Pastor Gentry and Hadley Eddings, who lost their two young children in a tragic car accident, have revealed how God is sustaining them through their grief and how their faith has allowed them to forgive the driver that caused the wreck.
"We cry a lot. I don't want people to think we're great, you know God is good, we're great we're happy. That's not what it's like, you know? God is good and we know that but we are sad, we're mad, we're scared, we're frustrated. There's a million emotions just all at once sometimes," Hadley told local station WRAL on Wednesday, just two months after the accident.
As previously reported by the Gospel Herald, Gentry, a worship pastor at Forest Hill Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, his wife and his son, Dobbs were traveling home to Charlotte in a caravan last May 23 when the vehicle Hadley and Dobbs were riding in was hit by a truck driven by Matthew Deans.
Hadley, a preschool teacher who was 8-months pregnant at the time, was rushed to a nearby hospital for an emergency C-Section. Dobbs died in the crash, and the newborn, named Reed, only survived three days after suffering a slight blain breed.
"I think a lot about how much he just loved life. In the mornings we would still be asleep and we'd hear, he'd be at his little gate at the door going, 'Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy'," Gentry said of Dobbs.
"Both of our sons died. So, I don't want that to be in vain. If I have an opportunity to share their story and talk about their lives...I want to do that," Hadley said.
She recalled how she and her husband were able to hold Reed before he passed away: "They put us in a private room and we were able to take a little nap with him which was wonderful, Gentry did too," Hadley said.
Deans has since been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle and failure to reduce speed, as investigators said he was driving while distracted. However, Gentry revealed he had forgiven Deans mere hours after the accident occurred.
"I remember being there in the hospital in the first 24 hours, I didn't even know the driver's name then," Gentry said. "I was trying to figure out all my own emotions. I didn't know if I'd be able to forgive this guy and I asked God for help. I said, 'God, you know how'."
He added, "We have to learn how to do things differently. We can't just plow through."
The Charlotte Observer reported that on the Sunday after the accident, Eddings addressed the congregation of Forest Hills Church, saying, "We have, in our hearts, forgiven the man who did this. It was not the easiest thing to do, but in some ways it was because we know - Hadley and I - that Jesus Christ has forgiven us our debt... So in some ways, it was very easy to forgive a man who made an accident."
The couple, whose sixth anniversary fell on the night of the crash, said that this tragic incident is as much God's as it is theirs.
"God has our boys in a place of peace, so I am in a place of peace," Gentry told the Observer. "God has a plan. The situation is a frustrating one. We don't want to be here. We don't like it. This is not a fun situation. We're mad at the loss. But we know God is good and has a plan and we believe that."
WRAL notes that Gentry says Hadley was "a great mom" and he has the "heart of a father," but neither is sure yet about trying to have more children.
"The only thing I can think of is that if God left us here, he must just not be finished with us. That's the only thing I can think," Hadley said. However, she said that her "arms are grieving", because the mother just wants "to hold someone".
"I want to run my hands through Dobb's hair, that's been really hard to get used to. There's no little person to take care of ... and, we cry a lot," she said.
A GoFundMe page organized by the couple's friends has raised over $200,000 in the two months since the accident. However, Hadley and Gentry said that those who want to help should donate to 'Mission of Hope Haiti', a mission where they both served.