Last year, a friend of mine who is an organizer of the annual Gingerbread
House gala asked if I could get a group of CMM kids to build a gingerbread
house for their annual fundraiser. Agnes asked a few close friends who she
deemed to be both caring and creative: Madelyn Greenleaf, Chandler Williams
and Isabelle Watkins.
The theme was “Angels Among Us”. Agnes & I and the other girls discussed
Maggie Lee Henson as an angel among us and how we might honor her legacy
“ML4G” and her family’s work to convert their loss and grief into “doing
good” to enrich the lives of other children. And that is how we came up with
the gingerbread house that is a church adorned with angel wings, graced by
Maggie Lee’s angelic image watching over us from above. The cross symbolizes
the church, but also Maggie Lee’s faith and that of her family and friends,
who have drawn strength and hope from their faith in coping with their
unthinkable loss and accepting that Maggie Lee was needed more elsewhere.
The wings and feathers symbolize an angel and how even in tragedy, we can
take light and rise above what would otherwise destroy us (grief, sorrow,
loss). The church is decorated in a happy way because everyone who knew
Maggie Lee talked about her light, her laugh and her happy spirit. And so we
felt in spite of the sadness surrounding her premature death, the overall
feeling of the gingerbread house should reflect the spirit of a happy child,
as that is how she would want to be remembered and memorialized.
One of these girls, Madelyn Greenleaf, was a very close friend of Maggie
Lee’s and her family’s, while the others really came to know Maggie Lee and
what she symbolized after her death, through the work of her family and many
friends and members of the community who were so determined to make sure
Maggie Lee had not died in vain. All of them continue to wear their Maggie
Lee for Good t-shirts at school (CMM designated a MG4G Day), at Camp Ozark,
and around town to promote awareness and honor her memory and her legacy.