Pictures of Enzo's Memorial Service

On October 6, 2010, 6-month old Enzo was in a car accident with his parents and older brother and sister. Almost 48 hours later, he went home to be with Jesus. This blog is run by his family members and is our way of sharing our grief and hope with everyone who cares to visit. We rejoice in knowing that one day we will be reunited with Enzo in eternity! If you would like to contact us, you can email us at InMemoryofEnzo@gmail.com (not case-sensitive).

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Two Years Ago

Two years ago this evening was the accident that changed our family forever. In these last two years, we have learned so much.

What it's like to plan a memorial service and funeral with a teensy casket. What it's like to feel you are going out of your mind with grief. What it's like to have your loved ones bend over backwards and lay down their lives for you in their support. What it's like to have an entire community back you and grieve with you.

What it's like to have your worst nightmare come true and be every bit as horrible as you ever imagined, but what it's like to have the all-consuming love of a Holy and Sovereign GOD wrap his arms around you and never let go.

You see, before this tragedy struck our family, I was big on fear. Fear that a family member would die. Fear that I would die and leave my children numb with grief for the rest of their lives. Fear of this, fear of that. Fear, fear, fear. And it ruled my life. I would lay awake at night imagining what it would be like. And it was so horrible, it would bring me to tears.

Somewhere along the way, I wondered if maybe it wouldn't really be as horrible as my imagination led me to believe. I even started getting the idea that maybe the anticipation was more horrible than it would actually turn out to be.

Well, I found out... and the answer is no. It really is that horrible.

I faced my own grief at the loss of my precious nephew whom I held when he was one hour old. My nephew whom I spent his entire first week of life with in the hospital. My nephew who I would never get to know. But worse than that, I had a front row seat to watch my sister grieve her child, her baby, her heart. For me, that was the hardest part as I watched Kate walk the road of grief so long and arduous that I would spend hours on my knees, begging God to relieve her suffering.

Yes, it really was that horrible.

BUT GOD.

BUT GOD.

You see what I never could imagine in my anticipation of a loved one dying was the other side of the coin... the other "part of the deal"... that comes with the grief - the all-consuming love and comfort of Christ Jesus, our Lord. I have never known his love, his presence, his everything, until I knew deep grief of the soul. I always anticipated the horror, but I never knew how beautifully God would show himself to our family in that time. And I never knew how sufficient it would be.

Although many lessons have been learned, that is the treasure that has stayed with me the longest. I am no longer ruled by fear. NOT because I am a strong person - I am not. NOT because I am a smart person - I am not. Only for this reason: Because before the accident, I had heard about and believed in God's love. After the accident, I KNEW God's love.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hoquiam Cheer Squad Bringing Awareness To Texting & Driving

Three cheers for the cheerleaders at Hoquiam High School, who are using a grant to bring awareness to the dangers of texting & driving! They have dedicated their project to Enzo. You can read all about them here: http://kbkw.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=3737.

This is SUCH an important issue. Even though this is so close to home for me, I STILL get tempted to "just glance" at a text while I am driving - even I have to be continually reminded of what can be lost when I decide to make this destructive choice.

Remind yourself and others not to text & drive. Who knows how many lives will be saved.

Thank you to the Hoquiam Cheerleaders for their hearts.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

How To Help a Grieving Friend

Hello dear friends! Let me first say Merry Christmas from our family to yours! Please be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug or "I Love You" today. Enjoy this beautiful season with them while it's here.

Recently, a friend came to me asking how to help a grieving loved one who had lost her 6 month old baby. As I prepared to write her back, it occurred to me that these thoughts may be of value to anyone in this position - thus, the purpose of this public blog post. While I think it would be impossible to come up with an exhaustive list, my thoughts may at least help guide in the general direction.

When you have a grieving friend:
  1. Don't hesitate to talk about the person who has passed away. My sister LOVED to talk about Enzo - and she still does. When people deliberately avoided his name, she felt they weren't respecting his life. The pain was there when she would talk about him; but it hurt more when she didn't or felt she couldn't talk about him. It was one way of expressing and working through her grief. 
  2. Initiate taking care of their practical needs. Sometimes the most brainless and mundane tasks become impossible to a soul paralyzed by grief. Start driving their kids to school, making them dinner once a week, or cleaning their bathrooms. After Enzo's death, one friend of my parents' came over, picked up their dirty laundry and brought it back later that day all clean and folded.  The thing is, if you have a specific idea for how you can help, tell them you want to - and if they will let you, do it. Simply asking, "how can I help you?" - although well meant - is a question they may not be able to answer. Not only are they overwhelmed by everything, but some may fear being a "burden" on others
  3. Be there AFTER all the activity has died down. Many, many people will surround the family in the activity of the initial shock with the funeral, meals, etc. - but there comes a time where inevitably, people move on with their own lives. Kate once said that at the very beginning (during all that activity) you can feel numb and not realize the depth of the loss. But soon there comes a time when the grief is unbearable - and this is when others have moved on. This is the hardest time. "How dare the world continue to turn when my heart hurts this bad?" Also, remember that grieving looks different for everyone. I personally found it helpful to research the stages of grieving BUT those are only a helpful tool - you cannot put people in a box with their grief, and it WILL be unpredictable.
  4. PRAY FOR THEM. This sounds cliche, but truly it's the only thing to do when you can do nothing else. Ask God to give you pictures, words of encouragement and scriptures you can pass along to your grieving friend. One time I was praying for Kate as she was in her lowest valley of despair. I asked the Lord to show me a picture of her heart. And He did! It was of a very, very black night, but I could make out the shape of a low flat grassy hill. As I watched the horizon over that hill, I saw the sun very slowly begin to rise and give light to the entire world. I felt the sun was going to rise in her heart again soon - and when I told her this, she clung on to it.
  5. Keep reminding them of the truth that God loves them and has a beautiful plan for their lives. Give them hope for the future, but acknowledge that right now they can't see it. Even when they don't feel it, the reminders will sink in and pave the way for the truth to take root in their heart after the lowest valley has been conquered. Know that you don't have to answer their questions - chiefly "why?" - but you can just sit there and let them ask them anyway.  
  6. Finally, sometimes it's okay to just be silent with them if you don't know what to say. Cry with them. Let your heart break with theirs. Avoid saying things such as, "He is now an angel in Heaven" (NOT true anyway, according to the Bible), and "God just needed him up in Heaven more than you needed him here," or (for miscarriage and stillbirth) "Maybe there was something wrong with the baby and God spared you from it." While most people are well intentioned when they say these things, they are insensitive, ignorant of truth and don't help the situation at all.


