« In Our Last Years | Main | Our Fifth »

March 03, 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


The Memorial Service was so profoundly sad, mostly because Anne seemed to be the only person in a packed congregation (nearly 600 people attended) to acknowledge that Christopher was an addict.

Anne walked to the front of the church, stood at the podium and said: "Hi. I'm Anne. I'm the mother. I'm the mother of an addict."


When I read Christopher's obituary, I noticed that she listed the cause of death as addiction. Then she also noted his wonderful qualities. I thought then, "What honesty." I hope at least some folks out of that 600 are able to reflect that back to her. It sounds like she needs to be able to talk about her son, about all of her son. It's uncomfortable to face raw honesty, but Anne deserves that.


Oh, I'm sorry. He was young and died before he could face his demons. Reflecting on yesterday's poem, I wonder, was Christopher able to look into the eyes of the animal which tore him apart? Maybe that is not for the young, but a privilege reserved for those who live through the death of their beloveds ... like Christopher's mother. I wish her silence ... and peace.


I'm so sorry your friend lost her 21 y/o to addiction Flann. I'm so sorry for your sadness.

Catching up on your blog this morning. The creativity you share through art, words, visuals, sound, the sharing of recipes that include political ingredients, etc., --
your offerings change me. I am honored by them. Thank you.

I honor the life of Christopher.
I honor the death of Christopher. I am so sorry for the loss his departure brings. I know it will also bring growth in its wake. New life.


I want to know Anne. She has such courage.


Anne does have tremendous courage and I am speechless with sorry for her.


I meant "Sorrow"


Thank you, barista. I am, too.

Anne's loss seems to have knocked my life off kilter. I am spending a lot of time in bed.

Mike had been fighting a terrible cold two weeks ago when we were in the studio and did his best to wash his hands every time he sneezed, but over night on Friday, his cold/flu finally caught up with me. I was running a temperature driving to Christopher's memorial service, but I knew I needed to go, especially after the way I found out Christopher had died.

On Thursday morning, I discovered that I had missed three phone calls overnight. I never answer my phone after 9 pm and all the calls had come after 10 pm and from the same number. The caller had left no message after the first call. Following is the message the caller left after the second call:

"My son is dead. Call me, bitch."

The voice was angry. I did not recognize it. I assumed it was a wrong number. I then listened to the third message:

"Huck, you're a haiku. Call me or I'll never speak to you, again." [My new voice mail message makes reference to the fact that I can't answer the phone because I'm writing a haiku.]

I looked up the phone number in my address book and saw that it was my friend, Anne. I then googled her son's name and discovered his obituary from the Washington Post. It was unnerving on many levels. I felt threatened by Anne, but much, much worse, her son -- who so many of us had prayed for for so many years -- was dead. Matissta thought I needed to call Anne. Charlissta urged caution. barista -- who knows Anne -- also urged caution, but told me to call her, anyway.

I called her that afternoon. She apologized several times and told me that she had drunk an entire bottle of wine and decided to leave me the kind of phone messages her son always left her. She asked me to come to the Memorial Service, "because you've always been the person in my life to tell me where to go and what to do." She said that she had no idea what she was going to say at the memorial service. Her ex-husband is a very conservative Christian and the service was held at his church. I told her to be honest, though I knew she never had problems with that. Her honesty at that service provided its only redemptive moments.

Anne and I hadn't been in touch for several years. I feel bad about that now. The last time she saw her son alive was at a family therapy meeting. At the Memorial Service, I realized that she had been struggling by his side for six long years, and I had quietly backed out of her life.

"Christopher had the most beautiful hands," she said in her Memorial Service remarks. "Even though he was hooked up to all those machines on Friday and Saturday in the hospital, he had the most beautiful hands."

I can't shake the image.


Anne created two displays about Christopher that were set up in the Fellowship Hall. One was photo after photo from her son's life. The other display was about sobriety, and included all of Chris's sobriety books and journals, etc. I noticed that many of Chris's AA friends were gathered around this display. In the center of this display was this letter from Christopher to his mother while he was in a rehab camp in Utah. It's hard to read, but he wrote it on Mother's Day, 2008:



On his Facebook page, Christopher identifies his favorite quote as:

"F*ck the police"


Oh, Flann, I'm so sorry that you are feeling ill and about the startling tragedy of Christopher's death. I tried to read his Mother's Day letter, but the image is not clear enough on my computer screen (or my eyes are just to old and dim to discern it.)

