Sunday, July 22, 2007

In Loving Memory


Nathan Paul Toews
June 29, 1983 – July 20, 2007


It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of Erik’s brother’s death. Nathan & Rosanna and Doug & Elissa were traveling to Calgary on Friday afternoon when an oncoming semi rolled over top of them. Nathan was killed instantly. Elissa (at almost 8 months pregnant) was air-lifted to Calgary in critical condition. Rosanna & Doug were both fine, having been on the passenger side of the vehicle.

If that wasn’t enough to grasp, Doug called with the news early Saturday morning to say that he was a Daddy. Elissa gave birth to a 5 lb, 5 oz boy via c-section. The doctors decided to do the surgery after monitoring his heart rate. They named him Caleb Nathan. He has had a few rough moments with his breathing, but appears to be breathing on his own now. The doctors are saying that they will both probably be in the Foothills hospital for another 6 weeks which seems like forever. An answer to prayer is that Elissa does not have the spinal injuries that they first suspected. She still has a long recovery ahead of her though from a severe shoulder injury.

Unfortunately Erik’s parents were in London on the last leg of their month-long trip and we had no way of contacting them by phone. Their flight was due to come back last night (Saturday) and after much discussion we decided it would be best to wait until they could be home with family before giving them the news. We took extra precaution to make sure they wouldn’t find out any other way, which is why many of you found that my blog was inaccessible in the last couple of days. We didn’t want to risk the chance of Erik’s parents reading a comment referring to the accident or offering condolences. Erik had the horrible task of sharing the news with them and I think it was probably one of the hardest moments of his life.

For us the grief comes in waves – moments of acceptance and almost normalcy give way to crying spells and then leave us with a tearless ache that won’t go away. It’s still hard to grasp what has happened and it’s only by the grace of God and the AMAZING Christian community around us that we can find peace and comfort in all of this. There is such sweetness in the tears – the fact that Nathan was an incredible man of God and touched so many people’s lives, the fact that he is home in heaven!, and the fact that there is new life for Doug & Elissa in the midst of the tragedy.
Meet our new nephew...




Doesn't he look so tiny in this picture?


We thank you for all of your prayers and thoughts and phone calls and flowers and offers to help…. It’s overwhelming – in a good way.

The funeral is planned for this Friday, July 27 at 11 am at South Abbotsford Community Church. We know that there will be many, many people there to mourn the death of our brother but also to celebrate the incredible life that he lived.

48 comments:

Christy said...

Oh Jamie...my heart is just breaking for your family! It is so hard to understand the ways of God sometimes. I will be praying for you all during this difficult time!

Beautiful new nephew you have! Something beautiful out of something so tragic!

Cheri said...

Jamie & Erik: We are so sorry for you and your family. It is such an unbelieveable shock. I can't imagine the heartache you are going through and at the same time the joy of your new nephew. I am amazed at your strength and attitude that I see coming through your comments. We will pray for God to give you amazing strength and comfort during this very diffucult time. Hang in there...

Vanessa said...

Jamie, just wanted to let you know that your family has been in my thoughts and prayers. Words cannot convey what my heart is feeling for you guys right now. May the Lord be your comfort and your strength as you grieve the loss of Nathan. Great love opens the door to great pain and Nate definitely was loved and loved others.

Congrats on the new nephew-he is beautiful and a gift from God.

Amber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amber said...

Jamie, I can't stop the tears from flowing seeing those pictures. What a beautiful little nephew you have...he is one special little dude. Though I didn't know Nathan, except through your blog, it was plain to see that he was such a great brother and such a wonderful uncle. Your family seems really really close, may you cling to eachother and Jesus as you mourn the loss of Nathan. We are praying for your family, for strength & comfort. We love you guys!

erin said...

we are continueing to pray for you and the family.
Caleb looks so precious and I must say Elissa looks amazing in that picture for all she has been through.
May God continue to wrap his arms around the entire family and give you all peace.

Wenona said...

I am so sorry for your families loss. I can't even imagine the emotions going through your family at this time especially with the miracle of birth happening too. You will be in my prayers.

kelly said...

We still really don't know what to say, other than we are praying constantly for you and the family. May God be what you need in this time.
Caleb Nathan is so precious and beautiful!
Please don't hesitate to call us if you need anything...a meal, someone to watch the kids, anything.
Do let us know what time the funeral is at...

patti said...