    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Nostalgia for one year ago

    Forgive me for another post similar to the last one... but today I woke up and the first things on my heart were what happened after the accident last year. Once again, the memories begged to be set free from the trap of my mind.

    But first, I had to look up the word nostalgia. I love this word probably because I carry so much of it with me all the time. Put it together with the fact that I am good with dates, and it seems that every week of the year there is something that I remember and become nostalgic about from some earlier point in my life (even as far back as childhood). One of the definitions is, "a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life."

    I don't know that I ever desire to return to these memories, but I really enjoy basking in the glow of them. Interesting that I should be so nostalgic about a living nightmare that we entered last year. I am concluding that it's the good things I am feeling nostalgic for - the way family and friends rallied around us, the way Christ's love was all-consuming, the way all other things in life just faded away and didn't matter.

    Ok, so back to my musings about one year ago today, October 7th. It was the day between the accident and Enzo's official death.

    One year ago, Todd and Kate did not leave Enzo's bed side. They didn't sleep or eat. They refused medical care for themselves. They cried and prayed all day long over their baby's body on life support. The medical staff did all sorts of tests on Enzo to find any sign of brain activity. No matter what they did, they could find none at all. Initially the doctors told us it would get worse before it got better. Unfortunately, the worse was well here and it would not be getting better (we still had hope though). But through this day, Todd and Kate never, ever gave up. They refused to believe what the doctors told them. They never, ever gave up.

    One year ago, Amy went to the hospital for good parts of the day to just be there and relay information to us. News stations from Seattle began calling and doing phone interviews. Amy was even willing to do a face to face interview, although it never happened because Enzo's tests were giving such hopeless results to us.

    In Detroit, Elisabeth was in the middle of a rigorous school schedule, but still bought a plane ticket to be flying out the next day. I know how much she was sacrificing by taking time away from her her studies to come.

    And here in Colorado, in perhaps one of the biggest displays of love in this whole ordeal, my best friend Michelle offered to leave her family for a few days to make the long drive up to Washington with me (1500 miles) since my husband was out of the country. Through this journey, the miracle of Enzo's sunset happened on the next day (you may read it here: http://baby-zo.blogspot.com/2010/10/story-behind-zos-sunset.html).

    This day was a day caught between hope and fear - the doctors were saying he would not live, but we knew the God of miracles might provide one here. It was hard to eat, hard to sleep, hard to do much of anything being strung so tightly between two extremes.

    So why would I be so nostalgic about such a stressful, tension filled day like this? Maybe because I look back and see God's total and complete faithfulness. I imagine that befuddles the minds of some - how can God be faithful when he let our littlest family member die? I don't have an easy answer to that, but I encourage you to read God's Word. Trust your life to his care and when your valleys come, He will walk through them with you.

    My beautiful friend Karen showed me this video yesterday. It was a song that kept her going in her own valley several years ago - enjoy. :)

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    At this moment, one year ago....

    I happen to be feeling very contemplative at the moment and I just looked down at the clock to realize it is exactly around the time that, one year ago, the car accident happened.

    One year ago, Kate was spinning. Hearing the sounds of shattering glass and crunching metal and - of her husband screaming.

    On year ago, my parents were relaxing at home and receiving a phone call. Hearing Todd panicking that Zozo wasn't breathing... and began racing to the scene of the accident. My mom didn't even stop to put on her shoes.

    One year ago, my phone rang and I knew something bad was on the other end. All I heard was hysterical sobbing and had to ask the caller to repeat what was said... my body began to shake from deep inside...

    One year ago, my sister Amy was not answering her phone as I tried again and again and again to call... she finally called back after awhile after seeing so many missed calls to hear "WHERE have you been?!" I can still hear the shock in her voice to be greeted in such a way. :)

    One year ago, my sister Elisabeth was awakened from a sound sleep when my phone call came through... and didn't get much sleep the rest of the night.

    One year ago today, this blog was born... and had 20,000 hits in the first 36 hours of it's life. One year later, it has almost 70,000 hits and has touched dozens of lives (that we know of) - maybe more.  When I began this blog, I thought it would just be for family members and close friends to keep posted on Enzo's condition. At that point, we thought he would be fine after awhile. This blog was supposed to simply keep people updated on his long road of recovery we knew was ahead.

    Little did we know this blog would turn into a journal of grief, a testimony to God's faithfulness through our valley of the shadow of death. Little did we know an entire community, plus hundreds more people around the globe, would follow this story and rally around our family.

    Thank you to everyone reading this. Thank you for following our journey and for allowing us to rant, rave and share our deepest feelings of the soul here.

    My prayer is that this will encourage you for your own journey in life. That you will see God for who he is - faithful, loving, solid rock, our everything. Today a good friend said this to me: "the God who makes walking through the valley possible."

    Indeed.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    My Sister, My Hero

    I was having trouble posting here, so I will just attach the link instead... a picture from Enzo's Memorial Service says a thousand words.
    To read this post, see my other blog: http://beautywisdomseeker.com/2011/09/22/my-sister-my-hero/

    :) ~Auntie Melissa

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Justice

    Dearest loved ones, today was the day that justice has been served for our Enzo's life.

