Those of you have been reading my blog for a while, might remember a post I wrote two years ago that spoke of my sister-in-law's husband Jeff's passing. I did not blog much about this at the time out of respect for our family's privacy and grief.
My sister-in-law Marne gave me permission to share her story as well as the children's book that was written recently by a friend of Jeff's.
On January 10, 2010, Jeff passed away from injuries that he received in a car accident four days earlier. He was only 35. He was husband and best friend to Marne, and beloved daddy to two beautiful girls (my nieces Ana and Kate) who were 5 and 1 at the time.
Marne was invited by Chad Current, lead Pastor at Living Hope Church of the Nazarene in Ohio, to share the journey of how God has brought her through this very difficult time. Chad was a close friend of Jeff's since college and was there for Marne and Jeff's family at the hospital when Jeff passed.
Here is Marne's story:
Out of Obscurity Week 2 from elivinghope on Vimeo.
(Marne's segment is about 15 minutes into the video)
It is Marne's hope that sharing her story will bring comfort and hope to other families who have lost a loved one.
Here is how the book Just Like That was written (from Chad Current):
Just Like That was inspired by the true story of the Wittung family. On January 10th, 2010, Jeff Wittung died from injuries he sustained in a car accident that occurred four days earlier, on his way to work. Jeff was only 35. He left behind a wonderful, faith-filled wife, Marne, and two beautiful little girls; five-year-old Ana, and one-year-old Kate.
Jeff had been my friend since we met at Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. We were roommates at the Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, where we each earned a Master of Divinity.
At the time of his death, Jeff was pursuing his doctorate through Drew University and working for Baker Publishing Group in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I was Lead Pastor at Living Hope Church of the Nazarene in Centerville, Ohio.
Because of my history and friendship with Jeff, Marne asked me to come to the hospital and stand by his family as Jeff fought for his life. I arrived at the hospital just a few hours before Jeff transitioned from this life to his eternal life.
The day after Jeff’s death, I prayed for what to say at the funeral, and this story began to flow from my heart and mind. And just like that, in a few hours I had finished the story.
With Marne's blessing, I decided to share this story as the message for the funeral. I dedicated this story to the memory of Jeff and his faith in Christ. It was also my way to honor Marne, Ana, and Kate, whose faith in Christ is helping carry them through their devastating loss. At Marne's request, proceeds from the sale of this book will be committed to supporting a scholarship in Jeff's name at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
The purpose of the story Just Like That is to help children process the death of a loved one. It is written from a Christian, biblical perspective, inviting children to imagine heaven. This story is also meant to help a child find a voice for the painful emotions he or she is feeling when confronted with loss. It is the prayerful hope of the author that Just Like That will serve as a tool adults can use to help children through the grief process.
Where To Buy:
You can purchase a copy of Just Like That on Amazon.
All proceeds support the Jeffery Wittung Scholarship at Mount Nazarene University.
Please continue to keep Marne, Ana, and Kate in your thoughts and prayers.
Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this post. My sister-in-law gifted my family a copy of this book and gave me permission to share this with my readers.