It was Gentry and Hadley’s sixth anniversary. The couple were on their way home from Gentry’s sister’s wedding, in separate vehicles, when a truck rear-ended Hadley’s car.
Their 2-year-old son Dobbs was killed on impact, and Hadley—eight months pregnant—had to undergo an emergency C-section. Newborn baby Reed then died a few days later.
“We got to hold him,” Hadley told the Charlotte Observer. ‘They put us in a private room [with Reed] and we were able to hold him and do some skin-on-skin time and I got to take a little nap with him, which was wonderful. Gentry did too.”
“We just sat and held him.”
The community grieved: 800 people came together the next Sunday in memory of the happy toddler who loved to dance and play the drums. They mourned the younger brother he would never get to know. Gentry is a pastor, and the family is well-loved in their North Carolina community.
Gentry’s sister Amber Justice said at the time, “They are grieving, but grieving with hope–looking forward to the days when they will be reunited with their boys in heaven.”
“Hadley and Gentry are truly the strongest people I know, and it is beautiful to see them lean into each other.”
Condolences poured in from around the world. Thousands of comments were left on a Facebook page their church created for them, and a friend created a GoFundMe page that raised $53,000 over the $150,000 goal meant to help the family cover medical expenses.
The couple stuck together, and in their hearts found forgiveness.
“We’re mad at the loss. But we know God is good and has a plan and we believe that,” Hadley said.
The driver was driving distracted, and charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle, and speeding.
“Well, just think about it from his perspective,” Hadley added.
“Can you just imagine being the person who ran into the back of three cars and killed two sons? Can you just imagine the burden your heart would feel? I would be devastated.”
The couple kept the boys’ rooms as they were before the crash for a few months. Moving on was going to be a “long journey,” Gentry said, not something they could just “plow through.”
“There is a million emotions. It is just all at once sometimes,” Hadley told WRAL.
But almost two years after the incident, doctors had miraculous news for the Eddings.
Hadley was pregnant again—with twin boys.
“Y’all have held us up in prayer and we are so grateful! Now we ask you to add two more Eddings to your prayers! We are expecting twins this summer!” Hadley wrote in a Facebook post.
“We are excited that Dobbs and Reed are going to be big brothers to twins! We are so thankful for our family and so many friends who have prayed for us and cheered us on our way. We’re rejoicing, and thank Jesus for these two precious little ones!”
They named the boys Isaiah Dobbs Eddings and Amos Reed Eddings, giving them their late brothers’ names as their middle names.
Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name! My soul will magnify the Lord. He is our present Father, our faithful Redeemer, our Loving Savior. He cares for the broken and redeems with beauty and gladness. My cup overflows. We praise Jesus for our third and fourth miracles: Isaiah Dobbs Eddings and Amos Reed Eddings. Two healthy and beautiful boys.
While the couple recovered from the birth, Stacey Martin, a family friend and spokeswoman for Forest Hill Church, said in a statement:
“We are thrilled for Gentry and Hadley and are continually amazed at how God continues to redeem their story. From the tragic loss of their sons, Dobbs and Reed, to the remarkable birth of their twins, Isaiah and Amos — God is creating beauty from ashes.”