“Now, [Yessenia] is going to be left with her grief and that fact that they are not there,” Rachele said. “She can't call mom, and she can't tuck in her babies.”

The Lightseys told News 8 they were broken for years. They never thought they could shed so many tears.

“I was at the point that I didn't want to know if I wanted to go on,” Gary Lightsey said.

The wounds never healed, but they found a way to live life without their children.

“The fire is what took them, but the memories is what kept us going,” Rachele said.

The kids' pictures are still up at their home. They kept some of their favorite toys. They celebrate their birthdays, and every August, they take a family vacation.

“We are going to go somewhere beautiful and use that time to remember them,” Gary said.

Faith helped them cope with the tragedy. It gave them the strength to move forward.

“I've been told they are in heaven, so I guess I need to find out everything I can about this place and what I gotta do to get there,” Rachele said.

The Lightseys are survivors, and they are now reaching out to the Garces family with a message of hope.

“Just hang on, don't let go,” Rachele said. “And, if you do fall, that's okay. We are gonna try to be there, to kind of help you get back up.”

Yessenia Garces will bury her mother, Martiza, her children, five-year-old Gene Rayos and three-year-old Jayleen Rayos, and her nephew, two-month-old Jaime Moran Jr., Saturday morning.

A fundraiser for the family will also take place Saturday at Club Chrome in Fort Worth at 1 p.m. The club is located at 2408 Belknap Street. The public is welcome to the event.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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