A Gift

Sunday, December 21, 2008
Several weeks ago our home ward [Molly and I are serving in the Spanish Branch] presented us with a beautiful gift. A Christmas tree.

This is our tree. It is a Peter Pan tree because Lucy loves Peter Pan. Last year from Thanksgiving through Christmas until New Years, Molly played the role of Peter Pan at the Egyptian theater here in Park City. It was a big deal for Molly. Every night of the show Molly had 8 solos, did back handsprings, jumped, danced, sang, crowed and flew. We took Lucy to see the final dress rehearsal thinking that at 18 months she would not be able to sit through all two hours. We were wrong. She LOVED it! She loved watching "Mommy fly". She loved the crocodile. She loved the lost boys, the Indians, the pirates, Tinker Bell, and she absolutely adored Captain Hook! She ended up seeing the show 5 times at the theater. She clapped in all the right places. When the lost boys "went to sleep" she would pretend to sleep too. Watching her watch the show was amazing. We checked out the Cathy Rigby Broadway version of Peter Pan from the library so many times that we finally broke down and purchased it on line. We checked out books of Peter Pan, the original, the Disney, we watched the Disney animated version, we listened to songs about Peter Pan that weren't from any stage or screen production. Lucy loved it all. She has a Peter Pan doll that she would "fly" around the house and say "Mommy fly, Mommy fly". It was a wonderful Christmas for us. I had about 2 months of Daddy daughter dates, Molly thrilled in the opportunity to perform, and Lucy brought her light to our lives. From her first experience watching Mommy fly through the rest of her mortal life, Peter Pan was an almost daily phenomenon.

Maybe that explanation will help you understand what our Peter Pan tree means to us. There is a life-size Captain Hook hat sitting near the top of the tree, reminding us that Lucy still has a bright future ahead of her [perhaps including someone tall dark and handsome?]. There is a porcelain Tinkerbell holding beautiful flowers that reminds us of our little angel fairy. There are sachets of pixie dust "for Lucy" and "for Peter". There are wooden swords [cut lovingly by hand by the relief society president Jenny Towery], stars, bubbles, lanterns, flowers, feathers with glass beads and clocks. Each clock is "set" at a different time and reminds us to treasure our time here because it will soon be gobbled up by the crocodile of life. There are a lot of meanings that we can attach, but I guess the important one is that we are loved, and that Lucy will remain a part of our lives. I don't know what part "Peter Pan" will play in the millennium and the next life, but for now he reminds us to stay young at heart, to love as Lucy loved and to shine as she did. I think I have mentioned before, but among the impressions I have had in this "experience" has been that someday we will find the mundane is not so mundane after all....

It is "just" a tree. It is not necessary for our salvation or even to celebrate Christmas. But a once pagan tradition, converted to a symbol of Christianity - the evergreen pointing heavenward to everlasting life - now enriches our lives. And this tree is a symbol of love, of true Christianity, and of a little angel girl who left a little early, leaving a hole in our hearts, but also a reminder of the Master who can make the mundane eternal and fill all our "holes".

The tree was presented to us at the ward Christmas breakfast, where even Saint Nicholas made an appearance. Molly and I had our pictures taken with the jolly old elf and his wife. Molly asked if they were new members in the ward. They informed us that they were actually Jenny Towery's parents and we were tempted to sit in their laps for the rest of the day. They have walked the road we are on several times already. Three of their children have passed away... There are a lot of hard things in this world. We don't always know what people are experiencing. Sometimes they are shocking heart wrenching trials. Sometimes they are slow grinding, drawn out trials. Some are life long. Some are for a short season. Trials do come for all of us. In the end there is no point in comparing. Trials are part of our education. We will each receive the courses we need.

There is no way we can express our gratitude for the saintly knees offered us to sit and rest, for the gifts and symbols of Lucy, of life and of love. Having done it themselves "Mr & Mrs Claus" told us it would be ok to leave our tree up all year long.... we just might...


  1. That is so beautiful. All of it.

    One more reminder that there are angels among us.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Aren't ward families wonderful? Thanks for sharing this beautiful story about yours...

    "Second to the right, and straight on till morning!"

  3. What an incredible gift. Unbelievably beautiful. A true monument to Lucy's spirit. Merry Christmas to all of you.

  4. Wow!
    What a beautiful tree to display all of those good and warm feelings of Christmas.

    I know Lucy was with you both as you sat on Santa's lap... this warmed my heart too.

    Even though I do not leave comments all of the time... know that I check in on you... and pray for you.


  5. What a sweet tender mercy! The tree is beautiful. Truly there are angels among us. I think it would be wonderful for you to keep the tree up all year. It is such a tangible reminder of those that love and appreciate you. Merry Christmas!

  6. Beautiful! Beautiful tribute.

    I thought of your family at the Festival of Trees this year and wondered if someone had made you one. I am so happy your ward took the challenge (although not at the Festival) and presented it in such a beautiful, personal way. It is gorgeous, and the meanings behind it... out of this world! What an amazing ward you have!

    Once again, you're in my thoughts and prayers this Christmas.

