Surviving family member shares experience to help others

POCATELLO -- Four months ago, four family members in Idaho died from carbon monoxide poisoning in their sleep.

The cause of the deadly leak was a faulty water heater.

Bill and Ross Parrish along with their two youngest sons, Liam and Keegan, all died from Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Their two oldest children, Jensen and Ian Parrish, were both away serving LDS church missions at the time.

Ian has returned to his mission, while Jensen decided to stay in Pocatello, living with relatives.

Jensen has also decided to share her experience in order to help others dealing with tragedy.


Each morning, Jensen Parrish drives to work, singing along to the music in the car.

When she gets to her job at Geraldine's Bakery in nearby Chubbock, she hums while slicing brownies and bagging bread.

If you didn't know her story, you would never guess the loss the 22-year-old is living with, and the strength she now shares with others.

She's given talks several times over the last few months at churches and to groups at camps.

She is sharing the story of how her family died, and how she keeps living.


It was February 23, when she got the horrifying call that her mother, father, and two youngest brothers were dead.

One poisonous stream of carbon monoxide suddenly took four lives.

Jensen says it was that very night that she made a choice that would change her life.

"I was still in shock, I was still in denial, and I had the thought come to me, so what are you going to do, are you going to be bitter and angry, or are you going to rely on the Lord and just forward, so I kind of made the decision that night," said Jensen.

Since then, Jensen made another choice -- to start writing about her experience.

"Writing helps me to get everything out to clarify what I'm thinking, what I'm feeling," said Jensen.

She started a blog called

A New Normal


She posts whenever she needs to, usually on the bad days.

She writes every couple weeks, detailing the issues she struggles to overcome and how she is coping with the loss of her family.

Thousands of people from around the world read each post, and many respond.

"It's really nice when I find out people have been sharing it on their Facebook, and then those people are sharing it, and then those people, so that's been kind of a booster for me, so it's kind of nice, really nice," said Jensen.

Jensen admits she doesn't feel like an inspiration or a hero. Instead, she's just sharing her honest experience.

"I've kind of allowed myself to feel what I feel when I feel it, because whan you try to hide it, it doesn't help," said Jensen.

She says there are difficult days when the memories of her family are overwhelming.

"I just miss the simple things, saying hi, getting hugs, those types of things, I miss their smiles and laughs," said Jensen.

But, she says the reason she can still smile and laugh is simple: Her faith.

"That I would be with my family again, and so that was one of the biggest moments, realizing that it was going to be okay, it was going to be fine, it may not be all the way fixed right now but it will be in time," said Jensen.


Jensen's other big goal now is to raise awareness and educate other families about the dangers of carbon monoxide.

She and her relatives are starting a foundation called "No CO," to spread the importance of carbon monoxide detectors.

A memorial basketball tournament is planned in honor of the Parrish family in August.

The Chubbock Lions Club is coordinating the tournament. Click herefor more information or to donate.


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