Empty feeling remains

Published 8:53 am Thursday, December 9, 2010

By Jeff Zeigler

Community Relations Coordinator

The Children’s Center

“It was a good day.  It was a really good day.”  March 20, 2010 was the last day Xander Trace Evans was 3 years old.  It was the day before his 4th birthday.  It was the last day his family would spend with him on this earth.  It was the first day he would see his grandmother in heaven.

Xander Evans tragically lost his life on March 20, 2010.

Christie and Steve Evans of Gates have five children.  Kayleigh, 19, attends ECU; Jenna, 17, works at Doris and Roger’s Kitchen; Tristan, 13, is a master mechanic; McKenna, 9, an artist extraordinaire. Xander, a beautiful blend of his siblings, was playing hide and seek with his brothers and sisters that warm, sunny March day.  Xander’s favorite foods — pizza and a Truck birthday cake — awaited the family in celebration of his 4th birthday.

With more questions than answers, and within moments,  Xander somehow slipped away from the family and drowned in a pond — despite his ability to swim; despite six adoring family members  waiting to love him through his fourth birthday; despite the x-treme bike that anticipated a blond haired, crystal blue-eyed 4-year-old boy riding  happily in the yard.

Christie’s description of their family is, “like the shine has been rubbed off.”  Struggling to comprehend their emptiness, Steve and Christie will remember Xander On Sunday, Dec. 12 at the annual candle lighting memorial service sponsored by the Bereaved Parents Group of the Children’s Center.

Understanding the difficulty of missing a child when all seem to be celebrating the holidays, the group hosts the service in conjunction with a worldwide candle lighting ceremony.  Held at the Paul D. Camp Community College Workforce Development Center, 100 N. College Drive, Franklin, VA at 2 p.m., the event is a celebration of children who blessed this world.  It is a tribute of tears and laughter.  It is an opportunity to say the name of a child, who must not be forgotten.

“It’s like going to see your family, wanting to meet people, wanting to learn something, wanting to honor Xander.  He did what he came to do on this earth,” says Steve.  Xander’s favorite saying, “I love you mostest, muchest,” will warm many hearts this weekend as a candle glows.

The community is invited to participate in the event where they can remember a child, infant, or adult child who has died.

For more information on the service or the monthly support group, contact Rosalind Cutchins at the Children’s Center at 757-562-6806 or Tricia Phelps at 757-562-7078.

(This story was submitted by Jeff Zeigler, Community Relations Coordinator, The Children’s Center, Franklin, Va.)