    This morning, the driver of the other vehicle was sentenced to three years in prison. You can read the article here: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/sep/21/east-bremerton-man-sentenced-to-3-years-in-for/

    I thought it was a beautiful way to begin that article: "When Enzo Williams' family takes a family photo, the Sesame Street character Elmo now stands in his place." Thank you, Josh Farley, for taking such great care with this important article today, to broadcast to the world that at last, our family can see justice served. Indeed, we DO have a family photo I will post here later today that shows all the grandchildren - and Elmo. 

    Yes, we still consider Enzo a part of the family. My sister has three children. My parents have 10 grandchildren. One of these just happens to live in another world now. We are still at a point in our grief where it would feel strange not to include Enzo in our family pictures, family count, etc. 

    It has been exactly 3 weeks shy of a year of the crash. Life is moving on, and slowly, bit by bit, we have too. The grief will probably always be there, popping up in unexpected flashes. But we have experienced - and anticipate - great healing as well. The God we serve is faithful. He cannot leave us or abandon us. 

    Please continue to pray for the driver's family too. Our family is satisfied to see justice served. However, we are mindful of the fact that this accident has devastated not just one family, but two. I am personally praying that Mr. Wright will be broken before His creator and surrender his soul to Jesus. I am praying that this three years in prison will change him, truly from the inside out - and that when he is released, his life will be used to make the world a better place. Please pray for his family, however the Lord puts on your heart.

    Well, friends, a chapter has been closed in this story - but it can never bring Enzo back. We might have a wee bit of closure from seeing justice done, but it does not lessen the pain. We will keep updating this blog as necessary - and still would love to hear from you and any way that Enzo's short life and death has touched you. Email us InMemoryOfEnzo@gmail.com.

    God's Blessings On You All Today!

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    Happy Birthday Sweet Enzo (March 23rd)

    Hello dear friends and family - yes, this post is being written over three months later - but better late than never!

    Auntie Beth and Auntie Melissa (and families) flew in from out of state for spring break! On March 23rd, we had a special day as we celebrated Enzo's birthday in the morning and then his Auntie's Amy's birthday for the rest of the day. We visited Enzo's grave and had a nice time hanging out in the sunshine. Enzo's brother and sister and several of his cousins came and released Happy Birthday balloons to Heaven.


    Fast forward to right now, July! How is the family doing? At the moment, I can honestly say - good. Great, even. Grief is a strange and unpredictable journey, however, and sorrow can often wash upon us at any moment here and there. There have been some very dark days, weeks in the last nine months. Times where it felt as though there would never, ever be a light at the end of the tunnel. Times where it was hard to believe life would ever be filled with hope and laughter again. However, the light has slowly but surely grown larger - almost with the seasons we currently are in. With spring in the climate, our hearts have slowly begun to come alive with new hope and new beginnings.

    More specifically, I would like to say that Enzo's mommy, Kate, is doing especially well. This doesn't mean she doesn't still grieve, but coming from an older sister's perspective, I am SO proud of her and how she has come out of the darkest valleys. Through this entire ordeal, she has kept her focus on Jesus and grown very strong and close to her Savior.  She has truly been through the fire - excruciating for her family to watch. However, through this enormous storm I have watched her cling with everything she has to the one constant in her life - God. She has held on to him with all her might and He has been faithful to bring her through it. The waters have calmed now and she is still alive, even thriving -  it doesn't seem so hard to "do life" now. I posted this verse back in December - even though it was so hard to believe, God is sure proving himself faithful to it! PSALM 66:10,12: "You have tested us, O God. You have purified us like silver... We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance."

    Our family has begun writing a book about the entire experience. This may be a project that takes years to complete (or not), but we will just follow the Lord's lead and see what happens. The book will probably include a lot about spiritual journeys before and after the accident, details/perspectives from the night of the accident, and things we have learned. The most important thing we would hopefully do is encourage families who are grieving. We are by no means a perfect family, but we have stuck together and I'd sure love to see other families be able to do that should they hit a road of grief.

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    "Tell my mom I am fine!"

    Today, Enzo's cousin, Hunter, woke up and immediately told about a dream he had last night. Here are his own words, with absolutely no editing or coaching:

    "So I had an image from God last night in a dream, which I think is
    really cool and it was about Enzo. Ok, so I get this image that I see
    Heaven and people walking around in it. And then Enzo walks up to me
    and says "hey! I'm fine! How are you?" And then I said "good." And so
    then he says "Thanks for the balloons you sent up to me, I really like
    them." And then he said for Auntie Kate "can you tell my mom that I am
    doing fine?" And then God came up and said "yeah, Enzo's doing fine."


    Hunter insists that this was real - an image from God, he kept calling it. When I asked if maybe it was just a dream, he insisted that it was straight from God and absolutely would not change his mind. We immediately wrote down the dream and sent it on to the rest of the family - it has brought us great sunshine and comfort today in our souls!

    The faith of children is mind-blowing. Who of us, as adults, may have been sent that dream from the Lord, only to wake up and dismiss it as our own imaginations? I imagine most of us would have let our logical sides takes over - no wonder the Lord chose to speak through a child to bring comfort to our family! 

    Hunter is seven, will be eight on Tuesday, March 1st. The balloons he was referring to were the ones my kids drew pictures on and wrote messages on and sent up into the sky "for Enzo." This was the day after the memorial service, and we wanted to find a creative way for them to acknowledge their grief and say goodbye since we did not make it to the hospital in time before he died. My kids still talk about that every once in awhile and ask if I think Enzo received his balloons. I never know how to answer. :)

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Bumper Stickers in memory of Enzo

    A friend of the family has designed a bumper sticker with Enzo's picture, encouraging people not to text and drive. They look GREAT! They will be $6.00 each and all proceeds will help the Williams' family with their continued expenses from Enzo's death.


    If you are interested in ordering one (or more), please email Ashley Litt at littashley@yahoo.com. None have been ordered yet, she just wants to get an idea for how many to order first. So email her, let her know how many you would like - and once they are ordered and available, we will set up payment options for everyone to pay.

    Thank you for all of our loved ones' continued support!!! We couldn't get through this without you! Let's work to make sure Enzo's death continues to make a positive impact on our world.

