Father Writes Heartbreaking Post After Girl, 11, Dies After Being Hit by SUV: 'Dancing In Heaven Tonight'
Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.
The circumstances of the accident that killed an 11-year-old girl in Louisville, Mississippi, remain uncertain, but the impact on those who loved her is clear as they recall a girl who “would light up any room you walked in.”
Sydnee Claire Stokes was killed Feb. 21 in an accident. Louisville Police Chief Sean Holdiness said an SUV struck the girl near a mailbox at about 4:30 p.m. that day, according to WTVA-TV.
The girl was taken to a hospital, but she died there.
UPDATE – Father identifies child pedestrian killed as Sydnee Claire Stokes. https://t.co/C9Omh292Ec pic.twitter.com/Z8nMdDbXSt
— WTVA 9 News (@wtva9news) February 22, 2023
Her father, Jay Stokes, posted photos of his daughter on his Facebook page and wrote a heartfelt message.
“I don’t know why you had to leave this earthly body so soon, but everyone has their purpose in life. Sydnee Claire apparently you had used your time up. You are dancing in heaven tonight. I’m so jealous,” he wrote.
“You will always be my #1. You were loved [by] everyone and had an unforgettable personality. This is something no parent is supposed to go through. The calls and messages have meant so much, please forgive me if I don’t respond,” he wrote.
Family friend Diane Richardson posted her remembrance online as well.
“my precious sydnee girl my sassy, beautiful, loud, happy little shadow for so many years.. you would light up any room you walked in & 11 years just wasn’t enough.. all the spend the night parties, summers, and mama mel trying to teach us how to cook & bake,” she wrote.
“you were so special to me & made an impact on everyone you met! your hugs made any day better & i’ll love you forever sweet girl,” she wrote.
Mississippi Highway Patrol accident reconstruction experts have been requested to help sort out the details, according to WLBT-TV.
Jay Stokes shared one bit of advice amid his grief.
“Tell everyone to hug their kids often and tell them you love them every chance you get,” he told the television station.
Stokes followed that up with another Facebook post to acknowledge the support the community had given him.
“I’m gonna tell you all a few things that are weighing on an old broken hearted daddy. I have never in my life dreamed (not that I every wanted to dream about this) the tragedy of my little girl could have brought this County together,” he wrote.
“At a time when society seems to be at the worst I have ever seen it in my short 41 years. I have always known I was loved and thought I felt what loved felt like. Let me tell you all I know now what it feels like now. I will not go into details in the wide open because you know who you are and I haven’t got a clue. I am forever grateful and don’t know how I deserve your kindness,” he wrote.
“As far as grieving, I am still doing just that. But, I have found peace with all this tragedy. When Sydnee took her first breath, her Book of Life was written in stone. Did I want it to be only 11 years long, no. There is nothing on this earthly world that could change or extend it. So please keep your prayers and thoughts for our family coming strong,” he wrote.
The young girl’s obituary recalled the high points of her life.
“She enjoyed sleepovers with all her best friends, making videos with sisters Hadlee and Logan, playing softball, singing and dancing, playing computer games with brother Knox, and target shooting, hunting, and fishing with her dad,” it said.
“She was a member of Ellison Ridge Baptist Church, where she was baptized by her grandfather Bro. Mark Jones on December 17, 2017,” it said.
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