Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dear Chrissy

My wife, Chrissy, was born on May 24th, 1968. We met in December of 1983, dated, married, and had two children. In 2007, Chrissy was diagnosed with Stage IIB Breast Cancer. She fought very hard to beat the disease, but eventually the cancer won and she died on December 11th, 2009. Her children were 9 and 7 years old when she died. Two and a half years later, her children are left with very vague memories of their mother. When my daughter came to me crying saying, “I can’t remember Mommy’s voice,” I felt compelled to do something about it. We watched movies and looked at pictures but it was obvious that something was missing. Pictures, still or moving…cannot capture what it was that made her who she was. This project was intended to fill that void.I instructed family and friends to address a letter to her, under the premise of telling her what they remembered or loved about her. This book is the result.

As I compiled and read the letters, it is obvious what her legacy is and what made her special. There is a reoccurring theme throughout these letters. There was something about her that she was able to connect with people in a way that meant something. While her children are her most important legacy, these letters do tell a story… a story of a life lived in a very honest way. While Chrissy had faults, her true gift was simply being real. Not many people can say they lived that honest of a life. Typically, we get wrapped up in our jobs, the house, the car, and the family politics. There was no agenda with her, no ulterior motives. Chrissy had a gift for realizing that it was the people who mattered. The tragedy of this is that when she knew the end was here, she started to withdraw from life. This is a common protective mechanism the dying employ to try and deal with the end of their lives. Her life lesson is very simple; it’s not the meaning of life that is important; it’s how you affect the people around you.

Obviously, Chrissy had an enormous impact on my life. She will always be my wife, and I her husband.

All that I am,
all that I ever was,
is here in your perfect eyes.
They're all I can see.

I believe that verse from a favorite song of ours captures (as best as language can), what she means to me. Those 4 lines say everything that I can’t. She is who I am. I am here because of her. It’s that simple. While all of her friends and family put these thoughts on paper, it must be noted that Chrissy is the true author of this book. She wrote these stories inside each and every one of us. We were simply the medium she chose for her narrative. I would like to thank each and every one of you for contributing to this work. It is something that her children will be able to cherish when they reach adulthood and can then understand the significance of their mother’s life.

Thank You,

Read the results of this project here: Dear Chrissy