Please, rest well and take good care of yourself.


At his memorial service, his sponsor and best friend said that because Christopher was gone, "my lungs are now able only to half inflate."


I tried to read that letter, too, PEACEsista. My eyes aren't so good, either, but thank you for trying.


His father called Christopher a "truly unforgettable character with natural charisma and a radiant smile".

"Every occasion became a party".

"He had no fear, no timidity, no inhibitions."

"Consummate actor"

"His goofiness covered a secret"


More words from Christopher's mother:

"He spent the last six years of his life trying to outrun his demons; his whole body was at war with him"

"When a child is suffering, a mother is suffering, too."

"How do you move forward? Forgive yourself. Help others."


Words from his soulmate, his 26-year-old sister, Ginny:

"It was a profound honor to be his sister. We used to feel bad for everyone else because they weren't us."

"He was so deep."

"We don't have to worry about him anymore, and he doesn't have to suffer anymore."

"Always be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."


"Anne and I hadn't been in touch for several years. I feel bad about that now."

People flow in and out of our lives for so many reasons. Sometimes, it's just the circumstances in our lives. Sometimes, we need to create a healthy distance to keep from becoming enmeshed in another's unhealthy choices or relationships. I don't know about your relationship with Anne, except that there was something that she needed in these moments of crisis. Despite the need for caution, you stepped up to the plate for her. That's really all that matters.


I needed to read your words, treesta, as I have been feeling heavy about not being in touch with Anne for several years, and I know it was because her life just seemed too messy or overwhelming or something. I don't think any of my friends had ever really stopped being in contact with me when my life has gotten messy, but then again, maybe some did.

We all would rather read happy posts or comments, right?

I also think that not being there for Anne these last few years has dovetailed into how I was unable to be there for Matissta when Momista died In January. Although Matissta keeps telling me that she understands and how Momista's death and memorial service happened so quickly and I was in the middle of two huge video projects, etc., etc., I just feel badly about it.

Those video projects are over now, and TRM's company hasn't called and I have nothing really to do except to fight this cold/flu and feel badly about the bad choices I made over the last six weeks; or the bad choices I've made the past six years.

Perhaps it's my Swedish angst, inherited from my father, but I'm heavy with regrets right now. I can't remember the last time I felt really light and free, without the worry of bracing myself for the next loss or disappointment.

We all come to this point in our lives -- when there are more losses than gains. I get it that losses can bring greater gifts and wisdom. I get it. But I'm not as physically strong as I once was. The hits keep coming. I get up. They come. I get up. They come. I get up.

I get up. I get up. I get up.


The word in the Code Thingy for my last comment was "collapses".


If a friend or a beloved called and apologized for not being able to 'be there' and you knew the apology to be sincere, would you forgive them, Flann?

Then forgive yourself. Matiss does know how hard you tried to get up there. She's such a 'straight shooter' - if she says she understands, then she does. Anne called you because she knew you'd be 'present'. We can only do the best we can do. We all have regrets. Goodness, truly we do.

Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself.


Thanks, treesta.

I think life is easier all around when one is not battling a nasty cold/flu. I probably should go back to where I spent most of yesterday: my bed.


Life can be a battle even when not battling a nasty cold/flu. Be gentle with yourself. Do what makes you feel better. And do feel better.


Just fed the birds and mixed a new batch of bird seed in preparation for the "Snowquester" that is scheduled to hit here Tuesday night and most of Wednesday.

That made me feel better.


I just noticed that in EVERY spot where I spend ANY time sitting in my home (including the bathroom), I have stuck a card and/or postcard I've received from PEACEsista. This morning, I counted 13 of them -- and that's just since the beginning of the year. I feel like they are bread crumbs on a path.


WOW! I was just thinking yesterday that I haven't been doing any writing ... but clearly I have. The evidence of it is living in other people's houses.

Hope that path of bread crumbs leads your heart home to a settled, peaceful place ... or even better yet ... to MY house!

The comments to this entry are closed.