Saying Good-Bye to Our Hero…

Picture, if you will,  a beautiful church sitting up on a hill. At the doorway of the church sits a green tractor tricycle, with lovely flowers adorning the back. A colorful array of flowers fill the pulpit, where people stand, some sitting, who are present to pay their final respects to the bravest little boy they have ever known. Some are sniffling quietly, while others allow the tears to flow freely, and some just struggled to keep their composure.

And in the center of the pulpit sits a small white casket, with a green tractor embroidered on the back. And there inside the sea of white lie Eli Sims, the smallest cancer warrior many had ever known. No one would ever guess by looking at his sweet, angelic face that this child had fought more battles in his short three years on this Earth than most men had seen in a lifetime. There are no marks on the outside of his thin little frame, yet if we could see on the inside, it would confirm the battle scars of his brief Earthly presence.

At Eli’s  feet, lie two handmade cards from his older brothers, Noah and Colin, along with two rubber bracelets that read “Prayers for Eli”. Standing beside the casket are two of the strongest people you will ever meet, and not by choice, I assure you. Throughout the last 16 months, Kelcey and Jason Sims have clung to their undying faith in God to get them through the nightmare that cancer put their son through, and their family. If one had never met these wonderful people, they would not be able to see the tiredness in their eyes or  the pain in their hearts, but I could and it was all I could do to get through our brief condolences without breaking down like a baby.

Behind Kelcey was a recliner, which had to be brought in since she was still recovering from her second surgery, after complications from a hernia repair several weeks ago. She will still undergo more surgeries too in the near future. What these parents have went through will change their lives, and the lives of their children forever, for the loss of a child is something that cannot be explained…at any age.

And of course, nearby as always was their family, close friends, and their church family. What a support system this family had! It was nothing short of inspirational the way this tight-knit congregation had enveloped the Sims’ family with love, prayers, and faith. I’m quite certain this family could not have made it without them. That’s what a difference a devoted church family can make in your life and Barfield Baptist has an amazing one, without question.

When Eli was diagnosed with Stage 4 Liver cancer in late December 2015, the very first thing this church did was hold a huge prayer rally. They coordinated fundraisers, helped with the children, and was never far away if the Sims’ needed a helping hand, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. 

For sixteen months, Eli fought a courageous, valiant battle. He was given every type of chemo out there to rid his body of this wretched disease. And nearing the end, when Jason and Kelcey were told there was nothing more they could do medically, they set out on another path to search for alternate means to save their son’s life. This journey took them to different states for clinical studies, but sadly, the end result was same….so they brought Eli home to spend his last days with his family. They watched as his little body grew weaker and weaker, until finally it could take no more. Eli passed on April 10, 2017, and even though it was expected to eventually happen, it still didn’t make it any easier. 

Tomorrow, Kelcey and Jason will lay their sweet baby to rest. I can’t even imagine their pain. I don’t think anyone can unless you’ve been through it and my heart goes out to them. Losing a child is not how the natural order of life is supposed to go, but we really never know what hand life is going to deal us.

Eli’s battle has touched more people than one can count and Clay County has rallied behind the Sims. I think I can safely say that hearts are breaking all over this county tonight for the loss of this little hero

Tomorrow, Thursday, April 13th,  those who wish to are welcome, and encouraged to join in forming a line along Hwy 9 from Benefield Funeral Home in Lineville to Barfield Baptist Church ( the route of the procession) beginning at 9:30 am.

The procession will begin at approximately 10:00 and will be led by two big green tractors, that Eli loved so much, fire trucks, and a police escort. So, please come join us and show love for our fallen hero and his dear family.  But remember to be safe. Please stay out of intersections and watch for traffic. This event has not been approved, nor will they be responsible,  by law enforcement, Benefield Funeral Home, or Barfield Baptist. We invite you to pay your respects, but we don’t want to see anyone hurt. 




20 thoughts on “Saying Good-Bye to Our Hero…”

  1. I’m sobbing as I read this. My deepest condolences to the family of sweet Eli. My 3 year old daughter is battling the same type of cancer (hepatoblastoma) and my heart aches for what this family has been through. Sending all my love from Indiana.
    Cari Cambridge, Charlotte’s mommy.

  2. Thank you for writing such a beautiful tribute for such a beautiful hero. Eli touched many, many lives. I continue to pray for Jason, Kelcey and their entire family. Eli will not be forgotten.

