On Thursday, June 11, 2015, Tom Watkins, a loving husband and father of seven, was admitted to the hospital to undergo a fairly standard outpatient medical procedure. On Tuesday, June 16, Tom's wife Regina and the children were a family trying to understand how it could happen so fast. For the first time they were left standing without the family's anchor and sole breadwinner. Tom had gone on to be with the Lord. Initially, on Thursday after the procedure was finished, Tom was discharged from the hospital to recover at home with the family he unwaveringly loved. By Sunday, less than three days after first leaving the hospital, Tom was rushed back to the ER because of complications. While the kids waited for their dad to come home again, things turned for the worse. Tom's body struggled to respond.
Despite the medical team's attempts and the urgent prayers of a concerned wife and her children, Tuesday, June 18 would be Tom's last. In a tragic blink of an eye, Tom's time with them in this life had ended.
Over the last few years, things have been building for the Watkins family. With the birth of Isaac - their five year old - and the youngest of the seven children, came the closing of one chapter in the Watkin's family history, and a step forward into the next. In the last few years they were able to afford a mortgage and buy a home. Tom and Regina finally have two reliable vehicles. And although seven children ensure Tom's income didn't give room for a life of luxury, his hard work and the family's diligence has paid off to put them in a place of stability they struggled to see before.
Now all of that is in queston. Although they live a life of faith and trust in God, and they are standing together unwaveringly in that faith, this is a moment of great trial for this family. It is in this place we can stand with this precious family and help them overcome tragedy as they step forward into a life without their dad and husband.
Regina is now faced with the prospect of carrying what her and Tom built together, on her own. She has been a full-time mother and housewife from the beginning. This is totally uncharted water for a family with so much at stake. With Mikaela 18, Shanalise, 17, Emily, 14, Josiah, 12, Destiny, 9, Victoria, 7, and Isaac, 5, the challenges range from the immediate costs associated with Tom's loss, to long-term college and education costs, housing and the costs of living, to healthcare and all of the simple unexpected issues of life where Regina always had Tom to lean on.
Tom will never be replaced. There is no person, no committee, and no relief that can possibly fill the hole that remains when we lose someone we love. Regina can never cash a check that pays out what Tom was to his family. And although part of Tom's legacy to his family is the strength they have found in Christ to carry them through this moment of great grief, not one of his children would tell you they wouldn't take just another minute with their daddy to hear him tell them he loved them one more time.
Please find the place in your heart to ease some of the burden on this family as they navigate a tragedy no one is ever prepared to handle.
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