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Finally, an update on the accident

    Hello loved ones, near and far~

    It is with a heavy, yet hopeful, spirit that I tell you the Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office has filed charges against the driver of the Yukon that killed our sweet Enzo. http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/feb/08/kitsap-prosecutors-file-charge-in-crash-that/

    My spirit is hopeful that the Lord will use this to bring justice as well as to ensure it doesn't happen to another family. I am also hopeful, as I pray for the driver being charged, that he will be broken before the Lord and his soul will find peace and forgiveness in our wonderful savior, Jesus.

    But, needless to say, my spirit is also heavy as we begin to re-live the nightmare of that time. No doubt it will be difficult as Todd and Kate possibly testify about what transpired. It will be difficult for the rest of our family who are present at any court proceedings.

    Just the other day, as I (Zo's Auntie Melissa) scrap-booked 2010 for my family, I cried as I made the pages related to the accident and memorial service. In many ways, as I live 1500 miles away, my life has "moved on" in the sense that I am back to all my normal activities and have many distractions from the all-consuming pain my sister suffers - but being reminded of the pain my heart still holds - and will always hold - was enough to bring me to my knees yet again, asking God, "why?" My questions are not angry, but they simply express what my heart feels and what I cannot, in my limited human mind, understand yet.

    God is good. ALL the time. Yes, our family still proclaims this. It's been four months since Enzo went to be with Jesus, and perhaps we continue to proclaim this to keep ourselves from going mad. But we know it's true. God is good - ALL the time. How can we say this still, after all we've been through? Let me ask this: where else would we go? What else would be sufficient for us to turn to? Abraham Lincoln, during the Civil War, said "I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day." There simply is nowhere else to go that can bring the peace we so desperately need. God is good. ALL the time.

    Please keep Sidney Wright (driver) in your prayers. Yes, he was texting and had drugs in his blood. And their family is suffering for it too. And I bet you a million dollars he wishes he wouldn't have done those things. Let's pray that he would know what it means to be forgiven by Christ, as he faces the consequences of his actions, and that he would be a changed man through all of this.

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    The Dream

    Warning: This will be a hard post to read. Our goal of this blog is to share both our grief and our hope with everyone, but this post will give a window glimpse into the crippling grief.

    A couple of weeks ago, Kate (Zo's mommy) had a dream. She describes it in her own words here:

    "So last night I had the most so-real dream ever. I have never had a dream feel so real until I woke up before. Although I cannot remember all of it. :( It took place in the hospital with Zo. In the same position we were with him, the only difference was he did not have all the tubes and things everywhere. As I sat next to him, all of a sudden he opened his eyes and looked at me. Then he started breathing on his own. At that moment I picked him up and just squeezed him crying. I couldnt believe that he was going to be ok. I felt so much happiness in my dream. Todd was not in the hospital room at the time so I called him yelling with excitement!! "Zo woke up!!!!!!" I wish I could remember more of my dream. But that part is so clear as glass in my head. I will never forget it. To wake up and realize wow that was a dream, was not even describable. It feels like the situation i am in now,should be the dream; bad dream. Wish I could wake up. But I know this pain will never go away. I do mean never. I know one day it will at least be manageable."


    I can only imagine how horrible it was to wake up INTO the nightmare, not feeling the relief of waking up FROM a nightmare. But the more I got to thinking about it, I realized that our time on this earth - when we are suffering - is like the nightmare, and we do have the hope of one day "waking up" from it. The day when we face death ourselves, we will then "wake up" in Heaven - a place more glorious and wonderful that our minds or imaginations can possibly conceive. Not only will we be with all of our loved ones who have gone before us, but we will be eternally in God's presence. If we can but hold on to that hope, we can get through the hard times....


    Skillet sings a great song I have always enjoyed called "Don't Wake Me." After Kate told me about her dream, I couldn't believe the similarities. And when I showed her this song, she said this is exactly how she felt upon waking. You can hear it and read the lyrics here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0PMrV7derw

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    A Year of Family - video

    Happy New Year to our loved ones! (And happy birthday today to Papa/Dad and cousin Ella!) 2010 had tragedy for our family and we pray that 2011 will hold great blessings from the Lord, coming out of trials.

    Kate has become quite good at making music videos on YouTube! Her most recent is titled "A Year of Family" and you can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnixzDRKQnA. She made this in memory of Enzo. After watching it, I am so thankful that we have the family we do - and that we were given such a precious gift of Enzo's life for 6 months. Most of all, I rejoice that we will one day be reunited with Enzo - and because we all have given our lives to Jesus Christ, we will spend eternity together with God and with each other.

    Kate has also made a couple of videos of Enzo's life that you can see on YouTube when you click on her username.

    More writings to come soon!

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Unsure how to pray? Try this...

    This morning I was reading the book of Ephesians and I came across these incredible verses. If you want to pray for Todd and Kate (or anybody you know, really!), but are unsure how to, start with this!


    Ephesians 3:14 - 19

    When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in Heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

    I am encouraged by the book of Job in the Bible, as he lost everything but after he was restored, still lived a long, full life, it says. After such great loss, is it really possible to be restored and then live a life that is considered long and full? Evidently so. I would encourage you to read Job chapters 1, 2 and 42 to see this. (You can find it right before the book of Psalms).

    God's Blessings to you all this Christmas week!

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    The Silversmith

    PSALM 66:10,12: "You have tested us, O God. You have purified us like silver... We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance."

    Malachi 3: 2-3 says that the Lord is like a blazing fire that refines metal. He will sit like a refiner of silver, watching closely as the dross is burned away.

    The story goes that once there was a woman who, after reading that passage in the Bible, wanted to find out exactly what a silversmith does. So she took herself down to his shop to watch him work. He bent closely over the silver, as he held it in the fire. As that silver endured the heat and pressure, it's impurities rose to the surface. The silversmith scraped away the dross, layer by layer, as it rose. As this happened, the silver became purer by the moment. The lady then asked him why he watched the silver so closely. He replied that he must watch it closely, for even a few seconds too long in the fire and the silver would be injured. The lady asked how he knew the silver was refined - and he replied "That's easy. It's done when I see my image in it."

