RICHMOND (CityNews) — When Erica Macklin’s husband Paul passed away suddenly in 2013, it was just a month before Christmas, and he had already picked out a small, blue guitar to give his two-year-old son Charlie.
Paul’s plan was to teach his son how to play. Knowing that would never happen, Erica couldn’t bear to look at the instrument.
“It was just painful to look at it, knowing that this was something that my husband should have been doing with him, teaching him guitar. So I just put it away and then I ended up selling it,” Erica says.
That was more than six years ago. But this Christmas, the guitar made it’s way back to Charlie, who is now nine, with the help of some anonymous elves.
A package arrived on the family’s doorstep a few days before Christmas, addressed to Charlie from “Your Steveston Elf.”
Erica put it under the tree, to be opened in due time with the rest of the gifts.
On Christmas morning, Charlie tackled the wrapping paper while Erica read the note.
“I looked over at him and saw that he was opening up this little guitar, it just instantly brought back the memories of my husband wanting to give this guitar to Charlie. He was only two at the time, but it was something that he wanted to give him, and eventually, he would teach him how to play.”
As Erica read, she realized that whoever bought the guitar from her on Facebook years ago did so with a plan.
“Santa Claus will be bringing your presents but for now here’s an early one from your personal elves. We hope that you will have fun with it, experimenting and discovering the joy of music. Remember music doesn’t have to be perfect as it’s about creating and having fun,” the note reads.
“You’re off to an amazing start already, as your father was a talented musician who played from the heart to family and friends. Your mama will recognise the guitar. We bought it for a purpose and kept it through the years waiting for you to grow up. It was always yours.”
Charlie didn’t quite understand what was happening.
“I wasn’t really surprised because I totally forgot all about this guitar. I was really confused,” he says.
Erica, however, was floored.
“It was just so moving that this person held on to it so many years and had bought it with the sole intention of giving it back to Charlie at a time when he was ready and maybe I was ready to embrace it again,’ she says.
“I sold it out of a pain reaction that was a bit rash and hasty and if I had been thinking about it then I shouldn’t have gotten rid of it. This person had the forethought to, to know that at one point I might regret having given it away when it was a gift that was meant for Charlie. It just means so much. I’m just in awe of their spirit and their consideration and their thoughtfulness towards others. To keep something for so many years, and then give it back to him was just, just beautiful.”
It’s nothing short of a Christmas miracle. A mystery elf was able to get 9-year-old Charlie the present his late father meant to give to him nearly seven years ago. @KierJunos speaks with Charlie and his mum about the surprise gift. pic.twitter.com/TDXGhf4tjM
— CityNews Vancouver (@CityNewsVAN) December 28, 2020
Paul was shy, but he “came alive” when he played guitar and sang in a band with a group of local guys.
“His first love was his kids, and his family. Music was a close second,” Erica says.
“Music was always a part of his life, and part of our lives. It was his way of expressing himself, his way of finding comfort, and finding some sort of understanding of this crazy world that we live in. Everybody always used to say what a great musician, and incredible singer he was. He sang all the time to the kids. ”
In the days after Paul died following complications from a workplace accident, it was tough for the family to find joy in music.
“It’s something that was really hard after for all of us. Songs that were really special if they came on the radio they would just be too painful,” Erica explains.
Now, the music Paul has left behind is something his family is grateful for.
“It’s a way for us to still have that connection with him. We can put on the CDs of his band playing or videos of him playing in the band, which is nice because Charlie was so young, so now he can see the videos of his dad playing.”
Charlie is looking forward to learning how to play the guitar, and his mom says he’s already drawn to the piano, and is well on his way to taking after his father.
“Charlie definitely has a musical ear, he has that musical ear from his dad. It’ll be nice to see him learning a new instrument.”
Erica and Charlie want the elf who delivered the guitar to know how appreciative they are for the Christmas miracle.
“I don’t know how else to reach out to this person or this group of people, whoever it is, to say thank you, and to let them know how special they are, and how much they’ve just touched my heart. It made me want to do things for others like they’ve done for us.”