An elderly Illinois couple are turning to their Christian faith as they cope with a horrific tragedy last week that took the lives of their daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law.
Erwin and Ursel Schmidt, aged 77 and 73, respectively, recently told the Daily Herald about the importance of their Christian faith as they grieve the heartbreaking losses, and work to comfort their surviving grandchildren, 15-year-old Hailee and 10-year-old Christian.
“They say faith is everything.” Ursel Schmidt told the outlet. “That’s all we’ve got.”
And faith is exactly what they’re relying on as they process the deaths of Anita Crawford, 50, Kevin Crawford, 52, and Kirsten, 20 — a collective devastating loss that unfolded due to a fatal car accident last week.
The three were killed when the driver of another vehicle slammed into their car; that driver, who also died in the accident, was possibly going over 100 miles per hour at the time of collision, The Chicago Tribune reported.
The Crawford family was on its way to a soccer match when the accident unfolded — and one police officer called it the worst he’d seen in his 40-year career, with Des Plaines police Chief William Kushner describing it as “horrific” and saying that the Crawford’s vehicle was so profoundly damaged that “it looked like a ball of aluminum foil.”
“Cars are safer now than they’ve ever been – seat belts, air bags – and it didn’t save anybody,” he said.
On Sunday, grieving grandparents Erwin and Ursel flocked to St. John Lutheran Church in Mount Prospect, Illinois, where they have celebrated many life milestones. From marriages to baptisms, the Schmidt family has a deep history at St. John Lutheran. And, in turn, the church hosted funeral services for the three deceased on Tuesday.
Erwin made the importance of faith more than clear as he spoke with the Daily Herald, telling the outlet that people tend to recognize the importance of the Almighty as they get older and mature.
“Young people, they don’t look for God when they’re younger,” he said. “When they get older, then they realize more that you need somebody to turn to.”
Pastor Jeff Gavin also spoke with the outlet, proclaiming that the church is there to help the family process what has unfolded; he expressed particular concern for the children left behind, but affirmed his belief that ultimate comfort can be found in God alone.
“We’re here to minister and we’re here to bring to them the comfort and the presence and the word of their Lord, who is the only source of comfort and relief and peace,” he said.
A GoFundMe campaign aimed at raising $10,000 to help the remaining children — who are currently in the care of Erwin and Ursel — has raised nearly 10 times the goal, with more than $98,000 coming in at the time of this article’s publication.
(H/T: Daily Herald)
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