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Family relies on faith, forgiveness after losing sons

Posted July 22, 2015

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— A couple who lost their two children in a tragic crash in late May sat down to talk with WBTV Tuesday about faith, forgiveness and trying to find their "new normal."

Gentry and Hadley Eddings, both 28, were involved in a crash on U.S. 17 near Wilmington on May 23. According to investigators, a commercial box truck was approaching stopped traffic and failed to stop in time, leading to a chain-reaction crash.

Gentry Eddings was in a separate vehicle from his wife and 2-year-old son, Dobbs, who was was killed in the crash. Hadley later had to undergo an emergency C-section. The newborn baby, Reed, did not survive.

"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 his son, 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.

Reed lived three days before he died on May 23.

"We got to hold him. 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.

The driver of the truck, 28-year-old Matthew Deans, has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle and failure to reduce speed. Investigators said he was driving while distracted.

By the time he was at the hospital that night, Gentry said he had forgiven him.

"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'."

Gentry, a worship leader at Forest Hill Church, one of Charlotte's largest churches, said they're just trying to learn to grieve well.

"We have to learn how to do things differently. We can't just plow through," he said.

"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 added.

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.

The Eddings are asking people to a donation to a church mission they've both been involved in with that helps people in Haiti.

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  • Patti Horan Jul 23, 2015
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    Thank you for a story of hope, love and forgiveness despite the terrible circumstances - what an amazing and strong couple - God Bless!!

  • Nancy Turner Jul 23, 2015
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    Wow, what a beautiful testament to Faith and God the two of you are. Your boys were absolutely beautiful, and I don't know why this has happened to you. I only hope that, faced with the same circumstances, I would be as loving and forgiving as the two of you. God Bless you both.