In true Corr family fashion, Will King has a nickname. Had it during his brief time on earth. Had it during his fight to live. Still has it. God’s Will. If that doesn’t beat all.
I never got to meet Will personally. I did meet him through the tears of his
grandmother, through unceasing conversations with his Maker, and through the words from his mother’s broken heart. With determination and tenderness he persevered. He left his imprint on everyone he encountered. It takes a special guy to make putty out of a know-it-all doctor. He was a warrior to the end. Oh, that we should all have that tenacity, because this life can be quite stormy. He inspired his parents to help other babies like they helped him. They accepted the challenge and set up the Will King Foundation (get your shirt and sticker). They love him well.
I don’t think Will would want his mommy to be sad because he was a tough kind of guy. He tickled her with his twinkling eyes, though. He nuzzled close to her just before he left. He knew his mommy loved him, and he loved her back. My own William told me just yesterday to “chill” when I was a bit overworked about a trial he’s going through. Mothers just can’t help it. Our children are part of our hearts. When they hurt, we hurt. To lose one is to amputate part of the heart, and who can take that without some serious scar tissue?
The most amazing thing to me about this grievous event is how the Hughes are making it beautiful. Refusing to ignore or hide their pain, they’ve embraced it in a how-could-you sort of way. They are letting the light of God’s glory do its thing. They talk of His goodness. They’re giving thanks! They’re showing us their confidence that Will’s absence here points to his presence with Jesus. Isn’t that where we want to be? I do.
C.S. Lewis lost his wife to cancer. In A Grief Observed, he said, “Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.” I see this feeling in Courtney as she writes. I wish I could put up an umbrella to give her a small reprieve from that vastness, but an umbrella only helps in the rain. I don’t think it would help at all in the storm. I also think she needs, maybe even likes, to stand with her face to the wind of that storm. Just like God’s Will.
I thought about you last night when I put Merriweather to bed in her crib. The stars were out outside her window and I wondered what you might be doing in Heaven? I think about you a lot of nights, and also during a lot of days. Your mommy had this wonderful idea for us to share how your life has impacted ours, so I wanted to share a few of the ways…
When you and your sister were in the hospital together, and then you by yourself for two months, I watched in awe how your family worked together to ensure neither one of you were ever left alone. Your mom planned out a schedule, because she never leaves a detail undone. She is thoughtful and she is driven - just like you. You were both always cared for medically, of course, but above that, you were nurtured and loved on by your mother, father, Lala and Grandaddy.
I was reminded of the power of parents, whether we are a child or the adult. Your parents are some of the very finest and your grandparents are too. I was reminded that the role of a parent isn’t over when a child turns 18, or when they go off to college or get married or even start a family of their own. Your Lala told me how much she loved to read to you. Your dad spent every night at the hospital with you. Your mom passionately sought the best care for you, while she too was recovering and healing from childbirth. Your Granddaddy journaled so affectionately about your days. I was inspired and touched by their teamwork and selfless dedication. They have now worked together to create The Will King Foundation to honor you.
I want to be the same type of parent to my daughters, Eloise and Merriweather, and also the same type of grandparent, should they be so lucky to become mothers themselves. I have promised them I will be there to help them, at a moment’s notice. Sometimes that’s when things happen. Your experience taught me the power of parents and family and the impact you can have when working together. I was inspired by them and I am inspired by you. Each of you is incredibly special.
I enclosed a few pictures of Eloise and Merriweather with two of their favorite dolls. They are twin babies, “Will and Caroline”; named fondly after you and your sister. Eloise chose their names before you were born as we were all so eagerly and excitedly awaiting your arrival. We so wish you could be with us today and every day, but we take our sweet Will doll on many adventures and to many fun places. We are reminded of your beautiful life. Eloise likes to bring her Will doll to do fun things like ride on the swing at Boone Park. Our Caroline doll even went to Cashiers, NC this summer!
You’ve made an impact on us all. We won’t forget you, Will, and we promise to check on and love your parents and siblings. Joshua, Emma Grace and Caroline are some of our very best friends. In fact, Joshua was one of Eloise’s first friends. They met when Eloise was 6 months old. What a blessing your family has been to our family.
So tonight, I’ll look at the stars outside again when I put Merriweather to bed in her crib. I’ll think about you and the tremendous journey you went through here on earth and the unexpected journey of joy and sorrow your mother, especially, is braving through. She chooses joy and we love and admire that about her.
There are a few other special friends who have joined you in Heaven this year. A wonderful mother, Stephanie, and a fun little boy, Owens. Look for them if you can. They are among some of the brightest stars shining in Heaven – just like you, Will.
And The Markley Family
Honestly not a day goes by that I haven't thought of Will. Right there is a way he has impacted my life. He is a constant reminder to me how precious our children are to us. How in the midst of all the things spinning around us each day, where we need to be, what needs to be done, the chaos and the exhaustion, that how we are sharing with them God's love, through our words and actions is our most important task. That their lives are my greatest blessing. My children ask me big questions about God, questions I don't have great answers for. I think about Will everyday..as a mother and a friend to Will's mommy, how could I not think about him everyday. I don't have great answers to my own big questions about why his time on earth had to be so short. But the one thing I know is how clear it is that God had a huge purpose through him to change the lives of so many in so many ways. The impact that has taken place in such a short time is undoubtedly the work of the Lord. It was a plan for something great. The faithfulness of his parents to take something so heartbreaking and devastating and use it to bring hope to others for the glory of God is so inspiring, how could it not leave an impact on hearts and lives EVERYWHERE.
Will was on this earth for 96 day..and through his life, lives have been changed and saved and the impact of his life will go on for generations. Our days are important especially when we have the responsibility of raising a child in this world. Make the days count. This is what I am reminded of when I think of sweet Will.
Life - Will King was knit together in his mother's womb, designed by God, and created for a purpose. We are seeing the purpose of his life in the legacy of his story as it lives on to impact so many lives. In my life I want to God to conform to my plans, but God reminded me again through sadness, joy, grief, and hope that He is for us and not against us. When I truly trust God with my life and the lives of those around me, including sweet Will's, and I am a celebrator of life through God's design.
Parenting - Will's life reminded me of the gift of parenting. Will and his parents had a special relationship while he was in the womb and his 96 days outside of the womb. Will's parents, Taylor and Courtney, gave up their comfort, pride, and desires to love their strong fighter so well throughout his 96 days out of the womb. The relationship of parents and their children is a gift and joy as I and the world around me can see it too often as a burden to our days. Will's life reminded me that parenting is not a burden but instead a joyful, gift to cherish.
Children - Will's life reminded me of the huge impact a child can have on this world from a young age. Oftentimes, we are waiting for our children to have a big impact on this world when they are ___ years old. Instead, Will's 96 days out of the womb impacted so many people in various walks of life and continues to create a legacy today. Children are a gift to us, and when we see them as a gift, we can begin to see their large impact on the world.
Everyone has a story - Will's life reminded me that each person and family has a story. Each one of us is living with a story of celebration, mourning, fun, and hardship. When we love people knowing they have a story, we are more likely to give a little more grace, work to understand, not be quick to anger, and genuinely care for them. I am so thankful for Will's story.