WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Tuesday the family of Rebekah Bouma met in grief and celebration of memories of their lost loved ones. Monday, the family said goodbye to the couple that was killed in the crash, hours after their wedding. They say their 19-year-old daughter and her late husband, Austin Wesson, were meant for each other and they’re relying on their faith to get them through this.
KSNW-TV spoke with the parents and siblings of Rebekah Bouma who say this day was not about remembering their death but celebrating their life.
“They met earlier this year,” said Rebekah’s mom, Rachel Bouma. “He first face-timed me from South Africa to ask if he could have permission to date Rebecca,” said Bouma’s dad, John.
Both John and Rachel said they were honored to have Austin in Rebekah’s life, showing pictures of the two of them after their wedding. Bouma was in South Africa for a missionary trip earlier in the year when she met Austin.
“We loved him like just like he was one of our own sons,” said Rachel as she looked at John, recalling the call from the responding officer that night.
“I was watching her youngest sister dance when I saw I had a missed call from Rebekah’s phone, explained Rachel. “I called back and it was a sheriff, who I thought was Austin, playing a joke. He said Rebekah had been in an accident and she was at Via Christi Saint Francis Hospital.”
Austin died on the scene of the accident and Rebekah, two days later in the hospital. As Rebekah’s siblings grieve, they also say their sister will never be forgotten.
“Becca was gorgeous,” her brother Micah Bouma said. “Sometimes, I couldn’t believe she was my sister, really.”
“Becca was an extremely positive person,” said her older brother, Timothy Bouma. “She was probably more caring than anyone I’d ever ever met.”
I would say Becca was very charismatic,” said her sister Kaitlyn Nygaard. “She was one of those people you met and were automatically drawn to.”
Becca’s family says she was strong in her faith and this was something her little sister wanted to honor at the site of the accident.
“If you don’t mind coming with me, I’ll show you the tribute to her,” said Becca’s sister, Jaclyn Bouma.
KSNW-TV drove less than a mile from the Bouma residence, where the accident happened. There we found the tree that Becca’s youngest sister wrote a scripture onto. It reads:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall be no more death; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain for I am making all things new.”
Austin’s family is making their way to Kansas from South Africa to assist the Bouma’s with the funeral arrangements. The collision remains under investigation but the family has created a gofundme account for both Wesson and Bouma.