Henry's Blog

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas 2008

It was an unseasonable 80 degrees when we left home on Friday the nineteenth. We had made plans to drive to Montgomery where most of Mama's side of the family would gather for a little holiday reunion. On Sunday, we would head back, stopping for an extra day in Atlanta, on our way home in time for a Christmas: our first Christmas without Henry, and one we had decided to keep at home, alone, in our own way.

We had a lovely visit staying in Aunt L and Uncle B's elegant and warm country house. Although we were not scheduled to open any exchanged gifts during our stay, the family unexpectedly gathered us into the living room for a special presentation. We were given a simple white box. When opened, it revealed a missive that said:

Dear Cynthia and Terry,

In honor of Henry's life, we have dedicated a memorial bench at Dolphin Head in his name. We know that this is one of your favorite places because of memories shared there with Henry. The Plantation Owners Association will be removing a tree for Henry's bench in the perfect place for a beautiful and unobstructed view. It will be completed in mid-January. They will add the plaque for you.

We love you.

This was followed by a list of twenty family members who contributed to make this happen.

In the bottom of the box we found this:

Aunt S, who spear-headed this project, went on to tell us that when she first contacted the Owner's Association about the bench, she was told that there were no more spaces for memorial benches at the site. After being told it was for a child who loved the area so, the representative asked: "What's the child's name?"

"Henry Cermak," replied Aunt S.

"Henry Cermak? Can I call you back in two hours?"

Two hours later the rep called back. She had scouted the area with another official. They found and earmarked a dying tree that could be removed and would provide a perfect place for the bench.

Henry has touched so many lives.

We are so honored by the meaning and thoughtfulness behind this wonderful memorial. It may not be a merry Christmas for us, but it is a special one.