Four-year-old Hayden Emmanuel Hitchcock died in a tragic accident recently and more than one community is mourning the loss. Heartache and prayer for the Hitchcock and Parke families were the immediate responses, and then came also the questions.
Why, God? Help us to understand Your plan in this too-soon death.
Please, Lord, overwhelm this family with Your mercy and love. Help us to help them.
Tears filled my husband’s eyes as he read the newspaper report, which included a wonderful photo of the happy boy’s grinning face. The morning of the funeral, RJ told me, “I cannot get that child’s face out of my mind.”
Along with hundreds of others, I witnessed on January 8, 2014, how a close-knit and faith-filled family handles unimaginable grief with dignity, unity, and a composure that only a true trust in God can bring. And I heard a grandmother ask, “Will you ever forget that face?” Everyone in the sanctuary was challenged to contemplate their own relationship with the Jesus little Hayden knew and loved. And I doubt seriously most of us will ever again hear his favorite song, “Oceans (When My Feet Fail)” without remembering “that face” and a mighty-mite of a boy who could do one-arm pushups and cheer for LSU with all his might.
We receive some comfort in knowing our community’s littlest “Captain America” is now playing (and probably fishing) in heaven.
The steadfast faith, love and strength we watched that day will encourage those who attended forever.