Two and a half weeks ago, I received the shocking and devastating news that my dear friend, Becca, died in a car accident. Becca was my roommate at Wheaton College my sophomore year and one of six of my housemates in Country House my senior year. She married Tom Vetterani two weekends after graduation in May 2001 and had a little girl, McKayla, nearly two years ago. Tom and Becca were driving a van filled with youth group students on the way home after a missions trip when their van was struck head on by another driver, instantly killing Becca, three of the youth group kids, and another elderly lady. Tom has been in critical condition with 3rd degree burns over numerous parts of his body; severe smoke inhallation; and a number of broken bones, including his pelvis. Only a couple of days ago did he finally come out of his semi-comatose state and hear the heartbreaking news of his bride. Today, he hopefully will get to see little McKayla for the first time and also undergo surgery for reconstruction of his hip. I receive regular updates written by Tom's parents that share how he is doing. There has been a family-only service for Becca, as they are waiting for Tom to gain strength and get a little better so he may be a part of planning and attending a memorial service that friends may be a part of at a later time.
I've vacillated back and forth about posting a blog about Becca at this time, because there is still a lot that I am processing about the loss of my friend. My mind keeps thinking about Tom's struggle with the (temporary) separation from Becca, how little McKayla no longer has her mommy; about Becca's dear parents and their loss of a child; the other lives lost in the accident and their families; the driver of the pickup truck who caused the accident and the anguish he is probably feeling. It's easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, where it seems as though nothing has changed. And then I read an email, see a picture, see Becca's birthday on the calendar and the pain is like a stab to the heart, it can even take my breath away. The pain is real. The loss deeply felt. There is a void now in our group of Country House girls; someone is missing.
And yet, we do not grieve as though we have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Even the emails from Tom's family are filled with hope and the faith in the one, true God who is loving, merciful and compassionate; in Him who has already shown His healing power by making Tom's skin grafts work (to the utter dismay of the doctors who were pessimistic about the amount of living tissue)! There is much that does not make sense; so much we do not understand. There are times I've been angry at God about this; my mind simply can't grasp it all, and especially my heart. But we will believe in His promises and put our trust in Him who still deserves all the praise and adoration we can muster in times like these. Even in the midst of such tragedy, it's also amazing to see how the Body of Christ comes together to encourage each other, to walk through the muck of life with each other. I'm so thankful for Matt who has been a trooper with me, who cries with me and holds me. And I'm thankful for my friends at church with whom I work. They have really come alongside me and been a safe haven as well.
Let's remember how fragile and precious life is. We're not guaranteed tomorrow. I hope you, my friends and family, know how special you are to me, what a gift it is to have you in my life, and how much you're loved.