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Oklahoma State basketball: One year later, a daughter is still mourned

Nettie Herrera, the mother of the former OSU coach Miranda Serna, spent a month in her daughter's house in Stillwater trying to come to grips with the plane crash.
By Anthony Slater, Staff Writer, aslater@opubco.com Published: November 13, 2012

photo - Miranda Serna's mother Nettie Herrera, left, and sister, Cassandra look on during the memorial service for Oklahoma State head basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 in Stillwater, Okla. The two were killed in a plane crash along with former state senator Olin Branstetter and his wife Paula while on a recruiting trip in central Arkansas last . Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Miranda Serna's mother Nettie Herrera, left, and sister, Cassandra look on during the memorial service for Oklahoma State head basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 in Stillwater, Okla. The two were killed in a plane crash along with former state senator Olin Branstetter and his wife Paula while on a recruiting trip in central Arkansas last . Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

But one week of mourning couldn't lift Nettie's unbearable heartache. Not even a lifetime could.

Nettie had lost a daughter and best friend, the little girl she raised into a woman nearing the pinnacle of her profession. And she needed time alone, to digest the tragic news and expedite the healing process.

So one day after that emotional Saturday funeral, Nettie was back in her car, driving the eight-hour trek back to Stillwater.

And for more than a month, from late November into early January, she stayed in Miranda's Stillwater home, by herself, only leaving for necessary errands and occasional Cowgirl basketball games.

“I needed to be over there, by myself, at her house,” Nettie said. “Every moment that I felt weak or felt upset or whatever, being Catholic and practicing my faith. Any moment where I felt that, there was a coin, a medal, all over Miranda's house. And it said, ‘In God we trust.' And I would get back to normal.”

The healing process isn't over — it never will be — but that soothing month in her daughter's home has put Nettie at ease, allowing her to accept what happened.

And nearing the one-year anniversary of the crash, Nettie remains a strong figure around the Mora community, appearing at events honoring and remembering her daughter.

“Yes, I cry. But when people see me, they need to see strength,” Nettie said. “It's been hard, it has been hard. But because of her memories, we are able, I am able, to heal. Visiting her house, even going to the crash site in Arkansas, it was peaceful. Very peaceful.”


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