Burlington residents give Christmas gifts to family who lost their son


Two months after Marsha Haynes lost her son Tobias King Junior Lee Haynes, the people of Burlington have shown her their love.

Haynes was greeted with boxes of gifts for her and her three children three days before Christmas, given to the family by members of the community after an organized effort by the Reverend Rob Brown.

“I never had anybody do that with me, nobody,” Haynes said. “(Brown) first told me when I moved here if you need anything, I got you. And he got me.

Haynes and Brown both live in Midtown Gardens. On the morning of October 21, when Haynes’ son died, Brown was sitting on his porch. Later, when Brown learned that Haynes had been unable to pay his rent, someone asked him if he knew of any programs that could help him.

So he worked with churches in the Burlington Christian community to get the rent paid. Brown said that looking at the Bible, it is clear that Christians should take care of each other in times of great difficulty.

But it’s Christmas time, and with Haynes having young children, Brown knew it was important that they get presents. Even though Brown said toys and games aren’t what Christmas is, showing God’s love to one another is, so he decided to show that love by collecting presents.

All of the Haynes children received gifts, both toys and new clothes. Gina Crabbetree of the YMCA and Lavonne Beamon of Faith Temple Church suggested household supplies would also be helpful and allow Haynes to focus on her children.

“We love you. None of the things we gave could even measure the loss,” Brown told Haynes as he handed her the gifts.

living after the loss

Haynes said the loss of Tobias taught him to cherish every moment with his children even more.

“It’s been so difficult since Tobias died,” Haynes said. “I miss him so much.”

Haynes described Tobias as a sweet kid who wanted to watch everything. Born in August, this year should have been his first Christmas. Tobias died suddenly in the middle of the night.

When Haynes woke up, she found Tobias unresponsive and started CPR. For weeks after Tobias’ death, she was unable to sleep in the bedroom she had shared with him, instead taking refuge on the couch or in the bedroom with her other children. Tobias’ baby swing sat in the living room.

Things never go back to normal, but Tobias’ baby swing was removed from the living room and Haynes went back to sleeping in his bedroom.

“It’s just weird without him here,” she said. ” He is always there. His spirit is still here.

She said it can be difficult raising young children following the death of their youngest brother. His daughter Julianna saw Haynes perform CPR. Although she is less than 3 years old, Julianna knows that her brother is gone. When the family heard a noise coming from upstairs, another girl, Bathsheba, responded.

“She said, ‘Oh, it’s Tobias. He just needs to have his wings. He can’t fly yet, so he bumps into everything,” Haynes recalls.

When the noise stopped, Bathsheba said Tobias had taken off.


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