vacations and expectations...

vacation is officially over... in fact i think vacation was officially over last thursday at about 7 o'clock.

we had been driving for several hours already when we received a startling call. it was matt's mom. "we are seeing some things on facebook, it says peter and bo were in a boating accident this afternoon, they are still looking for peter." i didn't hear the words, i saw the color drain from matthew's face, i saw the lump in his throat throb. i saw his eyes glass over, and all emotion escape out the cracked drivers window.

"that is unbelievable," i heard him mumble as he clicked the phone shut. "bo and peter were in a boat, it capsized... they are still looking for peter." pause... long pause... i couldn't breathe. my heart sank, and tears flooded my eyes, my heart, my soul. my fingers trembled, my lip quivered. "peter can't swim." his voice was short, his eyes didn't lift from the road ahead. my stomach heaved. i was instantly drained, empty, lost. silence. nothing but the sound of tires on the road, and the humm of my overheating engine. i delicately touched matthew's hand, and stared at the road, the rising moon and setting sun. life stopped. nothing else mattered. desperate cries to heaven filled my head, my heart. i pleaded, i cried, i prayed for a miracle. i watched the pain and loss in my husbands stature, in his blank stare. i died a little inside.

matthew lived with a family after his parents moved to madison. his parents had to leave; work moved, they moved. they left his hometown, his life, his christian school that he loved. he went to the big catholic school in town for a year. he got good grades, great grades, the best of his life. he was miserable. he hated it. he begged to go back to faith christian school. he moved back north to live with the wilcox's. there was no one else. they have 10 kids. 10. claude and patti said... "what's one more?" (they only had 9 then) "how could i say no, they were always more like brothers." the boys and matthew were always like brothers. he shared a room with ben, bo, and peter. he loved every moment with that family. i think it was some of the best times of his life. they were his family, and he was theirs. ben, bo, and peter were his brothers, even more than the other kids, he loved those boys. and they loved him. and now... now... nothing could be more horrific.

we were on our way to a family wedding. we walked like zombies through wedding event after wedding event, trying to ignore the horror waiting for us on the other side of life. we smiled, we rejoiced, we snapped pictures, and made small talk, and enjoyed family and friends. all the while our hearts were filled with fear, sorrow, pain, confusion.

saturday morning the horrifying reality of the situation hit us. my mother in law sobbed on the phone as patti, strong, sure, unwaivering told her son's story. the story he wouldn't be able to tell himself. bo and peter had gone up tot he campsite early. the other boys would be up later. they take a boys trip every year. 19 year old peter and 22 year old bo had more free time than the others. they had been there about 24 hours when peter went to cool off in the lake. bo stayed at camp to clean up and ready the area for the rest of the boys who would be arriving. no one really knows what happend at the lake. peter was there alone. somehow the boat escaped him in the lake and he tried to retreive it. soon, he was too far, too deep, he cried for help. bo heard his name, he heard his brothers desperate cries... he ran. he swam out into the lake. there was nothing he could do. it was sealed in heaven. our sovreign God choose to take peter home that day. that day a brother, a son, a friend, lost his life. a mother and father were left with memories, and pictures, and a hole in their heart. we were left lost.

our vacation was over before it bagan. peters life had ended far too soon. we headed up to the north woods of wisconsin. but we weren't there to camp like we had expected. we were there to see matthews other family, we were there to cry with them, and pray with them, and hold them up. matthew was there to help his brothers. and i was there to help matthew. this was my chance to be the strong one, to let matthew fall apart. i expected i would be strong. i am always the weak one, i am always the one falling to pieces. i was going to get to support matthew for once. i expected to be be strong and sure. i expected matthew to fall apart. the thing is. i am not the strong one. i fell to pieces. i was a disaster. he held me while i cried. he wiped away my tears. he is still wiping away my tears. and in my momentary strength (those moments are few and far beween), he allows himself to break a little.

we cry for us, we cry for peter, we cry for claude and patti, and ben, and all his other brothers and sisters. we cry for bo. we pray that God will be glorified through this tragedy. we pray that God will ease the pain of his friends and family. we pray that that we won't forget. that we won't forget the man that peter was at only 19. we pray that we won't forget the faith he had, and the close friendship he had with Christ. we pray that we can remember, and become a little more like peter in our every day lives.

we did not expect to have a vacation like this. we did not expect to lose peter so soon. we did not expect to be faced with this tragedy. we did not expect to spend so much time crying, and shaking off fears and nightmares. we did not expect 500 people to be at peter's funeral. matthew did not expect to be a pallbearer this week. i did not expect to be so weak, while matthew was so strong. we did not expect to be faced with the ugly people we are, in the light of peter's incredible faith and desire to do God's will always. we didn't expect any of it, and we are so greatful that we could be there for it all. we are so blessed to have been touched by peter, and be touched by the wilcox's, and we are so thankful that they are a part of our lives. our vacation was not what we expected. but is was more than we could have imagined. we were able to celebrate life and death, joy and sorrow, and this vacation will always be a defining week in our lives.

you were a blessing to us in your life, and even in your death. we love you peter... we miss you already. thank you for loving my matthew just as he is and praying for him always. thank you for being his little brother in every sense of the word. thank you for being such an example of faith, and love and action.

DSC_3480-2 by miz_booshay.


  1. This was beautifully written! I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Keep the faith!

  2. Crying all over again.

  3. donna,
    i wonder when my tears will stop.

    thank you for stopping by. faith is all that keeps us going. we can not stand to lose that.

  4. Lori in MN16:50

    I'm always amazed at God's perfect timing. How great that your were "home" last week to be able to be with family during your loss.

    You are a beautiful writer.

    I'm really enjoying your blog.

  5. hi lori... thank you. i am enjoying writing again, and am just tickled that someone else is enjoying it as well. ;) what a blessing that we could be there. God really does know what he is doing. why that still surprises me i will never know.

  6. I am so very sorry. What a terrible thing.

  7. My hearfelt sympathies to both of you.

    God's hand was definatley in the timing of your trip.

    Keep the faith.

  8. i thought so many times during that week that it was so special that you were able to be HOME that week. it was a gift in every direction, i'm sure. thanks for sharing the story so beautifully.


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