    How much like this, is our suffering? During the hottest, most intense pressure of our lives, our ugliness rises to the surface, doesn't it? I have seen this come from my own heart during the "heat."

    But what struck me the most about this story is the silversmith's wisdom in knowing exactly how long the silver should be refined. Sometimes we don't think we can bear any more. But we can rest assured that God is watching us closely - He will not allow the suffering for one moment longer than necessary. He will lift the burden when He can see His image in us. 

    Sometimes when I talk to my sister and brother-in-law, I fall to my knees BEGGING God to relieve their suffering. I am so afraid they hurt too much. I am so afraid they will be injured or destroyed, like the silver if left too long in the fire. This has been a struggle of mine lately. I have even gone so far as to dream up ways for ME to relieve their suffering a little (I guess it's a good thing I don't have a million dollars to send them on a  vacation?!?!) But this morning when I heard this story, peace washed over my soul when I realized that God is watching them far more closely than I ever could. In his wisdom, he knows what he is doing. He is the master silversmith and we are his precious silver. God loves Todd and Kate more than I ever could. He is far wiser than I will ever be. And believe it or not, I trust Jesus more than I did before all of this happened. (It does not mean I understand better, however :)).

    I know that one day, our family will look back on this time and see it more clearly for what it is. Not that we will ever stop missing Enzo and longing for his chubby embrace - but after speaking with others in my life who have lost a child, I know that someday the sun will shine a little brighter in our lives. Our perspective will be a little clearer, the pain won't be so crippling. I choose to trust the Master Silversmith, even when the fire hurts.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Update

    Hello dear loved ones! I truly apologize for going over a month with no new posts. I would like to have a better reason for this, but I will just tell you the truth (perhaps I should have created a few posts that said "Nothing to say!").

    The secret behind my (Melissa's) writing is God. He usually inspires me with something to say and I say it. But ever since November 4, the last post, I have been inspired with nothing. I have logged on to this blog many times to update and had.... nothing. I've asked for words and had.... nothing. I've had brief glimpses of thoughts and they have disappeared before I could write them. But suddenly over the last couple of days, I feel the floodgates have opened yet again and I hope to be able to post more faithfully. Truthfully, I believe the Lord was behind this "silent" time. I don't know the reason, but He is the master and controller of my thoughts, words and posts. So I will trust Him in that.

    First, an update on the family. Life is moving on, but Todd and Kate are not. The world keeps turning and it's a little infuriating!!! It would seem appropriate to declare holiday for the entire world to just stop! I believe that any person in grief feels this way. Life has become harder for Zo's parents. It is truly a dark, dark valley they are walking right now. Please continue your prayers for them - pray that they would find comfort in God's love, that their marriage would be strong (there is hardly any greater strain on a marriage than the death of a child), and that they would have HOPE, light at the end of the tunnel. Pray that God would breathe new life into them.

    While up in Breckenridge, Colorado over Thanksgiving week, I walked into a Christmas store and saw these beautiful ornaments. (Of course it also began the waterworks right in the middle of the store). I purchased five of them - one for each sister's family and my parents. Ours is hanging front and center on our tree this year. I look at it every day and thank Jesus that he gave Enzo to us for six months. In the midst of my tears, I thank God that Enzo will never again experience the pain of this life here on earth - that he is in a perfect place, experiencing life as it was meant to be lived. Jesus, tell Enzo we miss him and cannot wait to see him again.




    I have more to write, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, here is a great song I dedicate to Todd and Kate, in their valley of the shadow of death. It's called "Forgive Me," by Group 1 Crew (a fabulous music group): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdMo0rOt2Kk. ENJOY!

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Weeks 3 - 8

    Hi everyone!

    Today my husband Matt spoke with a friend of his who lost a child some years ago. He shared some things that really touched our hearts and we would like to pass along to you.

    He said that after losing their child, week numbers 3 – 8 were the darkest and most brutal times for them. This is just about when the incredible outpouring of love begins to diminish. Oh, you know that people still care – it’s just that life goes on. For everyone else. But not for them. The loneliness, isolation and despair can be overwhelming when the initial flurry of activity dies down.

    It has now been four weeks since our precious Enzo went to be with Jesus. If the same thing goes for Todd and Kate as for our friends, this is right about the time we, as their loved ones and as a community, need to step up our efforts to be there for them. In their heads, they know we all still care, even if we had to return to normal life. But when you are walking a despairing road, logical thinking isn’t exactly balm for the soul. It’s kind words, encouraging notes, visits, cards, time spent together, listening, etc. that says we are still here, walking this road with them as best we can.

    Whatever stage a grieving person is in, we do not have the power to pull them out. I do not suggest we try to “fix” anyone so they can move on. That is not our job. But we can buy a gift, send an email, do a kind service, drop a note in the mail, sit and talk, provide a good distraction for an afternoon. These are the things that will show we still care, even if life has had to resume for us. These are the things that will help them through the grief.

    Matt asked his friend if, during this time, he wanted people to talk about their child or not. He said that the worst times were when people would ignore the fact that their child had just died. It was like an elephant in the room, but it was ALL he could think about. He said it helped tremendously to talk about it. I know what it’s like when you don’t know what to say. But what you say doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t be afraid to bring it up – most likely they WANT to talk about him!

    So, if you feel a nudge in your heart to do something for Todd and Kate, by all means, TAKE ACTION! J

    Additionally, this is a beautiful song by Natalie Grant about God’s promise to us when “the sacred is torn from your life, but you survive.” This is the song HELD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-hJ87ApWtw&feature=related

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Great Contacts!

    We have received so many emails and contacts from people we don't know - people who were somehow touched by Enzo's life and death. Here are a few I would like to share for you all to be encouraged by!

