That Day

There are so many parts of this post that may be triggers for readers, Please use caution if you decide to read this post. In case you don’t get to the end…it’s long…I have found much peace over this last year, or rather, peace has found me. And at the same time, I am on a lifelong journey.
También, para mis amigos/as que solo leen en español, les pido disculpas. A veces es demasiado difícil traducir todo al español. Les pido que usen algo como “google translate” para la traducción para esta entrada. Al final hay una grabacion donde leo un poema que escribio mi hijo. Un abrazo, Melissa


That day began like so many others. I don’t remember what I had in the morning. A meeting, maybe. And then I went to pick up my friend Doris who was visiting from Barcelona and we were going to Crave to meet my step-mom, Faye. When I picked up Doris we were just across the river from Chris’s place so I sent him a text to see if he wanted to join us.

He texted back: “I just ate and I …”(something like he had to do something)

And I texted back: “No worries. Next time.”

We went to lunch and later that day we had Spanish and ESL classes. I don’t remember the class so much but I talked for awhile afterward to my friend Sherri.

I had gone back to the gym in March and in April I was so close to my 12 times for my membership discount so I decided to swing by the gym and do a short workout. I never workout that late, but that day I did. It wouldn’t have made a difference, but I remember that.

I used the treadmill for maybe 30 minutes and then I headed home. I had taken my jewelry off and left it in the little tray in my car. A blue handmade necklace from Kanuga, NC, where I had gone to a great conference in September, and handmade blue earrings from a store in Minneapolis. I remember because I forgot to bring them in that night and they stayed in that same place for months.

I walked in the door at about 10:15 and Austin came to the top of the stairs and said, “By the way, the police were here and they said Chris might have gone into the Mississippi River.”

I screamed at him, and I mean screamed, “What? Why didn’t you call me? Get your clothes on. (He was ready for bed).” He said, “The police asked me for your number so I thought they called you.” They never did call me.

He got ready in about a minute and we took off in my car toward Chris’s house.

I called 911 on the way to try to figure out what was happening. We arrived at Chris’s house in NE, not far from the river. I hoped everything would be quiet.

There was a police SUV there and a few of Chris’s friends were standing outside. It was chilly that night. I was still in my gym clothes.

I asked the police what was going on. They would tell me nothing. I asked if someone was searching for Chris. I asked where they were searching. I asked where, where, where. I wouldn’t bother them. I just wanted to be wherever they thought Chris would be.

They would not tell me anything.

I called people.We called Bridgit and I started calling my family, though I didn’t want to worry anyone. It was late. My niece Hannah answered the phone. I wanted to see if her mom would wake up if she called. I didn’t want to tell Hannah. She was so close to graduating from Gustavus. But I told all of them.

I called Luis and Brian and Doris and Josue. No one answered. They were all sleeping. I called Deb and she answered and I probably yelled into the telephone what was going on. Then Josue heard my message and he and Bridgit came down. Austin called his friend Adam who came and got him and stayed with him.

The police still wouldn’t say anything.

Drew showed me where it happened, down by the electric plant and St. Anthony. They were supposed to get together that night, with Jack, too. And there was no one there. And we drove up and down the river looking for anything.

And I called the Park Police. I was told it was their jurisdiction. They were closed. No one answered. I waited awhile and finally I went home. I waited some more. Mickayla said the Sheriff had told her the search was called off until morning. So I called the Sheriff’s Department and they said to call Precinct 2. Precinct 2 said to call the Sheriff. And back and forth.

And then it was maybe 4:00 in the morning and I called Precinct 2 again. And the person who answered said, “Wait a minute I’ll transfer you.” And he got back on the phone and with a cheery voice. I thought it was someone else. And he said, “Hello!”

And I was flabbergasted and I said, “Do you know who I am and why I’m calling?” I couldn’t believe the person would transfer me without telling the person who I was. And he said, “No.”

And I said, “What is your name?”

And he said, “You know my name. You just talked to me?”

And I probably spoke quite loudly and firmly, and I said, “I need information about my son. I need to know if there is a plan.”

And he said, “If you’re going to yell at me, I’m going to hang up.”

And a friend was still with me and took the phone and he asked what was the plan, and I don’t know what the sergeant said and my friend said, “You don’t know who you’re talking to.” (That still makes me chuckle a little bit. I still don’t know exactly what he meant by that but I do know I have some amazing friends who got on their phones first thing and made some things happen).

That police officer hung up on us.

I called the Sheriff’s office again. The person who answered once again told me Precinct 2 was in charge. I told her they hung up on me. She put me on with her supervisor and he said he’d get some answers for me. First time being treated like a human being that night. I messaged a couple of friends in law enforcement. They got back to me as soon as they woke up. I got bits and pieces of what was a confusing story from the person with Chris.