Jamie, Your family has not been far from our thoughts since hearing the news. We are so sorry for the huge loss your family is dealing with. May God's comfort find it's way to all of you.
Know that we are praying for comfort for the family and for physical healing for Elissa & that precious baby.

Jamie said...

Sorry, I forgot to mention the time of the funeral and I just edited the post to include it. The funeral will be at 11 am on Friday.

harderl said...

Jamie and Erik,
We love you guys so much, and we'ved been praying for all of you a lot these last few days. I've been reminded to pray for you guys and Elissa a lot. I can especially relate to Elissa, it just reminds me so much of our situation six years ago. I am so thankful that Caleb is healthy and well. I will continue to pray for this family, as they adjust to a new baby and grieve the loss of Nathan. So many emotions to deal with.
I've been praying for you too Jamie. I'm sure that you're very busy taking care of the kids while Erik is dealing with things. I pray that God would grant you much patience this next week and also time to talk and mourn with Erik. We know how close the Toews family is, and how very hurtful this must be. I so wish I could be there and help you with the kids.
We love you very much.
Laura

Janelle said...

i could tell you over and over how much i ache for you guys. i could tell you that i really havn't stopped crying since i heard. and i could tell you that i soooo badly want to be there to help you/support you and hug you right now. but all that i can ever keep saying to you is how much i love you and your family. whenever i spend time with anyone from your family - i feel like i AM part of the family. and so we hurt with you Jamie. and we loved Nate too...and will hold all of our memories so close to our hearts. I woke up this morning thinking that maybe this weekend was a really bad & long dream. and I know you probably feel that moreso every day. but I know God will continue to hold you - and your whole family. He has given you the AMAZING gift of little Caleb. I KNOW that he will be a huge part of the healing that has begun to take place. We will not stop praying for you guys...and even though we can't be there with you - i hope you can feel the constant support and love that we keep sending your way. (it stops in Calgary for a bit for Doug, Eli and Caleb - but i'm sure there's always some left when it gets to Abby). i love you Jamie...i cherish our frienship...and i am always, always here for you, Erik & the whole family. if you need to talk - please please call.
p.s. Erik - thanks so much for talking with me on the phone. i just needed so badly to tel you that i love you guys and that we are all thinking of you here. our church prayed for you and your family and Ross Road on Sunday. i know alot of the details that need to get done are falling in your lap - and so i have been praying specifically for you, that you would have time to grieve like you need to, and that you can continue to be a rock for your family. i love you tons Erik.
- Janelle (for Rod & Kamryn too)

Trev & Rebekah said...

Erik and Jamie, our hearts are heavy as we ache for your whole family and for the loss of Nathan. I have been daily checking your blog to see if you posted anything.
Jamie, I was glad I was able to talk with you and pray with you. Trev and I have not been able to concentrate on much else. We are unsure if we will be able to make it to the funeral but it we don't please know we'd love to be there. Please give yourself a huge hug from me.
I'm sitting here with tears and I can't even imagine the amount of tears you've shed in the last few days. May you find comfort today from our Father who is the Father of all Comfort.
Love ya
-Rebekah and Trevor Friesen

Cordella said...

Erik and Jamie,

Words can not possibly express the sadness I feel for you and your family but I do want you to know that I am praying for you.

Cordella

Lexi said...

When I think about your family and looking back at all of your pictures, I see the closeness that you all shared. I think it is so special how you all just take care of each other and support each other. Nathan was blessed to be a part of such an amazing family and I am sure he is looking down on you all and just waiting for you all to be reunited in heaven one day! To meet his beautiful new nephew.

My thoughts and prayers are with your family and with Rosanna. I never had the privilege to know Nathan personally, but from what people have said about him, he has made an amazing impact here on earth and he is not even finished yet!

Thinking of you. . .

Cyndy said...

Erik & Jamie,
Warren and I are so sorry for your loss and all that you have gone through this past weekend. Words seem ridiculous at a time like this and we share the shock of such an unexpected situation.

We have really been brought to a humble place since receiving the news and the realization of how God is powerful and in control.

We ache for you and we want you to know how supported you are by thoughts and prayers. Only time can heal this pain and we are praying for you often.

