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.