Our mailbox is giving birth daily to Christmas cards, letters and notes that our family and friends send this time of year. For many of them, this is the only time that we hear their past years story or see that little Johnny grew 3 inches. (Shocking!).
Writing our family Christmas letter and taking our family Christmas picture was always fun for us. Maddie would squirm, Nathan would sport a cheesy smile and Makenzie would try to get them to “look nice.” Sometimes, we were in a park, sometimes, in our home, but every year’s picture captured the joy that we shared as a family … all 5 of us. Then, after the tree was down and the decorations were put away, Kellie would take that year’s Christmas letter/picture, put it in a Hallmark book and write down the memories that defined the season. It was always a joy to flip back through those pages; watching how God grew our family, year after year, remember the church services in which I played a part and reminisce about the gifts that the kids ripped into on Christmas morning. That Christmas book had become part of our family’s seasonal experience.
When Makenzie died, we moved. During the packing process, I discovered our beloved Christmas book at the bottom of a water soaked bin in the back of our garage. Pages, now mush, slopped on the floor as I pinched it’s corner and lifted it out of the stagnant water. The words “Our Family Christmas” were barely legible on the cover of the book that was now overrun by black mold. It’s yellowed pages were streaked with the unreadable ink that once held words that were our memories. Another loss and another reminder that our family was being forced to start over. I had to let it go.
If the book had survived, the page titled “Christmas, 2009” would have been empty, anyway. When death strikes your family in such a profound way, there are certain traditions, practices and habits that you put to the side; simply because you can’t go through the pretension that you are having a good time. As a result, you probably won’t get a Christmas card/picture from us in the mail this year. We just haven’t brought ourselves to take one without Makenzie. But we want you to know that while we have “Makenzie Moments” throughout the day, we are doing ok. Our joy is a bit tarnished; our happiness is not as bright, but the love of God that is displayed to us through our family and friends brings us closer to the manger of our Lord.
Keep sending your cards. Keep stuffing our mailbox. ‘Cause while we can’t respond, we love them … and we love you.
Life Changing Links …
- Makenzie’s Celebration Service Online – Click Here
- “I Dance For You My King” (Video: Makenzie’s song by Anthony Celia)
- “Image of Grace” (Video: Song written and played by Nathan Stocker)
- “Makenzie Memories” (a blog by one of her best friends, Katie Davis)