This time last year my oldest came to me.
"Mom. Zoe Hastings is missing."
"Zoe Hastings is missing."
The idea was so incomprehensible. I couldn't understand what he was saying to me.
"She was going to mission prep and never showed up."
Something must have happened. We prayed.
"Please find Zoe."
There was a little part of me that hoped that she was hiding out with a friend, but that was a very thing hope and would've been completely out of character for her.
Hardly had we any time to wrap our brains around the fact that she was missing, when the news came that she was found. It was not the outcome we wanted. Her body was found inside the family's wrecked minivan. The reports stated "obvious homicidal violence".
"Who would hurt Zoe?" I asked.
"Who would hurt Zoe?" my daughter asked.
It is the question everybody wanted answered.
I've known the Hastings family since shortly after Kermit and I were married. I worked with her grandfather when I was on an activity committee for our church. Two summers ago her mother was camp nurse at our Stake Young Women's camp and I had the great joy of getting to know her. The summer before that Zoe was a Youth Camp Leader at camp. That was the first year I worked with the 4th year campers. Zoe was one of the youth leaders assigned to our group. She made the adult leader job much easier.
From what little time I spent with Zoe, this is what I know. She was a bright, happy light in a dark world. She was always smiling. Always helpful. She exuded happiness. She was always willing to serve, to help anyone. She was kind and loving and was loved in return. She radiated joy. It was felt by many. There were well over 1,000 at the funeral. Friends. Family. Classmates. People she had never met. All were touched by her goodness.
It's been a year since Zoe was taken. I am grateful that I knew her. I'm grateful that my kids knew her. I'm grateful that her goodness lives on. She was so wonderful and I know that Heavenly Father welcomed her warmly home. Life does not always go as planned, but Heavenly Father turns all things to good.