    -loves from a sister in the Gospel-

  7. How amazing! I would leave it up all year too. What a beautiful tribute to your family. Love you guys.

  8. Wow! What an amazing, sweet, gift of love! It is beautiful.

  9. wow, this post is amazing. I feel like it all just happened. I remember seeing the play and looking back and watching Lucy. I was amazed! She was standing on Vic's lap, and was so enthralled with it! She was talking back to everything, and laughing! It was so crazy! And so cute. I just wanted to watch her most of all. I cant believe that was one year ago. Look at how much life can change in one year....its amazing. I'm lucky to be related to Lucy. The tree is so cool. I cant wait to come see it.

  10. Beautiful beautiful post. I love the tree, I love the meaning. I love the clocks. . they can represent so much. "All we have is time." "All of our 'time' will run out." we will for "Time and all eternity live with our loved ones." Just wonderful. I have wanted to do a tree for James at festival of trees. . . It just seems so weird to do it 3 years after the fact. And, I haven't been up to such a large project. I am happy for you that you have such a beautiful representation of who lucy was and what she loved in this life. May god bless you, and all of us who don't have our babies this holiday season.
    Love Ya
    James' Mommy

  11. That tree is beautiful, it is a perfect representation of Lucy. Ryan and I hope you have a good holiday. I am sure that this is such a difficult time for you both, but I hope you can take some comfort in knowing how many lives you both and Lucy have touched. I have a feeling that '09 will be beautiful year for you. We love you.

  12. This tree brought tears to my eyes- you are so loved ;) and this is a beautiful gift, in the true spirit of Christmas.

  13. I would never take the tree down. What a beautiful symbol to help remind you of Lucy's legacy! We still pray every day that Heavenly Father will give some of your burden to all of us--that we can help lighten your load. Every time Raegan wakes up in the night (which is often now we have made the transition to the "big girl bed") or does something that drives me nuts, I just think about how you would give anything to be able to get up in the night with Lucy, to see her throw fit or even have her spit in your face, and it softens the situation every time. My heart aches for you and Molly and can't even imagine the heaviness of your hearts at this time of year. We will continue to pray every day and hope that the peace of this season will lift you. We love you!

  14. Wow. That was great. I'm so glad you have these wonderful people in your lives at this time. As always I really appreciate these posts...they are beautiful, thoughtful and inspired. Although I've never met you, I love to come here and cry through your posts and read your incredible insights and say a little prayer for your family...it's my way of mourning with those who mourn and though it's probably not helping you, it's helping me.

  15. Tears! Tears! Tears!

    The beauty and graciousness of the heart of humanity is sometimes overwhelming. Your tragedy is something that has transformed into a never-ending opportunity for man to serve their fellow-man. In a way, there is nothing sweeter.

    Love you guys. The tree is so amazing. I hope I get the chance to see it over the holidays....

  16. What a special gift! I imagine that Lucy helped decorate that tree from on high. She threw pixie dust on it especially for you two. I know this might sound funny but I love you both. You teach me knew things eachday as I read your blog. Thank you for sharing your testimony and love of your daughter. May you have an amazing Christmas with so much love you don't have room enough to recieve it! Love your sister in the gospel!

  17. Wow!!! So beautiful! What an awesome gift to you! Merry Christmas to the Jackson Family! All 4 of you!

  18. Wishing you peace and comfort as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

    Can you even imagine the wonder of Lucy's first Christmas in Heaven?

    Warm wishes from the frosty shores of the North Atlantic are sent from my home to yours ....


  19. What an amazing ward and RS president. I'm so glad you posted these pictures, I was so excited to see the final product. You can just see the love, hope, and prayers dripping off those branches.

  20. You guys, that tree is soooo cool! WOW!

  21. What a great gift. Thanks for the close-ups of the tree and personal feelings about Peter Pan and symbolism. We have a Captain Hook toy in our bedroom. I think of Lucy when I see it and I don't want my children to grow up or least miss a moment of it. Jenny

  22. What a beautiful tree. So full of symbolism for sweet Lucy.
    Molly, I have had you and Lucy on my mind so much this week. During our Christmas program at church on Sunday my thoughts were turned to a family that I have never met, but has touched my life so deeply.

    As I looked over at my son with tears streaming down my face, I remembered that you too will have a son of your own the same age next Christmas(carter was born in April). My mother always told me there is something special about having a son during Christmas time and I wasn't quite sure what she was talking about, until now.

    I pray that next Christmas season will be a little brighter as you hold sweet Lucy's little brother in your arms and remember that humble night of so long ago with your personal angel looking down.

    Much love to you at this time.

  23. What a wonderful gift! I loved Peter Pan as a child and still have my original book I got in 2nd grade! I was so glad to get to see Molly flying. She still is.

  24. Beautiful, perfect, insightful, sweet...oh how I miss you and the ward!

  25. Cute! I'm sorry if you have been trying to look at my blog, I had it private for a while. I changed it though. So if you want to look at it...

    I love your posts! They are so wonderful, beautiful, and inspiring! Thank you so much!

    I hope that you had a very merry Christmas, and have a wonderful New Year!

    You have taught me so much and I am so glad that I found your blog. What a wonderful gift to of had Lucy in your life! I know she is watching over you in Heaven with our Father and Jesus.

  26. I really appreciated your post and the symbolism of Peter Pan and the tree. I hope you keep it up- i would like to come see it sometime. Lucy always reminds me of how wonderful life really is.

  27. The tree is beautiful.

    Always praying for you.



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