    A staff member at Harrison Hospital in Bremerton:
    "i just wanted to tell you how much baby Enzo has touched my life, i was one of the staff with him when he went for his first CT when he arrived at Harrison, and i just wanted to say that i will never forget that night and how beautiful and peacefull looking he was and i was able to hold his hand for just a brief period time, i should have emailed sooner to give my condolences. i say a little prayer everytime i pass the balloons at the fred meyer intersection. i think this tragic accident will forever have brought a part of our communtiy together. "
    Thank you dear lady for holding our sweet Enzo's hand in the last hours of his life! For taking care of him so sweetly when we were not there yet!!!

    A 911 Operator:
    "I am an Emergency Telecommunicator, basically a 911 operator/dispatcher. In fact I used to work in Kitsap County and know every one of the call takers and dispatchers, as well as a few responders that were involved with this horrific collision. I happened to be listening to my scanner that fateful night and heard the call go out. I immediately contacted my friends who were working to find out the specifics. 
    For some reason, this call and the radio traffic gripped at my soul. I have taken and dispatched every emergency call imaginable, homicides-cardiac arrests-suicides-CPR....name it. I was even able to give instructions for child CPR that resulted in a "save". Again...for some reason, this one stuck out. I sincerely prayed for young Zo!! I have read every blog, article, snippet....everything. This young angel touched me! Because of this, I am determined as ever to be the BEST at what I do, that includes getting back to my police officer roots and getting on the streets to "protect and serve".........Thank You Enzo 
    From the deepest depths of my heart...Thank you Zo!!
    Again sorry for the loss....I have taken it as a lifting of my soul!"
    Thank you so very much sir, for the great work that you do in the community! Yours is a tough job - thank you for being strong and a hero - and for saving lives!

    Finally, from a pediatric nurse:
    "I live in Louisiana. I am originally from Silverdale and a dear friend of mine shared your story and blog link on facebook. I am currently a nursing student and about to graduate. I have spent 2 semesters working in the PICU's down here and am hoping to work at Mary Bridge when I graduate. Your story really hit home for me and I prayed for Baby Enzo and your family. I have 3 small children myself and hearing stories like this is so difficult. Just before I heard of Baby Enzo's accident I had a patient, a 15 month old code and pass away. It was the first time I had experienced this and it was very difficult. I spent that night in tears, and struggled with my choice to pursue pediatric nursing. I had always felt that working with children was a calling and yet after the passing of my patient I wondered if I was making the right decision. When I read baby Enzo's story, I cried for him and your family. Your blogs however and Enzo inspired me. To have been able to be there for him and your family as a nurse would have been an honor. To read about the nurse who stopped to do CPR, made me realize that my actions as a nurse can change the life of someone as special as Enzo, even if it means giving his family 48 more hours. Your family is my prayers."
    Dear nurse, you are right that your calling IS worthy - you could be a huge difference in a family's life! Thank you so much for writing to us and sharing your story.

    If you would like to write us, please email us at InMemoryofEnzo@gmail.com. We respond to every email and so appreciate hearing from people – it helps us through our grief to know that lives are being touched through Enzo’s life and death.

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Find us on Facebook

    Of course we will continue our blogging here... but we have also set up a Facebook page where you can (easier than here) view pictures of Zo and see more discussions and activity going on. Feel free to come join us, and "like" the page in memory of Enzo!
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/In-Memory-of-Baby-Enzo/170270736319252

    Love Letter from Jesus

    Good evening friends! I just came across this on Facebook, and was so moved by it, I just had to share with you all. If you have given your life to Jesus, or are growing closer to him, or just desire to know Jesus, this letter is for you! Karen Kingsbury comprised it entirely out of scripture. You can find the original link here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=449664327218&id=66052390385


    (The following was arranged by Karen Kingsbury and is comprised entirely from Scripture.)

    Dear Friend,
    Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It's already happening. Don't you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.
    Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

    You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you. …  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them …  and the LORD will be with you.

                For nothing is impossible with God.

    Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline

    Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
    Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
                Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
    And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance,
    (Continued on back)
    character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
        For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

        So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. . . . And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.            
    I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

                I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

                I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

                 Finally . . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

    Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It's already happening. Don't you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.
    I have loved you with an everlasting love . . .
    Love always,

    Jesus

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Update on Zo's parents

    The question I get asked most frequently is how Zo’s parents (my sister Kate and brother-in-law Todd) are holding up after losing a child. So, I thought I would go ahead and give you all some of the things Kate has said to me over the last week! The following is bits and pieces of things she has told me over several conversations. J (with her blessing to share it of course!)

    Most days, this is what Kate says:

    I wonder to myself everyday why I’m not depressed all the time. But then I remember how amazing the strength is that God is giving me. I feel so confident and happy about the fact that he is in Heaven. It is the peace that (our sister) Beth prayed for, right as he died in that hospital room.

    It’s tempting to feel bad about it, but I do not feel the need to cry constantly. If I feel tears coming on, then I let them out of course. It’s tempting to feel guilty to smile. But most of the time it’s like I am so at peace with where he is. Don’t get me wrong, I think about Zo ALL the time, am very sad about it and I do miss him terrrrrribly. It’s very hard to describe. Then again, it really is the strength God is giving me.

    I do not believe that God took Zo away because I was “bad” or anything like that – like a punishment. He really just had a short mission here on earth for little Zo. Sadly, it had to be my baby for the short mission. But God is constantly trying to tell me that I can’t do this on my own. Zo’s life and death has really opened the eyes and hearts of a lot of people and I believe that is what he was sent here to do.

    On one particularly rough day, Kate wrote this:

    We were sad today because we were over by Fred Meyer. And later, I needed to use his crib mattress for Sadie, but I had not touched his bed yet. But taking his stuff out of the crib… that opened the floodgates. I know it’s okay to have a breakdown every once in awhile and that’s what happened tonight. I cried hard but now feel stable.

    Right now we are just trying to hang strong. God is keeping us strong. We know Zo is happy in Heaven and that is the most important thing. We miss him terribly – words cannot describe how badly we miss him. But he is playing with Jesus and we know that. We are going to be trying to continue with our lives soon. He will always be our sweet baby. We continue to rely on God for our strength and He will get us through. Although right now all we want to do is hold our Zozo.

