Once in a while you hear a story that is just so tragic, you have a hard time wrapping your head around it. And that's exactly how I reacted after hearing the story of a pregnant woman named ShaChela Womack who was killed in a car accident on the way home from her own baby shower. (Horrific.)
Miraculously, doctors were able to deliver her baby girl, and the family clung to a small ray of hope that the child would survive and carry on the legacy of the mother she would never know. But sadly, just eight days after being born, baby Ashlyn Leona showed little signs of brain activity and quietly died.
Wait -- it gets worse.
If having an expectant mom and her baby die within mere days of each other wasn't bad enough, it turns out that when the car accident occurred, ShaChela's 15-year-old son was the one behind the wheel. And to add to the tragedy even further, ShaChela's husband, Ricky, wasn't even in town when the incident happened -- because he was attending his grandmother's funeral.
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Oh. My. God. How much tragedy can surround one person at one time?! Instead of celebrating the birth of his new baby girl with his beloved wife, poor Ricky Womack returned from burying his grandmother only to be faced with planning a double funeral for his wife and child. That's seriously more grief than anyone should have to deal with over a lifetime, let alone a matter of a days.
Ricky and his family are said to be remaining strong for the sake of SheChela's 15-year-old son and her 5-year-old daughter. And even though this situation is incredibly painful and heartbreaking, SheChela's mother seems to be trying to find a small source of comfort in the fact that her daughter and granddaughter are now together in heaven. Of the newborn's death, she said, "She's just another little angel that he's taken. She's gone to be with her mom."
She also noted that she hopes sharing what happened to her family "will make people hug their children just a little tighter." (I know I sure will.)
And if you're the praying kind, saying a few prayers of strength for this grieving family would definitely be appreciated, I'm sure.
What words of condolence would you offer to this family?
Image via kaatjevervoort/Flickr