Finally, about 6:30 a.m., someone from dispatch called me and explained they had been trying to ping Chris’s phone and there was nothing. It didn’t occur to me to call Chris that night. I guess instinct or something told me something different. I didn’t call his phone until the next night, and the ring sounded like a sonar. I threw down the phone and never dialed his number again, though I still have it on my phone.

In the morning, I walked down by the river over by the Guthrie. I had no idea where Chris may have gone in until later. I yelled for him.

And I waited. And I started getting phone calls from media. And I agreed to speak with them because I needed people to hear that my son was a human being who mattered. The Star-Tribune wrote what the police report said (I still have to request that)…something about a wave coming and washing these two young men into the water. One came out. The other had not yet been found. It said they climbed an 8 foot fence. Neither of these things was true.

At about 10 a.m., the water patrol supervisor, a wonderful person, called and asked me to ask people to stop calling him so he could make a plan to search for Chris. He called me in the morning and in the evening every day until they found him.

That was day 1 into day 2.
And then there was day 3 and day 4 and day 5 and day 6 and day 7 and day 8 and day 9 and day 10.

April 25th is the one year Sadivesary, Part 1. Once again, I’m writing this on the eve. The eve, I’ve found, is so hard. The changeover at midnight to the day.

I asked people on Day 2 or 3 to wear a plaid shirt for Chris, and so many people did. On the one year Sadiversary, I will wear Chris’s shirt. I have an appointment with my therapist. I’ll go down to the Mississippi in the afternoon if anyone would like to join me. Text or call or message, whatever.


I don’t know exactly what he did that day except I know he ate well, because he always did. He probably biked. I would guess he did some schoolwork or stuff with MPIRG. I know they were working through some issues. He decided to go to New Bohemia for Happy Hour. They serve $1 16 ounce beers. He drank a few.

The police have a video from his time there from the bar. He had a really good time with his friends.

He and his roommate walked down to the river where they often went, where so many of those kids used to go. They walked down the path to the observation area and climbed over a railing, across a concrete ledge and jumped down to another concrete ledge right by St. Anthony Falls. This much the police could see on video. After that they can’t see. The only one who knows what happened next is the person who was with Chris.

I have alluded to this before, but I do not believe the accounting of the person who was with Chris. There are inconsistencies in what he told the police and what he told friends. There are parts of the accounting that make no sense. As I told some of Chris’s friends, I didn’t not come to this belief quickly or capriciously or easily.

I was watching some crime show last year in June, maybe, and they talked about Occam’s Razor. Here is a pretty good definition from a web site: The most useful statement of the principle for scientists is “when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.”

I want to be clear. I don’t think he did anything maliciously. I also don’t believe that he went into the river. I told the police, as a mom, I would have preferred Chris didn’t go down to sit at the edge of the river by St. Anthony Falls. I would definitely have preferred he didn’t go there after drinking.

At the same time, two young men don’t randomly fall into a river, even if they had been drinking. The police told me people have survived going over the Falls on rare occasions, but they have major injuries. They spent a lot of time trying to explain how the inexplicable could have happened. See again Occam’s Razor.

I had visions of Chris sort of flying into the river and he was shocked and confused and sort of like, “What the hell?” And I felt a negative flow of energy when the person he was with touched my arm as he was telling me the next morning how he supposedly went into the river and that he didn’t know what happened to Chris. I felt a strong current of negative energy and it was like my arm repelled. I will never forget that feeling.

I went back and looked at the area and I’m about 98% certain of how things happened, more or less. If you ever want to go take a look, I’m happy to show you.

I’ve talked with my therapist about this. I feel that Chris was a victim and that the responsibility for his death is being placed on him and this is not where the main responsibility lies.

Why is this important? Why have I shared this now? I’ve been contemplating this for many months. I know many of Chris’s friends don’t agree with me about this and this has caused rifts between us and I’m really sorry about that. But my main loyalty is to Chris’s memory and what I believe to be true. And I have tried to use my voice responsibly. Maybe I succeed to some extent with this. I don’t know, but I know I need to say it as I remember Chris. I don’t write this out of anger. I write it out of love for my beloved child.

Chris’s death, any death of a young person, doesn’t make sense to us, and it especially doesn’t make sense to young people. So if there is this result that is hard to understand, and then the story doesn’t make sense, it creates a larger gulf for people to cross on their journey toward healing. Unfortunately, the person who was with Chris is the one who has to live with the darkness that hiding brings. I hope and pray he will someday be able to come to bring to light the events of that night. First to God, then to himself, then to Austin and me, and then to his friends.

