Family copes with life after first born child killed in Iraq

Family reflects on life without first born child killed in combat

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Phyllis Bailey lights a red candle every morning. It's a vivid memorial for her and husband Tony Bailey and their younger daughter Candace. The bright flames remind them of the 23 years they shared with their oldest daughter Sergeant LaKeshia Bailey before she passed away March 8, 2010.

Phyllis recalled what she remembers most about her first born child, "That little squeaky voice she would always say Candace. She called her Cain…Cain hit me and she was so fun of Miles our little dog."

Miles and Candace are still around; they each pull on one another for support.

As another memorial, the Baileys added a concrete slab in their driveway and installed a green street sign bearing "Keisha's" name. "We did that in May of 2011 and we engraved the concrete."

Phyllis bailey says her daughter's death also inspired her to put sayings around her home and like this one on her stairs that says "we walk by faith and not by sight". She says she wants to inspire others to live life to the fullest.

LaKeshia's father Tony Bailey, a retired soldier is trying embrace his new life without his daughter...the one who followed in his footsteps. "I keep busy, working with my hands, because if I just sit idle, my mind will fall heavily on my daughter."

LaKeshia also owned a Grand Prix…that now belongs to Candace. Since LaKeshia always wanted a pink car, they decided to paint the bumper in her favorite color.

The Baileys say through prayer and with God on their side---it doesn't get easier, but they are moving on as a family.

Copyright 2013 WTVM. All rights reserved.