The year there was no Christmas

Don Barton, Pete Hobday, Johnny Czech, John Swainson, Don Simpson.

Fifty years ago today, my brother Johnny was killed in a horrific car accident in Toronto, Canada. I was living in Costa Rica with my dad at the time and literally deathly sick with hepatitis (which I didn’t know I had).

The phone rang in the early morning hours of December 1st and I awoke from a deep sleep to the shock of my mom calling to tell us of the tragic news. (My mother and Johnny were living in Toronto.)

My dad arranged for an immediate flight.

The first thing after landing in Canada and arriving at my mom’s place was that she was alarmed to see me in such a sick condition: she took me to emergency right away, where I was admitted and put in isolation. I remember my mom being angry that my dad had not taken me to a doctor in Costa Rica seeing how sick I was. I had never been this sick in my sixteen years of life!

My parents made the arrangements for Johnny’s funeral and my doctor gave permission for me to go to the funeral and then return to the hospital straight after.

There was no Christmas for us in 1968.

If it hadn’t been for me returning to Canada, so that my mother could take me to the hospital, I would have died, it was that serious according to the doctor.

Through Johnny’s death, he saved my life.

For this 50th year, I received a recording of my brother’s band from one of the band members. Johnny was the drummer and this was an unexpected, awesome surprise! Thank you with all my heart dear Peter!

Christmas 1965

The last Christmas our family was together: mom, Johnny and me (my dad took the photo)

Christmas is a joyful time we celebrate love, peace and hope—as the angel announced two thousand years ago, “… I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord … And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ ” ~from Luke chapter 2.

But for many it is a time of loss and pain.

May God comfort those who mourn and suffer.

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About carmen

Let’s make the world a better place with compassion. https://fashionableover50.wordpress.com/ https://www.instagram.com/4thejoyofit/?hl=pl
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31 Responses to The year there was no Christmas

  1. utesmile says:

    it is always hard to remember loved one, specially when they are taken from us so early. It will always be a sad time and it is good that God can comfort you. Johnny saved in one way your live, sure your parents were thankful for. Keep your special memories and his music close to your heart! Many Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Carmen
    I’m so sorry for that dark time in your life…and even worse that it was just before Christmas…which is a clear marker to remind you every year of your life. I hope your Christmas is filled with love, holding your loved ones close.
    XO, Angie
    http://www.yourtrueselfblog.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • carmen says:

      Thank you with all my heart dear Angie! It really is comforting when people care! 🙂 Wishing you love and joy during this special Christmas season!

      ❤️carmen

      Like

  3. A touching and heartbreaking post. So sorry for your loss.
    You are a special person to worry and think of others.
    I feel blessed just knowing you Carmen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carmen says:

      Your compassion and gentle words are such a blessing to me! I appreciate your friendship! My blog is part of my life story, losing Johnny when he was only 18 has left a permeant void in my heart. The more you love someone, the more you miss them. Every year I miss him more.

      ❤️carmen

      Like

  4. josep-maria says:

    My dear Carmen, what else can I tell you that I have not already said about this topic? Your pain and your feeling have always moved me and you know perfectly well that I am by your side … A hug.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carmen says:

      My dear Josep-Maria, I have always appreciated your kindness and sensitivity. This is the first time I have written about some of the details and that I would not be alive today if it wasn’t for Johnny. Hugs.

      ❤️carmen

      Like

  5. Hi Carmen, the Christmas season has to have so many different emotions for you. To lose your brother at such a young age must have been heartbreaking for a teenage Girl. And that you did not get to see him for a time before his death living in Costa Rica. It truly seems that his untimely passing was leading to the saving of your Life. We dont understand all of God’s ways but he had a plan for your life and the beautiful family you created. May God comfort you in the days ahead, with Love, Terri xo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carmen says:

      Your kind words mean a lot to me dear Terri! Thank you for understanding my sadness. My mother’s heartache was more than any mother should have to bear, and she knew that she would have lost both her children if Johnny’s accident had happened a week later. My mom said that I was a great comfort to her, even though no one could ever replace Johnny.

      I moved back to Canada a few months later to live with my mom. I got married at 18 and had three children (her only grandchildren) and she was the best grandmother, I never had to have a babysitter because she was always there for them.

      ❤️carmen

      Like

  6. wilsonagaba says:

    Sure it’s painful to remember!!! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bob says:

    Thanks be to God that Johnny’s death was the instrument to save your life. God works in mysterious ways. It would have been unbearable for your Mother to bury you both.

    You have countless friends who are blessed by your life and Ministry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carmen says:

      Thanks so much dear Bob, I’m thankful that my mom didn’t lose both of us, I don’t think she could have survived, she was in a state of depression for a long time and her joy of living came back when her first grandchild was born and she began crocheting little sweaters and cute little hats. I still have them.

      ❤️carmen

      Like

  8. THEN JOHNNY TRULY WAS A GIFT OF GOD…ONE OF THE MEANINGS OF THIS NAME!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal story! Some Christmases we are visited by sorrow and grief…they are difficult! Yes, Johnny’s death did save your life, a true Romans 8:28 example. So sorry for your loss!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. purpleslob says:

    Love that Johnny saved your life, even in death!! Your love for him radiates thru out this post. How wonderful that you received a recording of his band!!
    Scriptures can always be relied on for truth and comfort! May Jesus make your heart glad with memories!
    ❤ Melinda

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jodie says:

    It is a hard time when our loved ones aren’t with us anymore. It’s never a good thing, but I try to use it to remember them with love and those special memories. I always love hearing about your earlier life. I’m sorry there was such tragedy!
    XOOX
    Jodie

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have two brothers who have passed on as well missing them lasts forever. May God comfort you to.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Maggie says:

    My dear Carmen, it must be painful to remember the sadness of your brother’s death! But the sweet memories of him will be always with you ! God bless !

    Liked by 1 person

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