Monty Williams…oh my word!
I don’t know if you guys have seen the video of this man’s eulogy to his wife…but oh my goodness. It’s a must watch. I will be honest and say I didn’t know who this man was prior to this heart breaking story coming out. But I can tell you that after I saw this eulogy and read about him and his wife afterwards that I want to know him. Not because he is rich and famous but because he is awesome. So awesome and I want to thank him for the awesome he taught me. This man’s response to the tragedy in his life, quite frankly, changed mine.
When I watched the eulogy like millions of other people, I ugly cried in my bed…for a long time.
For those of you who don’t know the story, Monty’s wife Ingrid and three of their 5 children were struck in a head on collision by a woman who had methamphetamine’s in her system. The driver of the other vehicle was killed instantly and Monty’s wife, Ingrid, also died from her injuries.
The NBA community was devastated as by all accounts Monty and his wife were incredible people, parents and leaders in their community. When you read the story about Monty and his beloved wife Ingrid it is a beautiful love story. He was the super cool jock who fell hard for a good Christian woman who transformed him into the strong, faith filled person he is today.
This week after he received the Craig Sager Strong Award at the NBA Award show the ugly cry returned. I watched in awe again at how this man thanked the people who helped him pull his life together and he individually thanked each of his five children. His youngest child cried on his sister’s shoulder. The poor, sweet boy misses his mommy and honestly, who could blame him. She sounds amazing.
After watching this I became obsessed with learning all I could about this woman and her family. What I learned was so profound. She was incredibly faith filled. She loved God and wasn’t afraid to show it or let people know it. In fact, when she and Monty first met at Notre Dame, Monty acted cool and tried to set her up with one of his friends. However, he quickly realized that was a mistake, apologized and they spent the next time they saw each other talking.
After that she became his study partner and she pushed him to do well in an academically challenging school. She taught him about service to others, she taught him how to have a positive outlook on life, as he even described himself as a pessimist.
In all of the NBA organizations he worked for every single person interviewed or asked spoke of her like a second mom like figure. On top of what she did for her husband, she was very active in their church, donated a lot of time to charities and took care of the couples five children.
They were on the way home from a daughter’s basketball game when she was killed. The worst day of this man’s life. The worst day of their beautiful children’s life. A horrible, senseless tragedy. Doesn’t seem like there is anything to celebrate here, does it?
Well, I’d agree. Except for I watched this man give his wife’s eulogy. I cannot even imagine what he felt at that moment or how overcome with grief he had to have been. What I have learned from all I have read about it and him, is that the only audience he saw and the only people he was speaking to were his five children.
In the 7 minutes he spoke he was calm. How. Is. That. Possible?
It was in this part of the speech that the ugly cry took hold and I was spellbound by his every word.
“Everybody’s praying for me and my family, which is right. But let us not forget that there were two people in this situation. And that family needs prayer as well. That family didn’t wake up wanting to hurt my wife. Life is hard. It is very hard. And that was tough, but we hold no ill will toward the Donaldson family, and we, as a group, brothers united in unity, should be praying for that family because they grieve as well. So let’s not lose sight of what’s important.”
Oh my goodness. Did this man just publicly forgive the person who recklessly drove her car while under the influence of drugs and killed the love of his life and the mother of his children at her funeral?
Kevin Durant described Monty Williams as the “best man I’ve ever known”. I can see why he feels that way.
I may be wrong, but I think true forgiveness is one of the hardest things in the world. It is something I have struggled with in my own life. Monty Williams humbled the hell out of me with these words. What was I holding on to? Why? This man had far more to be mad about and far more to hold on to, but, instead he asked the hundreds of people at his wife’s funeral and the millions who watched it afterwards, to pray. Incredible. Astounding. I was blown away.
He then went on to say:
“And when we walk away from this place today, let’s celebrate because my wife is where we all need to be. And I’m envious of that. But I’ve got five crumb-snatchers that I need to deal with. I love you guys for taking time out of your day to celebrate my wife. We didn’t lose her. When you lose something, you can’t find it. I know exactly where my wife is.”
Again, oh my goodness. I couldn’t love this sentiment more. I hope I can be as brave as this man when I am faced with the loss of someone I love. “I know exactly where my wife is.” Of course he does, she’s in Heaven, where she belongs, looking down on the people she loves most.
I think I cried for 20 solid minutes after I saw this video and this past week when I watched him receive the Sager Strong Award I cried again. This may sound super weird, but at the risk of that…I wish I was this man’s friend. I wish I could sit across a table from him and bend his ear. I’d like to give him a hug and tell him how impressive he is.
In one of the articles I read about him and how he dealt with the loss of his wife he was pretty hard on himself as a parent. I want to be his friend so I can reassure him he’s doing the best he can and that his beautiful wife in Heaven is proud of him.
To say this man is awesome would be an understatement. Now, I don’t claim to know everything about him, far from it, but what I do know I love. He is strong. He is courageous. He loves his family above all else and he loves and trusts God…that much is so clear.
At one point he says “All of this will work out. I know this is hard for me and my family and you”. ‘And you’ he said. In his largest moment of grief, he was thinking about other people and how his wife’s death affected them. Amazing. Awesome.
He quotes Psalms several times in his eulogy and a few of the verses stood out to me.
“God is good and God is love.” He went on to say “during times like these it is pretty easy to forget that…but we can’t lose sight of the fact that God loves us.”
But we all know, it is easy to forget. And it is easy to be sad or dwell on what we don’t have rather than what we do. I am sure Monty Williams had struggles with this after his wife’s funeral. He admitted as much in interviews. But the fact that in that moment he knew that truth. Incredible, awesome. We can all learn from him.
Perhaps the part that stood out the most to me was this Bible verse, also from Psalms:
“Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.”
Yes! He was covered in unity that day and as it turns out, the days and months that followed. His friends and family wrapped him and his sweet children up and helped them through the toughest time in their life.
It struck me when I heard him say that. Wouldn’t life be so much better; wouldn’t our world be so much better if we all dwelled in unity? Sure, maybe that’s idealistic or unrealistic but I think it would be the best kind of awesome.
Even though I am certain he will never read this, I don’t care. I want to say thank you Monty Williams for showing the whole world your awesome!
Here is the link to his wife’s eulogy. If you haven’t seen it, please watch! It’s life changing.
You can also view his Sager Strong acceptance speech on this link.