What is it about a child’s laugh that lifts my spirits so? I was out and about the other day and from somewhere in the building I heard a child laugh and it sound like the voice of The Creator, reaching out to remind me of joy!
In December of 2007, I lost my nine-year-old little boy without any warning. He was having headaches for about a week and the doctor told us it was just migraines. Three days before Christmas, he woke up with another one of the painful headaches and his father and I told him to rest. We checked on him every twenty minutes or so and he seemed to be sleeping peacefully. The last time my husband went in to check on him, he was already gone. We tried CPR and the paramedics came immediately, but there was nothing we could do. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that we learned he had an aggressive brain tumor that took him from us.
In the week that followed, many people told us that Christmas would never be the same. On the day of my son Heller’s life celebration, my mother said these words:
“Many people have mentioned the fact that this tragedy is heightened by the fact that it happened around Christmas, and they wonder how we will ever get through another Christmas. Christmas is Christ’s day and we will continue to celebrate Jesus on that day!”
But December 22 will be a day reserved for celebrating the life of Heller, and we will celebrate on that day the way he would want us to. On that day, we will go out and make a change, do a good deed, and let the world know that a little boy once lived for that special reason. On December 22, we would like everyone here to join us…walk up to a stranger out Christmas shopping, hand them $10.00, $25.00, or whatever; mend a broken relationship; help your mom around the house; or help an elderly neighbor decorate his house; do whatever you can to make someone else’s life a little better and tell them you are doing it for your nephew, friend, classmate, and that you are doing it to honor him.
And then, if you want to, cry a few tears. Finally, say a prayer of thanks to the God who allowed us to enjoy Heller for 9 years. And then on December 25th celebrate Christ with joy…with Heller.”
Heller was a special little boy. He had a heart of gold and we were always amazed at the love that poured from him for others. Below is a post sent to us through his memorial guestbook. It shows how even a nine-year-old can brighten someone’s day.
“I’M SO VERY SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS. I worked in the school lunchroom at Alafia when Heller was in the 1st & 2nd grade and will always remember him telling me and Ms. Freda how pretty we looked and how pretty our shirt was each and every day. No matter how bad of day I was having he always may my day worthwhile. I love him and will miss him very much.”
Valrico, FL United States
Not enough of us respect our elders. Maybe it’s just the way I was raised, or the fact that I am a parent now, and getting older and trying to instill these values in my own children… but I am very aware of it.
We were at a school function for the kids about a week ago, and there was a disabled woman near the front door. She was leaning on a walker and clearly was intimidated by the thought of navigating the crowds, through a narrow area jammed with kids, so that she could get closer to the stage and see everything.
My 4 year old son and I asked her if she would like a place to sit, and when she gratefully accepted we grabbed a chair, parted the crowd for her, and took her to the front. It’s a little thing, bit in this big world it’s the little things that matter:)
Erik, United States
My 5-year-old grandson came to greet me the other day and after a hug, he said, “Grandma, you look particularly nice today”. This without any prompting.
Sheryl Clarke, United States
A young boy of about 10 or so held the door open for several people at the grocery store (including me). His mother had already gone into the store…and didn’t realize her polite young son was still standing outside being very sweet. His mother was a bit surprised that her son was no longer following her and had that momentary panic parents have when they don’t know where their child has gone off to. I pointed to the door and showed her what he was up to.
You should have seen the looks on the faces of those he did this for and on his mother’s face too. People smiled, complimented him, and complimented his mother. In return, the boy’s smile radiated like the sun itself. Win-win, wouldn’t you say?
~Jerilynne, Wauconda, IL USA