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Being a wife and mom was all that Holly Wampler had wanted to do.  It was her dream, just like it was for many of us 40- somethings.  The easy bake ovens and cabbage patch kids were preparing us for something greater, and we knew it.

Holly met Chad Wampler at MSSU at a crosswalk.  She remembers his pegged jeans, their awkward phone calls on not a cordless phone (you remember those – you stretched out the squiggly cord so far you could reach it from the kitchen to your bedroom), and riding right next to him in his Chevy truck (without a seatbelt, until Holly’s mother made him put one in the truck).

It didn’t take long for either of them to realize they had found love.  They didn’t care that they were poor full time students. The couple wanted to be married.  In December of 1994 Chad and Holly began life together as husband and wife.  They moved to Springfield, where they attended school for two and a half years.  After graduation, Chad taught CADD at Parkview High School, and also served as a freshman football coach and assistant wrestling coach. Then, in 2005, the couple took the opportunity to move to Carthage, where Chad became the public works director for the City of Carthage.

In 2006, they moved into the home they had built.  Their daughter Maggie was 6 and their son Carson was 3.  The days flew by during that busy and fun season of life.  In 2009 Chad and Holly got a little surprise – in August, they found out they were having a baby girl, due in January of the next year.

On September 27, the Wamplers helped with the Great Day of Service that College Heights Christian Church hosts every year.  The day was like any other and nothing different stood out to Holly.  That evening, the kids were tucked in bed.  Holly, five months pregnant, decided she was going to climb into bed as well.  She said goodnight to Chad and left him on the couch. 

The next morning – September 28 – Holly woke up and took a shower.  As she was getting her 1st and 4th graders ready, she passed through the living room.  She saw Chad in a strange position.  She knew that there was something wrong.  She went over to him – and she knew.  She knew that she had lost her darling, but she would not allow it.  She called 911 and told them her husband would not wake up.

Chad, just 36, had passed away from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – the same condition his parents lost his 28 year old sister to in 1997.  They had not realized this was the cause of her death until Chad lost his life.

Holly decided it was best for her family to move to Joplin to be closer to her brother and parents.  She moved in December, and in January she drove herself to be induced and to deliver Lyla Pearl with a doula and doctor.  She had always been adamant about natural childbirth.   So, with no pain medicine and with her mom and sister-in-law present, Lyla arrived.   

Holly could tell story after story of how people have helped her.  She says she could not have done it without her parents and brother and sister-in-law.  They came together as a family and they are so strong for it.  Her mother-in-law was instrumental in helping Holly and her family.  They are closer now than they have ever been.  She remembers it being hard to go to church and sit alone.  Now, she has a wonderful friend who sits with her each week.  There is a gentleman who still mows her lawn for her.  She has a plethora of friends who help her with carpooling. 

Holly and Chad’s children, Maggie, Carson and Lyla are resilient and fiercely independent.  They continue to make excellent choices and take care of each other. 

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When Holly talks about Chad, her eyes sparkle and she just flat brags about him.  She talks about him being an awesome father.  She shares how he had an undefeated season as a coach and how great he was with kids.  She said he received his job as the Public Works Director because he was so charming.  Holly said if she would have known what was going to happen, she wouldn’t have changed a thing.  She was completely smitten 22 years ago.

We talked about her relationship with God through all of this.  Holly said, “So I was thinking about God’s grace being sufficient and this is such a simple concept but one that has carried me through– He is always the same. No matter how much I doubt, no matter how much I question, no matter how much I rant, complain, rebel, He will never leave me and I always come back to that truth. It is such a physical, emotional, mental, weight-lifting comfort to rest in the truth that he is ALWAYS the same.

Her word right now is hope, and it is what carries her through every day.

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