Taylor County couple relies on faith and family after toddler drowns
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Taylor County couple is sharing their story after losing their 18-month-old son in an accidental drowning last month.
Miranda and Benjamin Nawlin said as they work through unimaginable heartache, they’ve been able to lean on others to get by.
The couple sat down with WCTV to talk about the tragedy, their faith and the incredible support network that has helped them survive.
“Day to day, minute by minute, that’s all we can do,” Miranda said. “That’s all we know to do. And trust in God.”
She smiled as she shared memories of her son, Hattson. She said he was an absolute joy who lit up each room he entered. She will always hold onto the moments she shared one-on-one with the toddler while her older sons were at school.
“When the boys were at school [we would] go to lunch, and he’d greet everybody who came through the door,” she said.
The Nawlins have always been close with God, but in early February that faith was put to the ultimate test. Their bright light was taken away.
“His spirit is in heaven, and that’s what keeps us going,” Miranda said.
“I question why. The reasons. But in the end, you know God has a reason for everything,” Benjamin added.
Benjamin said the last few weeks would’ve been impossible without his wife by his side.
“I’ve learned that she’s a rock. She’s good,” he said. “I also learned a little bit about myself. The lord giveth, the lord taketh away. No matter what you go through, he’ll always be there.”
The couple said they couldn’t imagine going through the grieving process without their church family at Crosspoint Baptist Fellowship in Perry, Fla.
Benjamin’s father, Paul Nawlin, was asked to speak for the family at his grandson’s memorial service.
“It’s been probably one of the biggest challenges to see them go through this that I’ve ever experienced,” Paul said.
He preaches at a church in Steinhatchee, a coastal town 1.5 hours south of Tallahassee.
”It was the hardest message I’d ever prepared for, and the easiest,” he said. “It was the easiest because of the peace God had given us and knowing he’s ok. It was the hardest knowing the circumstances.”
It’s with that peace that the family shares their story.
“Do the early infant swimming lessons, because you never know what can happen,” Miranda said.
“Don’t get complacent,” Benjamin added.
The couple hopes others never take their own family for granted.
“We’ll see him again. That’s what keeps us going,” Miranda said.
Benjamin lost his job at the West Fraser paper mill a few weeks before the drowning. While finances have been tight, the family said the Taylor County community has been incredible in offering all kinds of support.
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