By Julie Muhlstein Herald Columnist
Kathy Weber will go to South Africa next month. She’ll go to help children she doesn’t know. When she comes home to Camano Island, something precious will be left behind.
She’ll leave the name Michael, the name of the son she lost nine years ago.
At an orphanage in the White River area of South Africa, she and her husband, Jim, will put up a sign that says, “Michael’s Childrens Village.”
“I’ve lost a child. They’ve lost a parent. Somehow it needs to make sense,” Weber said Wednesday.
It will never make sense, the loss of a child.
Weber, 52, can’t believe it’s been nine years since her son, Michael Seavy, was killed on his 20th birthday. It was Feb. 23, 2003. He was a passenger in a car driven by a 19-year-old friend.
Three people died when the car sped through a flashing red light at an intersection near Everett High School, crashing into a van. The van’s driver, Everett antique dealer Jenny McCollum, 52, was killed. Another passenger in the car, 18-year-old Cory Baudry, also died.
The car’s driver, Grant Fosheim, who was drunk and had been street racing, pleaded guilty to three counts of vehicular homicide. He was sentenced to more than six years in prison.
Weber refuses to dwell on the worst day of her life. Instead, her memories are of her sweet boy.
Michael, a 2001 graduate of Cascade High School, used to come home from school without his coat. Time after time, a coat would go missing. Weber said he gave coats away to kids who needed them.
“How could I be mad?” she said. “If somebody didn’t have something, he’d give it to them.”
After the tragedy, Weber couldn’t go back to work as if nothing had happened. She had been a finance manager at Olympic Boat Center. The family had lived in Everett, and was just moving to Mount Vernon when Michael was killed. Eventually, she and her husband moved to a Camano house with a sweeping view.
Her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren live next door. “When you lose a child, you want to keep your family very close,” she said.
Weber believes she wouldn’t have survived without an abiding faith in God. For a time after losing Michael, she felt she didn’t have the strength to go on. “Can you die of a broken heart? You can,” she said. “I had no more strength. I just didn’t care.”
One night, she said, she felt a light within. “I know it was the power of God,” she said. “I didn’t stand in my own strength. People need to know the power of God is real.”
With the healing that began that night, Weber has carried on.
In 2006, the couple traveled to South Africa, where a friend is involved in ministry. They had gotten to know Pastor “Surprise” Supressa Sithole, a director with Iris Ministries who oversees work in South Africa.
Sithole, who travels the world, was in Mount Vernon for a religious gathering and became friends with the Webers.
Iris Ministries has a church and an orphanage in the White River-Mombela area of South Africa.
The Webers, who visited there in 2006, are among people who have financially supported the orphanage, now called Michael’s Childrens Village.
“I was incredibly blessed that this orphanage would bear the name of my son,” Weber said.
She and her husband will leave May 9 to visit the orphanage where many children have lost parents to AIDS. They’ll put up the sign, Michael’s Childrens Village, and leave pieces of their hearts with children who live there.
Michael Seavy, who worked as a bank teller, had a real love for children, his mother said.
Before she goes, Weber and friends from the couple’s church, River of Life Community Church on Camano Island, will host an auction to raise money for the orphanage.
The event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 28 at Stanwood’s Cedarhome Elementary School. Weber is seeking auction items for the event. It will include dessert and a concert by singers Sarah and Natalie Howell.
“We really felt led to go to South Africa. We felt the Lord was leading us to begin something,” she said. With her faith comes another gift.
“I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I will see my son again. That keeps me looking forward,” Weber said.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Auction to help orphanage in Africa
An auction, vocal concert and dessert fundraising event is planned for April 28 at Cedarhome Elementary School, 27911 68th Ave. NW, Stanwood. Silent auction starts at 6:30 p.m. April 28, followed by a live auction at 8 p.m. Proceeds will benefit Michael’s Childrens Village, an Iris Ministries orphanage in South Africa. For information or to donate auction items: mcvauction http://riveroflife.cc/missions/mcv/