A Bittersweet Christmas

Nicole and I just returned from a last-minute trip to Knoxville, TN. We learned on Saturday that one of Nicole’s best friends was in a fatal car accident the day before. Alexis had been driving out with her two young sons (ages 4 and 2) to Nashville to sing at her brother’s wedding when she lost control of her vehicle. The boys didn’t get any serious injuries, but Alexis died instantly.

Alexis and her husband Tim were there with us when I first met Nicole. I proposed to Nicole when I came down to Knoxville for their wedding. They were our closest friends during the first two years of our marriage (spent in Knoxville). Nicole and Lex even experienced their first pregnancies together; their eldest son was born only weeks after Katie. Needless to say, we’re grieving now and will be for a while yet. It’s not a grief without hope, but it’s rough to lose a friend so young. My heart goes out to Tim, their two boys, Alexis’ parents and the rest of their family.

In the midst of this tragedy Tim and Lex’s church has really stepped up to help. Tim has so many things to deal with right now, and it’s enough to break a man… but God’s grace is stronger, and he’s showing his grace in part through the men and women coming alongside Tim right now.

Still, this is a difficult journey to be on. So if I could ask one thing of you, my friends… would you please pray that God would draw close to the Cantrells and Shraders this Christmas?

13 thoughts on “A Bittersweet Christmas

  1. I just wanted to stop by to say that i feel your pain in losing your best friend. Not sure how to say this but i was the one behind alexis and i got evan and mason out of the car. I have grieved everyday since this loss i am from knoxville and if you want to talk further you can. This is not a joke or anything i just need closure on this.

  2. I am so sorry to hear this, as I am to hear that my friend lost her father this past Sunday.
    It’s hard to really say anything comforting because that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Still I pray a peace beyond understanding will cover the family during this time.
    Beloved in Grace,

  3. Wow – this is just terrible. The tenuous string that we call life is too often broken before it’s time. I’ll be lifting up you guys, Tim and his two boys, and everyone else affected by this loss. And after that, I’m going to hug my wife.

  4. I’ve been playing fantasy footaball with Lee for 7 years now and while I didn’t know Tim or Alexis personally, my heart broke when I heard the news.

    My heart and prayers go out to your entire family. May you all find strength in the love and prayers that surround you.


  5. Thanks for the kind words, Travis and all. It really meant so much to me that you guys trekked all the way down to be at the service.

    The boys and I are fine right now. We made it through Alexis’ brother’s wedding ok, the highlight of which was when Father Bruce said “Let us pray (for the 40th or so time – it was a catholic wedding) and my son Mason, the ring bearer, let out the loudest snore ever having falen asleep 30 hour before. Alexis’ dad was about to bust trying not to laugh. It really kind of showed God’s grace in the ability to make us laugh even though we were all greiving for Alexis even while celebrating her brother getting married.
    I am still waiting for 15 consecutive minutes to stop holding everything inside. Please pray for the tough times ahead, as I am now realizing just how much Alexis did in managing our children and the household.


  6. Tim, it was our pleasure to come down and we’d do it again in a heartbeat.

    Everyone else, I’ll echo Tim’s thanks for your kind words and sympathy. :) And Tracy, I just wanted to say publicly (e-mail’s not enough) just how thankful we are for your service to the boys. You’re a hero. :)


    A hero is not something i set out to do on December 21st. But it was something that fell in my path the only thing i could see was that someone lost a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and angel. I did what i had to do and would do it again. Mason and Evan touched not only my heart but my soul, those boys are truley god’s gift they are angels in my eyes. I had to drive another 600 miles to get to my kids and because of their memory there beautiful presence their thought it got me through the roughest 600 miles i had to encounter. Please know i will forever think of those boys as angels and i there angel in someway or another. Please have a safe new year and new beginning with your precious babies..

  8. I am so sorry to hear about Alexis. We were friends in highschool. She was always so funny and could put a smile on anyone’s face. We crossed path’s a few times in college and it was great to see she was the same Alexis. I will keep all of you in my prayers. It will be a long road ahead but always remember you now have an angel looking over you.

  9. I am truly sorry to hear about Alexis. She was a wonderful girl and will be dearly missed. I will be praying for everyone affected by this tragic loss.

Share Your Thought