by E. Dean Kelly, Minister, Highland Home, Ala., church
ATLANTA, Ga. (BNc) — Sometimes I need to write something, yet it seems that the words to write fail me. What is the best way to put what I am feeling into words? Sometimes the frailty of our existence in this life is overwhelmingly clear. Sometimes we are clearly reminded that there are no promises for tomorrow. Sometimes our hearts are simply torn within on someone else’s behalf. I feel those things now.
Brian and Kristy Gray had been in Prattville, Ala., a city in the Montgomery Metro area, where they had been visiting for Thanksgiving break, and were returning to their home near Atlanta, Ga. They never made it on this particular day.
The Grays were injured in an accident, Kristy critically. The little one, Helen, as Paul Harvey used to say, is now forever three.
She lost her precious little life in that accident. (Details of the accident are available here. –Ed.)
My daughter, Carol Leah (Kelly) Hatfield had been a roommate with Kristy at Faulkner University. Brian and Kristy are alumni of Faulkner. Carol Leah has pictures of little Helen and their son Thomas together.
It has touched my heart with a true sense of sadness and brings tears to my eyes as I think about it. My heart burns for the fine young parents in their time of utter despair and unspeakable loss. My heart aches for all of the little one’s family. My wife’s niece lost a son just a few years ago, and I know the pain all of our family felt because of this loss. My heart is saddened for the life that will never be, snatched away at only three.
I do take some comfort, however, in knowing that this precious innocent soul has found a welcome home in the arms of God, but that does not take away the pain of the loss for all of those left behind.
And I have no answers to the question, “Why?” I don’t think there is a why, there is only what is. But it reaffirms some very significant matters to me.
We don’t need to waste one minute of the time we have with our children, our siblings, our parents, our grandparents, our grandchildren. We do not know when that little kiss or hug from our loved one could be the last we will ever have. We need to remember this lesson. It also is the case that we need to be there for one another in times of despair and pain. There has been an overflowing of sympathy and prayers for this family. We cannot make it without each other.
I think that the greatest lesson to remember was expressed well by my daughter, Carol Leah, in a post on Facebook:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor 1:3-4).
My heart aches for you, Brian and Kristy.
All of our hearts ache for them. Only through the caring and prayers of friends, the love shared for each other, and a dependence on God as the Father of Comforts, can they make it through.
Hug your loved ones a little more tightly today. Make sure you tell them that you love them. Realize how precious every moment is.
And pray for Brian and Kristy Gray in this dark hour. May their hearts be filled with the light of love from us, and from God, and with the memories of their precious little one, whose short time on this earth will be celebrated long after the mourning ends.
P.S. As of the late night of Sunday, Nov. 29, the doctors believed that Kristy has a broken back, and at that time she could not feel anything in her lower extremities. They had not told her at that point about Helen because of concerns of trying to stabilize her blood pressure. She is an Atlanta-area hospital.
Editor’s note: The Brothers of Zeta Eta Theta (ZHO) have set up a fund in memory of Helen Gray.