Family, friends and residents of a California community are rallying around an LDS family that is dealing with the tragic death of a child and other hardships.
McKaylee Belle Grampp, 3, was accidentally struck and killed by a car driven by her father in a parking garage last week. The child was treated for serious injuries at the scene and later died at the hospital, according to the Burbank Leader.
McKaylee's parents, Eddie and Mary Grampp, both 32, are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Burbank 2nd Ward, North Hollywood California Stake. The couple has two sons, ages 5 and 6.
Despite "the hole in their hearts," the Grampps are grateful for the peace and strength drawn from their LDS faith, many heavenly "tender mercies," and the kindness and generosity extended to them during this difficult time, Mary Grampp said.
"She is still close ... We just keep reminding ourselves of what we know to be true, that we will see her again and she's in a good place with Heavenly Father," Mary Grampp said, with emotion in her voice. "She has been a blessing in so many lives."
McKaylee always came running to greet her father with a big hug and a kiss, Eddie Grampp said. On the morning before her passing, he recalled, his daughter offered to make him pretend breakfast with a plastic egg in her kitchen play set.
"That was our last personal daddy-daughter interaction. I am going to keep that little gift, the plastic egg, with me to always remember that little moment of love. It means the world to me," Eddie Grampp said. "Some may wonder, How can Heavenly Father take away such a beautiful little girl? I look at it the reverse way. Heavenly Father allowed us to have one of his perfect little angels to help us through a hard time and he needed her back, as sad and tragic as it was."
The "hard time" referenced is Eddie Grampp's three-year battle with brain cancer. McKaylee was born a few months before her father was diagnosed with an aggressive, inoperable brain tumor. Her parents said McKaylee was a tremendous blessing in their lives during that time, often accompanying her father to chemotherapy treatments, being her mother's shadow and always reminding them to smile, Eddie Grampp said.
"She shined the light and love of Christ into our lives," said Eddie Grampp, a computer animator at Nickelodeon. "We are grateful for the knowledge of the plan of salvation, and knowing that we are supposed to go through trials, that our Heavenly Father loves us enough to not shield us from everything bad because there is a lot of spiritual growth that comes as a result of going through these challenges. People know we are sad, but they also see the peace and joy we have as well."
McKaylee's death also comes only a few months before Mary Grampp is expected to deliver a baby girl. Before the birth of their oldest son, Mary had three ectopic pregnancies, with one almost taking her life. For now, the pregnancy is going well, Mary Grampp said.
One message the Grampps hope to convey to parents is to hug and show appreciation for your children more often.
"Let them know you love them," said Eddie Grampp, who served an LDS mission in Puerto Rico.
An online fundraising campaign was started last week to help the family with funeral and other expenses at youcaring.com. As of Friday, donations totalled more than $48,700.
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