The first Christmas. The two hardest days of my life since his death. I almost can’t type or say his name. Actually, we haven’t done that in the last two days very much. I think I’ve cried more in these last two days than I have in the last five months. My boss, Joe Duncan, warned me that it would be the hardest of days and he was right. Trey absolutely loved Christmastime and everything that embodied its meaning.
We usually make candy a week before Christmas. We would make peanut butter balls, coconut balls, fudge, all kinds of candy in preparation for the holidays. On Sunday, we went to my sister’s and it was Collin’s turn to learn to make fudge. He did such a good job and I got the annual picture from behind at the stove. Trey’s was posted on Facebook this year as a memory. I sat in the kitchen and cried as I watched Collin step into Trey’s position of making the candy. There were no peanut butter balls made and no other candy. But the fudge Bobby and Collin made was delish!
Christmas eve is the time that most people go to Christmas eve services. It has been our tradition for years that is when all our family gets together (nieces, nephews) to eat finger food, fellowship, exchange presents from the Grandmother, etc. I began Christmas eve receiving text after text of love and support from friends who were thinking about our family. Many brought tears to my eyes as I was so touched at their remembrance of our family. Trey loved the party atmosphere on Christmas eve. We always read the story of Christ’s birth from Luke. We started years ago letting the youngest child that could read be able to read the story. Last year, we changed and let my 82-year-old mother read the story. If it was read this year, I wasn’t in the room. I stayed at the kitchen table looking at the vacation guide for our trip for next year. There was laughter though as Julianne came in and screamed – you mean there’s no peanut butter balls!? We decided to watch Elf when we realized so many had not seen it. We couldn’t believe it. And laughter began as those of us who had memorized the movie spoke every line. SANTA! I KNOW HIM! I KNOW HIM! Oh Trey was there.
Jay and I came home to put out presents for Collin for Christmas. Jay had gone that day to get the stocking stuffer candy. I had held it together so well all day until I was putting the candy in his stocking and I realized Jay bought a bag of York Peppermint Patties and I lost it. Jay could not even understand what I was saying. That was Trey’s favorite candy I bought him every year. He didn’t know. Honestly, I think it was just time for me to fall apart since I had held it together and had just been teary.
I am so glad that we decided to not do the early breakfast like we traditionally do. It proved exactly what I thought. Trey was the one that could never sleep the night of Christmas eve. He would be the one up at 6 a.m. on the stairs and waking Collin up. I slept on the couch last night because my head had been hurting and by 9 a.m., Collin still had not stirred. I finally fed the dogs and began making noise to get him out of bed. It was a nice morning just me, Jay, and Collin. My phone was blowing up with texts and I would hear Jay’s ding at the same time. We would just look at each other and know. Don’t get me wrong. We could not have made it through the day without the love and support.
I don’t think some people realize how many people really have been affected by Trey’s passing. Some don’t know just how much he was loved. You didn’t have to know Trey to love him. I guess in the grieving stage, this might be where my anger, or maybe frustration is a better word might come in and CERTAINLY not at my Lord. I am sitting here watching Christmas vacation where he is stuck in the attack and he is watching the old reel to reel movies and I’m just bawling. There are so many people who I would like to ask, by choice, put your son in front of a bus and step away. THEN be expected to accept it in love and grace without anger. That’s why the other day I said on twitter, I think some people just don’t understand. I pray you never feel the depth of pain and loss we feel. There are friends that feel the same depth of this grief that our family feels or they would not step out and do so many random acts of kindness to ease our grief and their own. Like put Christmas lights on our house as a surprise, stop by with food on Christmas eve out of the blue (we sure didn’t have any – I was eating candy), take Collin Christmas shopping for his mom and dad, and so many other things. These are the people who think of others. I mentioned the texts. Today, I got a special text from Cade Peeper. Cade is the son of Cade and Tara Peeper and Corbin and Quinn’s older brother. Corbin was one of Trey’s pallbearers. Cade plays basketball for Ole Miss and is in Hawaii in a basketball tournament. He sent me a text just to tell me he was thinking about me and that he loves us. In the paradise that Trey loved, he stopped to think of us and text me. I fell apart. His grandfather, Jim Siegfried baptized Trey and was with us all during our West Clinic visits.
