But this article is not about any of that. It is about a group of people who share something during this holiday that most of us will hopefully never understand.
This is supposed to be a jolly time of year. It’s a time of year that can and often does bring out the child in all of us. It’s a time when families gather to eat and exchange gifts.
What a joy to see the face of a child on Christmas morning. It doesn’t get much better than that.
But this Christmas will be different for Bob and Robin Dixon. They lost their precious Collins in January of this year.
It will be their first Christmas without him. And even though they have the assurance that Collins is in a better place than the world we live in, I have no doubt that their hearts are heavy about right now.
Collins lived during a time of immediate news. He lived in the day of the Internet and cellphones.
Therefore, there were many who offered up prayers for him and his family because we were able to keep up with his highs and lows until he began his new journey.
My first experience with the death of a child was when I lost my first cousin, Lance Allen, to leukemia when I was only a child myself. Lance was the son of Tony and Diane Allen and had two brothers, Keith and Casey.
Lance was a stocky young child with a head of blonde hair. He was tough and fought a hard battle against his disease.
I remember a time when my mother was babysitting him and my Dad told him to stop doing something he was doing. He looked at my Dad and said, “You’re not my boss.”
This would have normally been bad news for the speaker. But I think Dad was too shocked to say anything.
He was a tough little kid. And we would later learn why he had been made so tough.
During the 1970s we kept up with folks by home telephones. We didn’t have the luxury of getting the immediate news like we do today.
But when something like this hits your family, you stay in the loop. There were many ups and downs for Lance and his parents. Very much like the Dixons, they believed in the power of prayer.
I remember the first Christmas after Lance succumbed to leukemia. It was different no doubt.
You could feel the void that he left in the family. It would never be the same for any of us, but especially his immediate family.
But time has a way of easing those wounds. We would continue to gather at Christmas to eat and exchange gifts. We would laugh again and still find joy in seeing the faces of the other children as they enjoyed the holiday.
I think of Lance often. I don’t talk about it to anyone. But I do think about him. I think about the impact he had on the lives of those he knew.
I don’t think with sadness anymore, but with thankfulness that I was a part of his short life.
Bob and Robin Dixon have been great warriors during their trial and loss. And because of the Internet, Collins Dixon reached the hearts of people that he would never even know.
I have no doubt that his family will feel a void this Christmas that they have never known. But that void will one day be filled.
They will meet with family at Christmas to eat and exchange gifts. They will laugh and feel joy. And they will remember, they will always remember, the thousands of lives that Collins touched during his time here on earth.
They will know that he touched more people than most of us ever will touch over a full life span.
I know there are other parents out there facing the same circumstances. I just don’t know you. But that makes you no less important. This column is for you also.
As strong as the Dixon family has been, this year will be different for them. Let’s lift them and others up in our prayers to help fill that void. Amen.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.