    Please continue to pray for Todd and Kate as they walk the journey of grief, and pass through it's different stages. Pray that they could bear the "new normal" and thrive in it. And most of all, pray that Jesus would hold them tightly in comfort!

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction

    Hi everyone - I should have posted this sooner!

    Monday evening, October 25th, there will be a Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction held the Elks Lodge in East Bremerton. Doors open at 5:40 p.m. Tickets are 2 for $25 for $15 each. Local artist Krystle Spoon will be performing, and there will be some fabulous things to bid on! All proceeds will benefit the Williams Family.

    The little white casket

    Yesterday when I saw the pictures of Zo in his casket, I could not find words to describe anything. He was buried on what would have been his seven month birthday. Heaviness settled over me and I just tried to keep it together all day so I wasn’t a blubbering mess at my kids’ soccer games.  Today I have gotten used to seeing the pictures of him, his little white casket and the rainy dreary weather they had for the graveside service. But that heaviness still sits on me and the only thing I have running through my head is how wrong a baby casket is. How wrong any casket is. There are some words playing over and over in my head like a broken record player: “It wasn’t supposed to be this way.”

    Indeed. Parents were never supposed to bury their children.


    When God created us in His image, death was not a part of the equation. Created in our perfect states, we were never supposed to die. But alas, Eve took a bite of that blasted apple, and suddenly perfect everlasting life was out of reach. Death became a part of life now. Our sin now separated us from God like the Grand Canyon, and a curse now weighs over all creation.

    But God had a plan – as always. J He sent his only son as Savior of the world so that we could once again have that perfect eternal life with Him. While living on this earth, all creation is still under the curse. But what hope we have that one day we will be with Zozo again! And with all of our loved ones who have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior! And best of all, with Jesus himself in that everlasting life. And we will live in a place that is not under the curse any longer! Can I get an amen?!?!

    So I can look at Enzo’s casket with grief, but not despair. We can feel how wrong it is to be burying someone we love, but know that one day nothing will ever be wrong again. I can’t wait for that day!!!

    Todd and Kate chose “There Will Be A Day” by Jeremy Camp to be performed at the Memorial Service. You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le-TG4sRRiQ

    2 Corinthians 4:7-9 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. “

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Grief Today

    Psalms 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

    I think the entire family’s spirits are somewhat subdued, as today is the day we bury our sweet precious Enzo at a private family service. I don’t have words to express what I feel when looking at a baby-sized casket. And I usually always have words to describe what I am feeling. But not today.

    So this post is going to be short, as in, not filled with my original thoughts, as many others posts have been. Please pray for us as his body is put in the ground to rest and as we come to terms with the finality of the last two weeks.

    Psalm 61:2 “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Sometimes our grief is too overwhelming for us. Thank you Jesus that we can come to you, as we are, without having to be strong. Thank you that you can handle our grief, our emotions, our questions. Thank you that you stick by us when we don't understand and our faith gets shaky.

    "Hold My Heart" by Tenth Avenue North: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rty6JEwfuPU

    Grace and Peace to you all.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Strength

    Happy Thursday everyone!

    Over the last two weeks, our family has been praised a lot. We've been praised for our strength, for our joy, for our forgiveness, for anything and everything... and while we appreciate the compliments, what we really want to say is, "It's not us. Truly not us." I will share with you our secret (if you don't already know).

    I have heard people say that being a follower of Christ is only for people who are weak. To that I say, "Darn right!" We are weak and we know it. One of my favorite verses in scripture is 2 Corinthians 12:9 which says, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." (I would actually recommend reading the whole section for context). I once heard someone use this passage to ask, "Are you weak enough for God to use you?" As a society, we pride ourselves on being strong and self-sufficient. But this is actually the opposite of what God wants - I admit my weakness, that I cannot do this life on my own!

    We are weak, just like everyone else. We definitely have our bad days more than we'd like. And we do have moments we question God's wisdom in this tragedy.

    The other day I had a relatively peaceful day - a "good" day in these times of grief. The air outside was crisp but my home was warm, the leaves were beautiful, I was burning cinnamon candles in my autumn-decorated living room, and I was in the kitchen cooking something fabulous (one of my passions!). And because fall is my favorite time of year, I felt snug and happy. I could even think back on events of the last 10 days and feel completely at peace. It was a good day.

    But not two hours later, that all changed. I happened to see a video of Zo - my first since his death. The only thing I had seen up to that point were still pictures - I had not even seen him because I arrived after he passed. While watching that first video, tidal waves of grief crashed over me, knocking me over and not letting me up again. I didn't sleep much that night as I cried out in agony to the Lord, "Why? Why was his life cut short? Why are you allowing my sister to lose a child?" for hours on end.

    But in that night - and in ANY night of grief - God's strong arms were holding me. He was big enough to handle my questions and emotions. Let me say that again because it's very powerful: He is BIG enough to handle our grief, our emotions, and our questions! We can safely rest in Him as we wrestle with His plans and purposes.

    And as the sun rose the next morning, so did my spirits. I chose once again to cling to the Lord. My Topsy-turvy emotions and sleep-deprived body could have so easily chosen to reject the peace and comfort He offers. Letting God's strength work in our weakness is the ONLY reason our family is thriving, growing and hanging on after losing Enzo. We don't desire to be praised ourselves, but to give ALL the glory to God!

    This peace and comfort can be yours. Truly, we put one foot in front of the other simply by placing our faith in the person of Jesus Christ. And the beauty is that this is available to everyone - FREE! If you are going through a hard time, I urge you to place your faith in Jesus - circumstances won't necessarily get easier, but won't it be nice to have Jesus with you as you walk the painful road? To get guidance from the one who knows ALL? To be able to hear from Him anytime you open the Bible? To be able to pray and tell him your thoughts, fears, joys, hopes, dreams, disappointments? I can assure you there is nothing more worth it in this world.

    Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

    Grace and Peace,
    Auntie Melissa

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Pictures of Enzo's Memorial Service

    Hello friends!

    It is my privilege to share with you pictures of the Memorial Service from October 12, 2010. You should be able to see them here:  http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=228650&id=758504153&saved.

    I should have an update from Todd and Kate and how they are doing soon.....

    Psalm 126:3 "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!"

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Good Samaritans

    In the aftermath of the accident, there were some people we are calling "Good Samaritans" who, although perfect strangers, took time out of their busy lives to help Todd, Kate and the family. I would like to tell you a little about them and what they did here.

    JUDI
    Immediately after the accident, a nurse stopped to help. When Todd and Kate realized Enzo was not breathing, she performed CPR on him until the paramedics arrived. She revived his little body and allowed our family the next 46 hours to say goodbye. Had she not stopped to help, Enzo probably would have died at the scene within minutes. After the accident, nobody knew who she was or where she had gone. I (Auntie Melissa) remember telling our sisters that after the Memorial Service I was going to do everything in my power to find her. We wanted to thank her for giving us that extra time with Enzo.
    Near the end of our sharing time at the Memorial Service, a lady came up to the front of the church. I will never forget her words: "My name is Judi and I am a nurse. I performed CPR on Enzo." Gasps were heard throughout the church, and Todd and Kate and their parents jumped up and embraced her. Truly there was not a dry eye in the church at this moment. Judi went on to say that as a nurse, they are required to take CPR and First Aid courses frequently. It's always been somewhat of a wearisome and bothersome thing to add to the schedule. But after the accident, Judi said she will never complain about taking the classes again. Thank you Judi for coming and introducing yourself to us.
     











    KAREN
    Another lady who stopped to help was Karen. She was not supposed to be pulling out of Fred Meyer that night - every other Wednesday night she was always at church with her husband. But this night, she had opted to stay home and get some groceries from the store. When she saw the accident, she stood over Todd, Kate and Enzo (as Judi performed CPR) and prayed without ceasing for the family. Karen also came up front at the Memorial Service to introduce herself. Thank you Karen, from the bottom of our hearts.

    MELISSA
    Melissa came upon the accident shortly after it happened. She felt the urge to stop and see if she could use her CPN skills to help. She noticed that my mom, Zo's Nana, had arrived at the scene without any shoes on, but there was glass all over the ground. Melissa ran into Fred Meyer and bought a pair of flip flops for Nana to put on her feet so she wouldn't get cut. Again, after the accident, nobody knew who she was. A good friend from church happened to be speaking to an acquaintance about the accident and mentioned someone had bought flip flops for Nana to wear. The acquaintance said, "That was my daughter who did that." So we were able to get in touch with Melissa and she too came to the Memorial Service. (Melissa is on the left in the picture).

    If you know of any other acts of kindness that were done, please either leave a comment or email it to InMemoryofEnzo@gmail.com. We would like to have the opportunity to thank all who took the time and effort to help.

    If I got anything in these stories wrong, be sure to let me know and I will correct them asap. I was going off memory, but it's been an emotional time and who knows what I am missing! :)

    Contact Us

    I have heard that it can be really temperamental to post comments here on the blog... additionally, everything you post is for the whole world to see! So I created an email account you can contact us at privately if you wish! Email us InMemoryofEnzo@gmail.com (not case-sensitive).

    We would love to hear from you if Enzo's life and death, the accident itself, or this blog has touched you in any way.

    Blessings on you, friends!
    Auntie Melissa

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Prayer for the other driver - Forgiveness and Mercy

    Good morning friends -

    This morning, I would like to ask for prayer for the driver of the Yukon (which hit Kate's car) and his family. They did not want this to happen any more than we did, and their family is deeply struggling too. They have asked to remain anonymous here on this public blog and I will respect that - I will call him "Sam" and his wife, "Julie." Anyone who was at the Memorial Service will most likely never forget the display of forgiveness, grace and redemption we witnessed.

    Near the end of the sharing time last Tuesday, a woman walked - or, rather, was very nearly carried - by three other women, to the front of the church. She had been sitting in the back for the service and needed some fresh air outside, where these other women found her, figured out who she was, and brought her up front. Bless these three women who stood up there with her and supported her.

    If you haven't already guessed, it was Julie. The tears fell as she over and over again said how sorry her family was that this had happened. She explained that Sam had not left his bed since the night of the accident, he couldn't eat, couldn't sleep. My mom went up and stood with her then. Julie sobbed as she looked right at Todd and said, "He wants to die, bro!" And at that moment, Todd and Kate jumped up and held a long embrace with her. Pastor Joe and my dad also came up and the whole service prayed for Sam and Julie and their family.

    It was quite possibly, the most vivid picture I have ever witnessed of forgiveness in "unforgivable" circumstances.

    Forgiveness is not saying the wrong they have done you is okay. It also does not mean you won't want to see justice done, if needed (and indeed, there is an investigation underway for the cause of the crash). But forgiveness IS giving up my right to hurt you, for hurting me. It is releasing them to the Lord, not allowing bitterness to be in our hearts. And we know that God is both complete justice and complete grace. It means that we don't have to worry about making sure they suffer as much as we have.

    I have heard whisperings that Sam needs to pay, that he doesn't deserve forgiveness. But that is not our family's true heart. Jesus died on the cross for Sam hitting Kate's car, just as he died for the lie I told yesterday, or the hurtful way I spoke to my kids this morning. Romans 6:23 says "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus." (NIV) My sin is no different than Sam's, although the earthly consequences may be different.

    Colossians 3:13 -" Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." (NLT)

    Let me also say that the choice of forgiveness is done in a moment - but the feelings of forgiveness take a much longer time. Let us choose to forgive today, and our feelings will learn to follow.

    I found the below quotes on forgiveness and thought to share them all with you - I pray you are encouraged!

    ******************************************

    Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life. --George MacDonald

    To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.—Unknown


    He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.--George Herbert


    Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die.—Unknown


    You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well. --Lewis B. Smedes


    Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. --Anonymous