Struck by tragedy, mom is redefining 'normal'

Posted at 9:30 PM, May 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 00:00:32-04

Two years ago, a Carmel mother was hit with tragedy that struck her family and changed her life.

Colleen Stine is a mother of five living in her hometown on the north side of Carmel.

In 2014, her family was hit with two unexpected deaths in one week.

"I lost my cousin Zachary on July 19, 2014. And one week later, I lost my sister [Shannon], who was my best friend in the world," Stine said. "She was killed by her ex-husband, who then killed himself, leaving their two boys left in this world without parents. My husband and I took them in. We have since had another baby, for a grand total of five."

"My brother-in-law suffered from depression," Stine said. "He didn't get the help he needed. But he was a good man. And he loved those boys. And at one time he really loved my sister."

READ MORE | Family, friends, students remember Shannon Hall

Stine manages her own blog and online t-shirt business, "Mama Said Tees." After the tragedy to her family, she and her business partner – also named Colleen – decided they needed to do something to spread a message of kindness and support to others who may need support.

"We thought, 'We have to do something bigger,'" Stine said. "And then the dominoes just started falling."

The pair teamed up with others who felt different in some way. They made a video to show we all have differences, things we struggle with, and that's normal.


"We feel really passionately that it can help people who don't feel normal to know that it's OK to be different," Stine said. "It's just kind of proof that life goes one, but, while we are living, it's up to us to make the world a better place. So we're doing something about it."

To learn more about the "Normal" project, visit Stine's blog here. You can also find more "Normal" on her "Mama Said Tees" page.