"The Kids", Christmas 2007. Left: Danny (top), Billy (bottom). Right: Bobby (top), Michelle (middle), Chris (bottom).
We have several Christmas traditions, but what we do with Christmas ornaments is my favorite. After we get the tree set up, we all spend time hanging the ornaments. But they’re not just any ornaments. Each ornament means something.
Since we were little, my mom started collecting ornaments for us. Every year for Christmas, she and my dad work on finding an ornament (or maybe several) that represent something from that year... Chris has a train from when he was little.
My parents have a moose from the year we visited Yellowstone.
Billy used to make cowboy cookies and fudge all the time, so he has an ornament of Santa baking cookies.
Each ornament means something, and many of them bring back memories.
Sometime during December 2006, we started hanging ornaments on the tree. I had flown into Durango, CO, from L.A. My parents, Chris, Bobby, and Danny were there, too. But Christmas didn’t feel quite the same that year because Billy wasn’t there. Usually, each person would hang his own ornaments, but since Billy was gone, we all took turns hanging some of his ornaments. It was fun—remembering stories from years ago. I hung an ornament of me as a little girl…
It’s amazing how our ornaments bring back so many memories.
As we spent time decorating the tree, I picked up an ornament that stopped me in my tracks.
I looked at the picture of Billy, and tears welled up in my eyes. I missed him terribly, and I knew I had to call him. So I did. That phone conversation with Billy was really special, and it’s one I’ll always remember.
An Invitation for You
This year, we’d like to invite you all to be part of our Christmas ornament tradition. Our Uncle Paul and Aunt Linda have supplied the tree. (We set it up tonight!) Now, we need help decorating it. It already has lights, but it needs ornaments.
Tonight, we put the first ornaments on the tree…
We wanted to invite all of you to send in ornaments to help us fill it up. If you’d like, please find or create an ornament that:
- Commemorates a memory you have with Billy
- Reminds you of Billy
- Represents Billy in some way
If you can hand-deliver your ornament, feel free to stop by! Or you may send your ornament to:
Will (or Billy) McCotter
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Mologne House Hotel Room 533
6900 Georgia Ave. NW
Washington DC 20307
Thanks for helping us with this!
So…How is Billy?
He’s doing well. The TPN (IV nutrition) adjustments are throwing his routine off a bit, but he’s adjusting. He went for a long walk today, and he sat up in his bed for an hour and a half—which is longer than I’ve seen him up for quite a while. J
Many people have asked if he got to taste Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, his small bowel is still blocked, and his stomach isn’t working. The doctors know the small bowel is blocked, but they’re not sure exactly what is causing the blockage. Please continue to pray for the organs in Billy’s abdomen. He would love to be able to eat again.
Thank you for all of your prayers, visits, messages, encouragement, and hugs. And thank you to the friends who made Thanksgiving special.