TACOMA - Enzo Williams, just 6 months old when he was injured in a car accident Wednesday, died of those injuries at 6:01 p.m. Friday at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma.
The end of his life came following a day in which family members struggled during alternating moments of hope and reality.
Some family members had earlier been buoyed by hope when one of Enzo's tiny arms and a leg moved.
Terri Babcock, Enzo's maternal grandmother, said by phone early Friday afternoon that other than a large bruise on Enzo's head, there were no visible signs of the damage that was done to him.
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Eventually, though, the reality doctors had been supplying sunk in. "As much as we'd like it to be otherwise ..." Babcock said, not needing to finish.
Enzo and his entire family were in a 2005 Kia Spectra in the left-turn lane on Highway 303 Wednesday, waiting to turn west onto Furneys Lane. Around 7:50 p.m. their car was hit from behind by a 1992 GMC Yukon driven by a 36-year-old Bremerton man, according to a Washington State Patrol report.
Babcock wrote late Thursday, "It started at 8 p.m. last night when I received a frantic call from my son-in-law. All I could hear was 'Ma, Zozo, he's not breathing!'"
Enzo (aka "Zo" or "Zozo") was a surprise to the young couple, Ulysses "Todd" Williams, 22, and Kaitlin Williams, 23. He would be their third child in about three years. A delight from the start, his big brown eyes captivated not only adults who are suckers for babies anyway, but for his older sister and brother, who doted on him, Babcock said.
Zozo, she said, "soaked it all up."
Babcock has watched her daughter and son-in-law go through a range of emotions following the accident. They were strong. They broke down. They were strong again.
They were optimistic. "Kaitlin is positive God can heal him," Babcock said earlier Friday.
That faith was driven home through the years the Babcock family has connected itself to the Peninsula Bible Fellowship, located a little more than two miles north of the accident site on the same highway.
Since Wednesday, the outpouring of compassion from fellow church members, friends, family, neighbors and people they don't know has overwhelmed family members. The community sent prayers via a blog set up by one of Enzo's aunts.
Babcock said she arrived home Thursday night to find fruit and pizza. Fundraisers were organized. On the night of the accident Babcock arrived barefoot on the scene. A bystander went into Fred Meyer and bought her flip-flops to wear. Another bystander, a nurse, administered CPR to Enzo.
For Babcock that compassion has been somewhat life-changing in another way. She and her husband, Steve, are nearing retirement and had contemplated moving to a place with fairer weather. Perhaps not anymore. "I don't know that I could leave a community that has shown up like this," she said.
That compassion has been a gift to family members who all went through varying stages of emotional response, resisting acceptance for quite a while.
Scarlett Williams, Enzo's paternal grandmother, said the night of the accident she was in a kind of work mode, taking charge. It wasn't until the next day that the reality that Enzo could die got to her.
"It was setting in," she said. "When you're just here and watching Todd and Kate and again seeing them in so much pain, watching my son hang his head, sitting on a chair and holding his head, saying he just wants his baby to live ... it just doesn't seem real."
Babcock found herself wishing that this was all a bad dream, that she would wake up and the glass she stepped through Wednesday night on Highway 303 in front of Fred Meyer to get to her kids and grandkids will be no more than a nightmare.
Enzo's parents held on longer than others. Babcock said late in the afternoon Ulysses and Kaitlin went behind closed doors for "quite a while" with Enzo's doctors.
"Acceptance came," she said. They emerged ready to let go of their youngest boy.
Enzo's breathing tube was removed.
Family members held him.
That faith that earlier Kaitlin hoped would save her son later lifted the young mother and father in another way. "They're going to be OK, said Babcock. "They know they're going to be OK."