This leads me back to the parents. What I pray for the parents is that they learn to be better parents to their children. Love your children. Know that some things just don’t matter. It just doesn’t matter if the bed isn’t made. What matters is that you know what your child is doing when you are not around. Be willing to accept that not all children are perfect. Trey certainly was not. Do you know their character? What does their character say about them? Are they really who they portray to be – like Jesus – the Christ-child?
On June 29, 2012, a little more than a week before he died, this was Trey’s devotion that I found. He wrote:
- Pray in line with God’s will – 1 John 5:14-15
- With the right motives – James 4:3
- With persistence Luke 11:8-10
- With a spirit of humility – Luke 18:14
He wrote – Sometimes we do not need to be reminded of these guidelines. Sometimes it just takes an increase of faith. Mark 9:24 THIS IS THE PRECIOUS WISE SON WE LOST.
It has not only been hard on us, but very difficult on Julianne. Love just doesn’t stop when someone dies. In some instances, it just grows stronger. Our heart aches for her. But she is surrounded by her family and our family with lots of love.
Surrounded by family with lots of love. . .we are. And some of them are friends that I feel have been part family for years. I am very thankful this season for these friends. Proverbs 18:24b “But there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.”
Thank you to all of you who helped us through this difficult couple of days and who will continue to hold us close in your prayers. It will not get easier any time soon. Sometimes is just takes an increase in faith. Thank you Trey. I miss you buddy.
16 thoughts on “It’s almost over. . .”
I knew exactly what you meant when I saw “It’s almost over.” Everything is different now. We crawl through the holidays. It’s my second Christmas without Jason. I still can’t believe it, Lisa.
Parents that have lost their children are the parents that truly understand.
That pain in our chest that makes it hard to breathe, that lump in our throat that make it hard to swallow, the tears in our eyes that make it hard to see, the love in our heart that never ceases….God’s love for us never ceases and I am sure he is weeping with you….I hope and pray that you feel his warm embrace and that his spirit comforts the pain, lump and tears and that you come to know joy again and that in the future you will be able to share more laughter and joyful memories and fewer tears. Merry Christmas Lisa and Family. Trey is celebrating Jesus’ birth today and what a blessing it is for him to share that special day with our Lord! You all are loved!
Although we have never met and although we probably never will…know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I don’t understand what your are going through but my heart truly breaks for you during this time. I so admire the ‘character’ of Trey and what an amazing young man he was. I desire that character for not only my children but myself and take great inspiration from Trey’s example as well as yours. May God’s peace and presence be with you all.
Praying for you my friend. Love you guys.
Although you do not know me, you are in my prayers everyday. Jesus give these people peace and comfort!!!!! I seem to find people who have lost a child. I lost my daughter, Beth, with cancer 46 years ago. It doesn’t get any easier. In fact now that I am in my 70’s, it seems to get harder, if that is possible. My husband and I always have had the Lord beside us, taking our hand to lead and guide us. It is OK to cry. That is why God gave us tears!!! I have cried for so many years,I could probably fill up a pond. God is good, He has always been there for me!!!! I live in Franklin, TN. just had to tell you I pray for you everyday. Prayers help!! I know!!! May God continue to guide you to peace and comfort!!!! Mimi Koonce
Oh! Ms. Mimi, Thank you so much! This means so much. Our God is a God of truth and that’s what I live by. I don’t want to be told that it will be okay or hang in there. I was told that so much before he passed away. I told them, I don’t want a “hang in there” friend. I want someone who will cry with me and sit with me. I pray my husband and I will be that for each other for many years.
