The Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect whose wife, mother-in-law and 1-year-old son were killed in rural Virginia earlier this week wrote that his "heart was turned to ash" after the devastating loss.
Blake Bivens, 24, a pitcher with the Double A Montgomery (Ala.) Biscuits, posted a heartbreaking message on Instagram Thursday alongside a series of photos of his wife, Emily Bivens, 24; his mother-in-law, Joan Bernard, 62; and his 14-month-old son, Cullen, who were killed on Tuesday in what police have called a triple homicide.
"Two days ago my heart was turned to ash,'' he wrote. "My life as I knew it is destroyed. The pain my family and I feel is unbearable and cannot be put into words. I shake and tremble at the thought of our future without them."
Bivens' brother-in-law, Matthew Thomas Bernard, 18, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and placed on suicide watch as investigators work to determine a motive, Pittsylvania County Sheriff Michael Taylor said Wednesday at a news conference.
Bivens, who was a fourth-round draft pick out of high school by the Rays in 2014, remembered the three special people he has lost.
His wife was his high school sweetheart, and the two celebrated their three-year anniversary in January.
"Emily, my sweetheart, you are the best wife and mother this world has ever seen,'' he wrote. "You made me into the man I am today and you loved me with all of my flaws. You brought our precious baby boy into this world and made our family complete. Your love and kindness changed countless lives, including mine.
"My sweet little boy, dada loves you so much! I can’t breathe without you here. I finally understood what love was when you were born and I would have done anything for you. You have changed my life forever, you are my reason why. I long to hold the both of you again in heaven."
He wrote that Bernard was "the best mother-in-law anyone could ask for," who "raised the most wonderful girl in the world."
Bivens said he and his father-in-law were enduring the tragedy together.
"We will get through this together as a family,'' he wrote. "We will not let the devil win! Thank you God for giving me the most wonderful family in the world! I’ve been blessed beyond belief.
"I am comforted by all the messages and well wishes. I’m not sure what is next for me, but I do know God has a plan even though I can’t see it."
Bivens also thanked the Rays organization and the Montgomery Biscuits for their support.
"All we can do is kind of put our arms around (Bivens) as an organization, him and his family, and do the best we can," Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters Wednesday.