It was considered the worst weekend of their lives.
The Wallace family's teenager, Madison, gone, after selflessly jumping into an ice-filled river with another man to save her little brother.
Sunday, Jay and Lara Wallace opened up, talking candidly about their Madison: who she was and how they want us to remember their young, beautiful hero.
Nobody could doubt 16 year-old Madison Wallace's character.
"She made this dress," Lara Wallace said.
She was a quiet girl, diagnosed with a high functioning form of Autism. But more often than not, her heart would persevere.
"For the last month or so, she reached behind the seat because I was driving and she'd pat me on the shoulder and she'd say 'I love you, dad'. Something I'll cherish as the last memory of her," Madison's father Jay Wallace said.
Madison and her family made frequent trips to Falls Park. It was there, last Thursday, where Madison drowned while trying to rescue her 6 year-old brother, Garrett, after - her parents say - he fell into the Big Sioux River.
"It was surreal. It was like I wasn't even there. I was just witnessing something," Lara said.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Wallace's find comfort in knowing that they will reunite with their daughter someday.
"Knowing that gives us comfort, that we'll see her again someday and that it gives us the courage to be better people, and to follow her example."
In the meantime, Madison's life mission of doing the right thing in the face of challenges and helping people she loved will continue in the Wallace home.
Her artistic work will still fill the rooms: blankets, hats, art and a special line she wrote herself:
"Life is like a story, and there's always a hard part."
While this may be Lara and Jay's 'hard part', the bravery and sacrifice inside Madison Wallace will live on.
"Sacrifice meets courage. Integrity meets life. Instant heaven. Timeless virtues."
The Wallace's are members of the local Latter-day Saints church and say it's their faith getting them by right now and that they believe they will be reconnected with their Madison in heaven.
Friends and other relatives of the Wallace family have set-up a fund in Madison's name to help Jay and Lara through the process of laying their daughter to rest. For more information, click on the following link: http://www.madisonwallacefund.com/
Tuesday, December 3 2013 10:48 PM EST2013-12-04 03:48:06 GMT
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