Jennifer Martinsen visits the cemetery nearly every day. It's quiet, peaceful. She knows her daughter isn't really there, but she feels a connection. It's a chance for the two of them to be alone together, apart from the noise of the outside world. Every few days, though, the bass from a car stereo hums in the distance, and Jennifer knows her regular graveside companion has arrived. The car pulls to a stop not far from where Molly Martinsen is buried, and Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk pops out to greet Jennifer.
"Hi Mom," he says to the woman he met just seven months ago.
Last summer, Seastrunk was enrolled in a course that examined issues associated with death and dying. A cemetery visit was a requirement, but he couldn't bring himself to go. The tombstones terrified him until he met Jennifer, a Waco, Texas, resident, and heard Molly's story. Now he visits Oakwood Cemetery in Waco a few times a week, squeezing in a trip before class or spending a few hours there after practice. It's his time to escape from the world and connect with a little girl he misses desperately, too.
"I can hear her speak to me," Seastrunk said. "I hear her very clearly."
On his wrist, Seastrunk wears an orange band with Molly's name on it. On his backpack, he pins a picture of her. He has a necklace with a pendant of his uniform number on one side and Molly's name on the other. Before every game, he writes "Molly" in bright orange letters on his wrist tape and says a prayer for her in the end zone. His season and his life are dedicated to the 11-year-old girl he never met.
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