The Wood family gathered Monday night, on the eve of the sentencing for the man who killed their loved one.
It has been a heartbreaking year for the Chesterfield family, whose 19-year-old son, Cody Wood, was hit and killed on Old Buckingham Road last year by a man who then drove away from the scene.
Bernard Kamgang has been convicted in the crime and is due in court for sentencing Tuesday. The hearing will close a legal chapter in the Wood family's life, as they'll finally get to see justice for his death. However, the family for just a little more. In their struggle to reconcile what happened, tears and heartache are still fresh, but faith leads the way.
"I could hear him say, 'I'm going home grandma,'" said Marie Titus, Cody's grandmother. "I knew, I knew without a shadow of a doubt where he was going and I know now where he is."
In fact, Cody's family said he drew pictures before his death that gave them comfort he is in heaven. One picture showed the Lord's hands holding up the City of Richmond. Another was a comic strip of a squirrel who got hit by a car and died, but went to heaven.
At the courthouse Tuesday, they'll face the man who hit him and then drove away; the very idea is unthinkable to them.
"I just can't imagine how anybody would live their conscious and leave them on the side of the road like a deer or a dog or something," Sue Wood said through tears.
The Woods aren't looking for revenge, they say they just want justice.
"We're a bit anxious," said Seth Wood, Cody's brother. "We're just curious to know what's going to happen in the courtroom.We want it to be legitimate and fair."
"We believe in the justice system," said Cody's father, Barry Wood. "We do want laws to change to be more severe for leaving the scene of an accident, but within the law, whatever the judge says, we're gonna just be thankful that there's some punishment, some consequence, some settlement put to all this."
Within what could be one of the worst days of their lives, the Wood family also sees hope.
Cody didn't die on the scene. He passed away seven days later from brain trauma. His family credits that precious time with him to people they don't even know, who stopped to help him that night.
"I just appreciate them so much for being there for him, for my son when I couldn't be there," said Sue.
"Cody was just a young man full of life and a future," said Barry. "He was our boy, he was our son."
They hope to meet those good Samaritans at sentencing.
They also said they hope to start a foundation in Cody's memory to help other families who are in the hospital because a loved one has brain trauma. It's why they wear the green ribbons — the ribbon color for brain trauma victims.
"We were there every second," said his sister, Jessica Andres. "So none of us could work, we all had to take time because you know, of course we wouldn't be anywhere else."
Andres said their family was overcome and touched by the support of neighbors, church members, and friends, but she also recognized that not every family is so fortunate.
She hopes the foundation, once fully established, will help families suffering through a similar experience, helping them to focus on the care of their loved one without worrying about work, bills, or other responsibilities.
Here is a link to the information for that foundation: greenribbonproject.com
The family also says they are working now to fight hit-and-runs, working to make the legal consequences for doing so more severe.
Cody was adopted into the Wood family when he was 10-years-old. His father met him on a business trip and was so touched, the family adopted him. It took 3 years and they persisted until he was in their arms. They say now, they can't imagine their family without him.
Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.
WWBT-TV NBC 12
P.O. Box 12
On Your Side
Video and Pics