A few weeks ago we found two large boxes on our doorstep. We dragged them inside, eager to see who they were from. Inside was a letter addressed to us from Amanda the Panda. It said this was a Holiday Cheer box, sent to us because a guardian angel had contacted them on our behalf. Amanda the Panda is an organization that reaches out to families who have lost a loved one. Inside the boxes were twenty-five wrapped gifts, one for each day until Christmas, to bring a smile on days that undoubtedly will be some of the most difficult.
The first gift was for all of us. An Amaryllis bulb. A beautiful red flower with a single lonely stalk that with a little loving care will bloom year after year. We tenderly tucked the bulb into its pot of soil and are anticipating the beauty of Ellianna's Amaryllis when it blooms in a few weeks.
Every morning after our advent devotion, the kids dash to see whose turn it is to open the gift for that day. Smiles and cheers erupt, and for a moment there is a sparkle on faces that have been worn by frequent tears.
People shrug and say children are resilient, they will be fine. I disagree. Children are wounded just as much as adults. We spend many nights holding tiny hands, rocking small bodies wracked with tears and heartache as they try to mend the pain of their sister being torn from their lives. It is a long and very painful road, which makes moments of joy and laughter mean all the more to us. We are deeply grateful to all the people that had a part in bringing us some much needed cheer and something to look forward to on some of the hardest of days.
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