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“You can move on.” Family who lost daughter in Murrah bombing living strong despite tragedy

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Kathleen Treanor watches her 16-year old daughter Kassidy ride at the family horse ranch. Kathleen and her husband Mike have built a life for themselves in the tranquil surroundings of rural Oklahoma.

"Being close to the land brings you closer to God and brings you close to who you really are," says Kathleen.

This easy lifestyle is far removed from the pain and noise that erupted and overtook them on April 19, 1995.

Kathleen's four year-old daughter Ashley and Michael's parents Luther and Larue Treanor were killed in the devastation 20 years ago. Luther and Larue had taken Ashley with them as they ran an errand to the Social Security office inside the Murrah building that morning. Kathleen testified at the mass murder trial of Timothy McVeigh.

Remembering her testimony, husband Mike says, "I only heard her and the woman before her. And those two stories it was all I could do not to cry myself. It was real emotional."

Kathleen stunned the courtroom when she testified that six months after the bombing, the medical examiner called with the news they had recovered part of Ashley's hand.

"They heard that and I think that shocked everyone in the courtroom. There were gasps from the jury," says Kathleen.

Paintings of Ashley adorn the walls of the Treanors' home as Kathleen and Michael's strong spirit fills it.

"There's a lot to live for. Tragedy defines you and refines you. But it doesn't stop you."

And Michael found a unique and powerful way to wage his own war against the pain of the bombing.

"I felt helpless during the bombing. It upset me there was nothing I could do to help prevent it . I became a soldier with the 45th and joined a special squad because it was designed to combat weapons of mass destruction," explains Michael. "It was the best job for me to do."

Then in 2006, the unbelievable happened to the Treanors. Another cruel twist of tragedy, when Ashley's brother Zach, then a teenager, died from sudden cardiac arrest while training for soccer.

"I had to bury another child. Sometimes I grieve more for Zach than Ashley," says Kathleen. "With Ashley I had somebody to be mad at. With Zach, he was just taken. It wasn't anything anybody did. It was just a tragedy."

A lot of dark times to fight through for the Treanors. But also, blessings.

After Ashley was killed, Kathleen had her tubal ligition surgery reversed in hopes of having another child. One day, the home pregnancy test had some welcome news for them.

"We had gone to the grocery store. I was unloading groceries. She had rushed in and took her test and ran out and said, 'Guess what? I'm pregnant!' and hugged me and right then, lightning struck right across the road there. Just BOOM! Like an exclamation point!" says Michael.

Kassidy, now 16, is the apple of her parents' eye. And the family felt blessed another girl is in the family.

"Not so much to replace Ashley but so she would have a daughter she could see through to proms and weddings. A legacy," says Michael.

"She's the perfect example of how God blesses you in tragedy."

The Treanors spend quality family time whenever possible. Taking their horses on long trail rides all through Oklahoma, never taking anything for granted, and holding on to what they have.

"That's the one thing we've learned," they say. "You can move on."

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