Love & Prayers,
Warren & Cyndy Toews

Tim and Kelsie-Lynn said...

Jamie & Erik words can not express the sadness we feel over the loss of Nate. He was an amazing man of God and I was so privileged to know him!

I know no words can bring you comfort or peace but please know that we have been praying for you since we heard on friday. Our hearts are aching with you.

Thinking of you often,

Kelsie & Tim Harms

Erin and Rob said...

Jamie and Erik,
We love you and are praying for you, Rosanna, and all of the Toews family. In the couple of times I've met Nathan I have always thought there was something so beautiful and special about him, and I always thought it was the joy of the Lord. We love you so much.
erin g.

Ej said...

Jamie & Erik

We are praying for the Toews Family. We haven't stopped since we heard. We are so thankful that Elissa is doing well and that Caleb is healthy. Nate was an amazing man and will be deeply missed. We are so sorry for this loss. We love you,

Erin & Ryan

Courtney and Jon said...

Thank you Jamie for allowing me to come to your private blog. I so badly wanted to read more about what happened. I attend South Abbotsford and was there when they read the letter about the accident but they didn't know details. I was praying for your in-laws as they came home. It still is so hard to believe. I didn't know Nate very well and Rosanna only through friends at South Abby (also pdp), but all the times my husband and I spoke with he and Rosanna, Nate was so good listening. It never felt like just small talk for the sake of talking, Nate really cared to listen to what was new. We will be praying for you and your family. Praise the Lord for Caleb, he is beautiful and has a wonderful name.
Blessings,
Courtney and Jon Krause

Lori said...

praying for the entire family...peace...

love lori

Karen said...

my heart breaks for all of you...nathan was such an incredible person....larger than life! You all are constantly on my mind and in those short whispered prayers that I pray as I go about my day. What a precious miracle Caleb is...beauty amidst the ashes...my prayer is that he, along with the wonderful memories you have of Nate will give you joy, even as you grieve. Much love, Karen

Michelle said...

Erik and Jamie and kids,
I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your brother. That sucks so bad. I couldn't imagine what either of you are going through. My thoughts prayers are with you and the whole family.

Congratulations on the new little nephew!! He sure is a cutie and I bet he'll be a huge blessing in this time of sorrow!

Laura said...

We too, are praying and thinking of you and your whole family during this time - if words would help I'd type and type and type. Please do not hesitate to ask for anything you might need, we'd love to be able to help in some tangible way.

Heather said...

Dear Erik, Jamie & family,

We are so sorry to hear of the tragic loss of your precious brother, brother-in-law, uncle, and friend. Rebekah called me after she heard the news so that I could pray. I have been thinking of all of you for the last couple of days, and I hope you are feeling the many prayers that are being said on your behalf.

There are no great words that come to mind at a time like this, so I just want to say that I pray that you feel God's arms around you, even though you might be mad at Him right now.

We are also happy to hear that Caleb Nathan was born safely into the world. Praise God!

God bless you, may His face shine upon you and give you peace.

Love, Ryan, Heather & James

the salmon said...

i'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved Nathan. we prayed for your family at church yesterday and i will continue to pray for all of you as this is such a huge loss for you and your husband and children.

thank you for sharing details about him with all of us.

may you feel God right there with you as you mourn.

xo amanda, derek, diedre & ezekiel

Kroeker Family said...

Erik, Jamie & Family,
We love you so much and wish we were there right now to show our love and support in a tangible way. We are praying for you and your family. Nate will be dearly missed. I don't think I can remember a time when He wasn't smiling. His heart was always full of the joy of the LORD.
Thank you for sharing your tribute with us and for allowing us to see your new little nephew. What a gift.
Love and Prayers,
Rob Krista & Girls

Jon & Bonnie said...

The pain seems unbearable right now. I never thought my heart could ache this way and it aches for you guys. Please know that both Jon and I are praying CONSTANTLY for all of you and that we love you. Your family is so special and we are praying for God's deepest comfort and peace. May you feel His arms tightly around you. Caleb Nathan is beautiful. Nate would be so proud of him.

Summer said...

Jamie & Erik,

So sorry to hear about your tragic loss. I don't know what else to say.

COngrats to you having a new nephrew. He is so precious and a miracle.

Yvonne&Eric said...