Dear Erwin family: God did not say it will be okay or hang in there. Our loving God said I will be with you through good times and bad times. Always remember God is there holding your hand at all times. He has held my hand so much that He probably has calluses on His hands because I hold it so tight. I am so thankful that my husband and I always have the Lord in our life. God has always helped us for 53 years. WHAT A LOVING GOD WE HAVE!!!! You are always in my daily prayers!!! In the grip of His Hands, Mimi Koonce
Dec 25, 2012 6:57 AM
” I’m Spending Christmas with Jesus this Year”
I see the countless Christmas trees
around the world below
with tiny lights like heaven stars
reflecting on the snow
The sight is so spectacular
Please wipe away that tear
For I’m spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year
I hear the many Christmas songs
That people hold so dear
O’, the sounds of music can’t compare
with the Christmas choir up here.
For I have no words to tell you
of the joy their voices bring
for it’s beyond description
to hear the angels sing.
I know how much you miss me,
I see the pain inside your heart.
but, through our memories so dear..
We’re never far apart.
I can’t tell you of the splendor
or the peace here in this place
Can you just imagine Christmas
with Our Savior…….face-to-face.
I’ll ask him to light your spirit
As I tell him of your Love.
Then I’ll pray for ‘One another’
As you lift your eyes above.
So please let your heart be joyful
and let your spirit sing
for I’m spending Christmas in heaven
and I’m walking with the king.
*I came upon this – this morning and immediately thought of you and your family. Although we have never met please know that I hold you all in my prayers daily.
Lisa, Jay and Collin,
I do not know you personally but have followed your story and have no clue as to how bad you hurt. Please know that your story has touched many lives and some of whom you may never know. I continue to pray for you all and that God will continue to embrace you with the love and peace that He alone can give.
Lisa, Jay and Collin: May God cradle you in His arms and comfort you as only He can.
Wow! All I can seem to do after reading this is cry; cry for you, Jay, and Collin and for how your heart must ache. Something you said about “knowing your children” touches my heart….. because you KNOW the person I am and my personality traits. And you’re so right…..all the “stuff” doesn’t matter. I DO need to “KNOW” my kids better. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “day-to-day” things that seem to fill a 24 hour period so quickly. I am so guilty of just that! Thank you, my precious, precious friend for reminding me of the IMPORTANT things…..the ones that matter! I think of you so often and know there is nothing in this world that can ever fill the void that Trey’s death has left in your heart and on your life. Know that I pray for you….for your peace, patience with understanding it all, and that you feel every moment of every day how much you are loved and what a wonderful mom, example and friend you are! My hope and prayer is that you all will have a more joyous and happier new year! Love……….
If anything, this made me smile. Yes, I do know you!
On Dec. 31 it will be 12 yrs since my beautiful daughter gained her wings. I wish I could tell you it will get better, but I can’t. You just “make it” for all your loved ones around you. My consolation is one day we will be together again and can celebrate Jesus birthday together. I have thought about your family, and please know that sweet Trey was thought of by many. God bless you all.
I have been praying for your family since it first came out about Trey. What a faithful wonderful child you raised. I can’t even imagine your grief. November 30, my precious 47 year old brother died from a pulmonary embolism and the grief I experience at times is overwhelming. I grieve for my loss, for my Moms loss, for his wife and three childrens loss, for my entire families loss. I’m really struggling with my faith at this point. I am so angry. I have spent every christmas with him 41 years worth of christmas’s. Him and his family was planning there yearly trip to see us. I feel so cheated. So I can’t imagine your pain because my pain is terrible and it was my brother and I had 41 years with him. I continue to pray for your family. 😦
I think of you and your family often as you go through this difficult journey. I lost my daughter in 2008 in an automobile accident. I can tell you first hand that the emotions you are feeling and the ones yet to come are so normal. You may think at times that you are going completely but, somehow God will carry you through it when you think you can’t make it another day without hearing Trey’s voice. The holidays are are hard and so are the days leading up to their birthdays and the Heaven date. I have been and will continue to pray for all of us who have lost our children. God Bless You and Your Family.