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A Way To Honor Our Loved Ones

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Some of the rest of you may have gotten this email recently but I thought it was worth sharing. If each of us remembered our loved one in this way, what a wonderful Christmas a lot of people could have.


It's just a small white envelope stuck among the

branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no

identification, no inscription. It has peeked through

the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas

--oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the

commercial aspects of it -- the overspending, the

frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie

for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma--

the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't

think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass

the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I

reached for something special just for Mike. The

inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin,

who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior

level at the school he attended.

Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match

against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that

shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them

together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in

their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new

wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed

to see that the other team was wrestling without

headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect

a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team

obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight

class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat,

he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado,

a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, 'I wish

just one of them could have won,' he said. 'They have

a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart

right out of them.' Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he

knew them, having coached little league football, baseball,

and lacrosse.

That's when the idea for his present came. That

afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and

bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes

and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.

On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree,

the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that

this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest

thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding

years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition

--one year sending a group of mentally handicapped

youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a

pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the

ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The

envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was

always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and

our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand

with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the

envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more

practical presents, but the envelope never lost its

allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost

Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled

around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely

got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an

envelope on the tree, and in the morning it was joined

by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst

to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for

their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will

expand even further with our grandchildren standing

around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation

watching as their fathers take down the envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always

be with us.

May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the

season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and


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I really like this article. What a beautiful idea! I would love to do something like this for my dad for Christmas, especially when I go visit my grandmother. Thank you for posting!

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Mary Linda,

What a beautiful idea, and it's a wonderful way to honor our loved one still. We'll have to think of our own ideas to give to them in the most meaningful way. Thank you for sharing that with us!

Your Mike must have been truly special...as you are too!



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