  3. Tammy,this is awesome.You are a very true writer and hava way with words.I loss a son going on 11 years in June and the heart ache never goes away. People in Clay County are something else.When Andy passed there was no way I could ever think my friends and my church (Mellow Valley) enough and yes they helped us more than they will ever know.Little Eli was our pt at Linevillie Clinic and I every time he came in it was heartbreaking .Jason and Kelcey have lots of faith that will get them through this but not over it.Thanks again the article is great.

  4. I lost my sweet husband of 46 years, two weeks ago to cancer, and it is the hardest thing I have ever faced. He was Kelsey;s pastor when she was the same age as Eli. I love this family very much and so did my husband. He prayed for Eli every day. I can’t help but believe he met this precious little boy when he entered the gates of heaven. Hold on to Jesus, little man, until you meet your mom, daddy and brothers again. You will be greatly missed, for you were greatly loved!!!

  5. Such an amagazing child and family. As I read this crying, I realize this child has really left such a wonderful mark on all the people that knew him and loved him and even people like me who only just found out about him. He is a real hero. He now is in such a beautiful place with continuing love, peace, and joy. My prayers are with u all. Be strong. God will see u through all of this!

  6. Aww, this is a touching story. I have been following his story for a week or so now ever since my cousin singer and songwriter “Amber Jean” wrote a song about him entitled “Hero” which is now available on iTunes. Not only has his story touched my heart because of the song but because I too have a son named “Eli” who is also 3 years old and loves tractors too just like this little guy and it would be devastating for me to have to go through something like this. Praying for the family and the community during this difficult time.

  7. My heart is breaking for the loss of this child. May God wrap his arms around the family in this time of loss for such a sweet Angel Eli Sims. GOD BLESS.

  8. Beautiful Tammy. My heart breaks for this family and I have never met them. Praying for everyone at this difficult time and praying for comfort in the days ahead.

  9. What a wonderful tribute to Eli and his family and his wonderful church
    family. We will never forget Eli. and will continue to remember his family when we pray.

  10. You were a brave soldier Eli here on earth. Now you are a soldier in God’s army. You have no more pain and there will be no more sticks.Now you can be a guardian angel for your mom, dad, and brothers.You have brought a lot of people to God Eli. Fly high sweet boy and let your star shine bright!

  11. I so sorry for your lose .We lost our 16 year old in January of this year and God let us have a picture of a angel who was holding our Alex. So I feel he sent a angel for your baby. You and your family is in our prayers God bless

  12. Beautifully written. Each child is blessing no matter how long or short the life. I lost my first child, Stephanie, a baby daughter at 3 1/2 days old. I know some of the pain this family is going through. God, my family, and my church family are what got me through it. The grieving will last forever even though it will get easier to endure. It’s was 29 years April 7, 2017 since I lost my daughter. I will miss her until I go to be with her and my husband. My prayers are for the entire family, to hold together, to give each other private grieving time, patience with each other, and compassion for themselves. It is so easy to blame God, yourself, or others at times like these. To be angry and feel impotent. But know that God is real. He is with you. You will be together again someday, You can get through this. Love and prayers for you all.

  13. Tammy this is such a sweet tribute to little ELi. He had the sweetest little voice and was so loved by everyone.

  14. I grew to love little Eli through my family in Clay County, as they told me about him and asked me too pray for Eli and the whole family. I read each post on facebook also and fell in love with this child and this family. My heart aches with you all at his loss, but what a footprint he left in the hearts of everyone. I am so thankful that he will never ever be sick again or in pain, but Eli will be filled with eternal joy. My prayers are with each precious member of this family and all the wonderful friends, that God will embrace, comfort and encourage you and let you see all the great miracles and impact this precious little angel has had on everyone that knew about Eli. God gave you a beautiful little angel for a short while and you did everything that possibly could have been done to take care of this very special gift, never ever doubt this. Thank God for the time you had with him and never forget the impact on others that Eli left and know you will all see each other again one day.
    Eli’s life will live on in the hearts of everyone who loved him and knew him. May God Bless this family , their church and their friends for their un-ending love, encouragement and support of this precious little angel. I hope to meet Eli and each one of you in heaven one day.
    Judy DuBose

  15. Great job Tammy ! It has really made an impression on the communitys around here . I sat about 20 min last nite sitting in a pew watching Eli video & Jason standing there byside his son . I was truly humbled & honored to be in everyones presance last nite & at the service today . We are all better off today Thanks to this amazing family & friends ! Keep up the good work my friend !

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