Hi Jamie,
I am praying for your family constantly through this tragedy. There aren't the right words to express how broken I am for you all. I pray that God gives you all the strength to endure this and that he wraps you in his love and comfort as only he can do. Nathan was family to us for such a short time but was well loved and welcomed by all. Praying for you constantly.

Ron and Raine said...

Dear Jamie, Erik, and family,
I was stunned to hear of your loss. I am so sorry. May God comfort you with His peace. My thoughts and prayers are filled with all of you, and especially with Rosanna durring this time.

Jeff and Jocelyn said...

Jamie,
Jeff and I have just been thinking about you guys all weekend and all the moments of heart ache and those to come.
We are praying so much for you guys.
Please know that we care so much

Erin said...

Dear Jamie, Erik, Micah and Keziah: I just found out about your tragic loss, and my heart is aching so much for your family. It is so hard when we lose people so close to us, especially when things like this happen. It is wonderful that Nate was such a Godly man, and you can rest in the solace of knowing he is home with his Heavenly Father. But, at the same time, it is so hard I'm sure. My prayers and thoughts are with all of you at this what I'm sure is a very difficult time. Congratulations also on being an aunt to a beautiful baby boy. Love and prayers to all of you,

Erin, Taylor and Noah.

Andrea said...

I did not know Nathan, but I have just read a few people's posts about his life and death. I am crying for your family, and hugging my own husband and baby boy in thankfulness. I'm sorry for your loss, and thankful for your nephew. God is so amazing.

Suzanne said...

Jamie,
When I saw this post I became numb. Your family will be in our prayers. May God bless you all with the peace that passes all understanding.

eatcanadianlamb1200 said...

Jamie, Erik, Micah, Keziah, My heart goes out to you. YOu are in my prayers and thoughts.

Melissa said...

Jamie - My heart physically aches for your family during this time of loss. I pray for God's strength for you as you adjust to life without your much loved brother, brother-in-law and uncle. I continue to pray for you and your family.
Melissa Boschmann
(friend of Rosanna)

teresia said...

thanks for sharing! it must be really tough in those days.....the widow and the rest of the family and friends are in my prayers....i know that the pain is beyond words and i think that no advice is kind of helpful.....
god is with you
leslie

Kimberly said...

You all are ever in our thoughts and prayers. Praise God for Nathan's life and Caleb's new beginning. Our God is a risen and sustaining Lord!

Donna said...

Wow. What a hard thing to go through. My prayers are with you and your family. Jesus is happy to have him home though.

I am so glad to hear the baby was able to be saved. I will pray for continued strength for him too.

Just rejoice in the fact you have people all over the world lifting you and your family up in prayer. No doubt it will be hard, but strength and Peace will flourish.

Kimberley said...

I don´t have much of anything to say or share just know that we are praying for you and thinking of your family. God is blessed right now to finally be with another one of His sons.

Kara said...

Hi Jamie, I know you don't know me very well, but I wanted to express my sadness toward your family. You are in my thoughts and prayers and may you be embraced by the peace and presence of Christ in this difficult time.

Drea said...

my heart goes out 2 the family... wow....

i hope the baby continues to do well... he shares something in common w/ my caleb... the same middle name!

both gifts from God.

Drea said...

oh and it makes you think how short life is.. nathans bday was one 2 months before mine... i was born aug 6 1983...

kristythiessen said...

Jamie
Thinking and praying for you and your family during this difficut time.
I also wanted to say thank you for posting the story and a picture and also adding photos to the facebook site. Everyone grieves in different ways and it is nice for people to have a place to get information and see photos to remember Nate and the wonderful man of God that he was.

Rick & Sandy said...

We are so sorry to hear of this horrific tragedy; we can't imagine how difficult this experience must be for your family.

May the the gentle arms of our Loving Heavenly Father surround you with His Peace and be your comfort and strength each moment of every day.

In all your pain, your beautiful nephew is a reminder that His rich Blessings comes to those that love Him. Caleb Nathan, His precious gift.

We are praying for you and your children...

The Friesen's from Alderbrook

Leanne said...

Jamie, I am aching for your family. Please know that I am praying constantly.

Nicole & Shane said...

I just got back from vacation and was catching up on some blogs I read (including yours!) and saw this sad news. I'm so sorry for your family and hope you are able to lean on one another and your faith at this time.