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  • Writer's pictureDallas Vaughn

Rest in Peace, Thanprapon

The past 48 hours have been emotionally overwhelming. Sunday (yesterday) was one of those days you never want to wake up to as a dad. We woke up ready to go to church as usual. But when I walked into the bathroom while Liz was brushing her teeth, I immediately recognized the look on her face as she read her phone. Someone had died. I prepared my heart for the news.


It was one of Mary Ella’s friends from church. A little girl that was full of life and liked to call us “mom & dad” for some reason (she definitely already had a mom and dad, but I guess you can never have too many). She even made me a card on Father’s Day, along with Mary Ella. We cried off and on all morning. How do we tell our 4-year-old daughter that one of her friends was gone over night? I never experienced anything like this when I was a kid.

Thankfully we managed to shield her from the news at church and break it to her in the afternoon following. Honestly, we shouldn’t have gone. Liz helped lead worship and she could barely make it through the songs. It felt wrong to sing celebratory songs in such a heavy moment. I just sat down— I had no strength to sing. As I thought would be the case, Mary Ella had a hard time emotionally comprehending what she had heard.


Today, as of the time of this writing, we had the funeral in her village. It was a sad but hopeful day. I was extremely proud of the dad for speaking and for remaining hopeful even in such a horrible situation.


The biggest lesson I’ve been meditating on since we got the news is that to love is necessarily to endure trauma of some kind. I am often naive to think that if I shield my kids from the kind of toxicity that I grew up with, that they won’t have to endure loss or tragedy. But the truth is that if we open our lives up to other people in friendship and community, there are always going to be things like this that happen that cause us to distrust the world around us. But it's a worthy tradeoff. "Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."


The girl’s name was Thanprapon, which in Thai means “stream of blessing.” Sometimes we don’t stop to think about how much the people around us bless us until they’re gone. Praise God for the life of this beautiful little girl, and praise God that she was a stream of blessing to our family and so many others in our community. Please pray heavily for her family during this time, and if you would like to send them a gift, let me know and we can make that happen.


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