Anyway, Austin and I have talked about this, and we both see Chris giving in to the river. We see him panicked at first. But his back was broken quickly. My friends who are nurses tell me he probably felt some kind of euphoria and wouldn’t have felt the pain for long at all. There wasn’t much water in his lungs because his back was broken in a place that would have stopped all functioning of his body.

Austin and I both think he succumbed to the water and let it carry him away. And this gives us both a lot of peace.

Chris wrote this poem, #28, after his dad’s stroke. His connection to the river was such that I don’t fully comprehend it, and his acceptance of the inevitability of death helps sustain me during this time.


I believe that God is just and merciful. As I wrote a long time ago, I felt Jesus wrap me in his arms that second morning, day three, and tell me, “Don’t worry. I’m taking care of Chris. He’s okay. And I’m taking care of you, too.” I believe that Chris is in the loving arms of the resurrected Christ and that someday we will be reunited.

And today I mourn and trust in God’s promises of love and forgiveness and continued presence in our lives.


P.S. Here is a video my friend Evelia took of me translating this poem into Spanish during the time we were waiting. Aquí leo el poema de arriba con una traducción al español grabado por mi amiga Evelia durante el tiempo que esperabamos.


The Last/La última

A short post on this eve of the last time I was with Chris.

Una entrada corta de la última vez que estuve con Chris.

It was a Thursday last year, but this date. I was supposed to go to lunch with Chris, Austin, and their beloved piano and guitar teacher Joy who was visiting from Las Vegas. But I had triple booked myself that day.

Fue un jueves el año, pero esta fecha. Iba a ir con Chris , Austin y Joy, su querida maestra de piano y guitarra quien estaba visitando desde Las Vegas. Pero me había citado en tres lugares diferentes ese día.

I picked up Chris at his place, he drove me to Luther where he dropped me off. He was in a good mood. I was a little out of sorts with so much to do, but we had a nice, normal conversation, and he dropped me off. We always said, “I love you” and I would give him a hug and a little kiss, so though I don’t remember doing so, I would guess I did. Because we loved each other a lot. I’m so thankful we had this custom.

Pasé por Chris en su apartamento y me llevó al Seminario donde me dejó. Estaba de buen humor él. Yo estaba un poco fuera de onda porque tenía tanto que hacer, pero tuvimos una buena conversación y me dejó. Siempre nos decíamos <<Te quiero>> y le abrazaría y le daría un besito así que me imagino que así pasó aunque no lo recuerdo. Porque nos queríamos mucho. Estoy agradecida que teníamos esta costumbre.

He went to pick up Austin and they went to lunch at People’s Organic Coffee Shop in Uptown. Joy reminds me that I told the boys they had to pay and to not let Joy pay.

Él fue a buscarle a su hermano y fueron a comer al People’s Organic Coffee Shop en Uptown. Joy me ha dicho que les había dicho yo a los chicos que ellos tenían que pagar y que no dejaran que ella pagara.

They all had a nice lunch and Chris liked the place and thought he might go back…

Tuvieron una buena comida y a mi hijo le gustó el lugar en pensaba volver…

I can’t remember what happened next. I think Chris parked the car near his house but had class or somewhere to go so I went to pick up the keys from his mailbox and got my car…and left…

No recuerdo qué pasó después pero creo que Chris estacionó el coche cerca de su casa pero que tenía que ir a clase o hacer algo así que pasé por su casa a recoger las llaves del coche de su buzón y recogí mi coche…y salí…

And that was the last time I saw him and maybe the last time we talked.

Y esa fue la última vez que lo vi y tal vez la última vez que hablamos.

I don’t have the last poems Chris wrote because the police took them for their so-called investigation and they never gave them back. 😦

No tengo los últimos poemas que escribió Chris porque los tomaron los policías en su supuesta investigacióny nunca me los devolvieron. 😦

I suppose it goes without saying. I weep and my heart is breaking.

Supongo que no es necesario decirlo. Lloro y se me parte el corazón.
for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17
Porque el Cordero que está en el trono los pastoreará
y los guiará a fuentes de agua viva;
y Dios les enjugará toda lágrima de sus ojos. Apocalipsis 7:17

Peace. Paz.

The Second to Last/La penúltima

I am sitting here in front of my computer on what is the eve of the second to the last time I saw Chris alive here with me. It was Easter last year. April 16, 2017.
Estoy sentada aquí enfrente de mi computadora hoy día que es la víspera de la penúltima vez que vi a mi hijo vivo aquí conmigo. Era el día de Pascuas, el 16 de abril de 2017.
I remember so much of this day because it was special and beautiful. Chris and Austin had borrowed my car so they could bring their dad to church with them to celebrate Easter. Even though Tom and I have been divorced for many years now, I felt like we were together as a family. I even gave Tom communion. How is that for the healing power of God working in us?

Recuerdo tanto este día porque era especial y bello. Les había prestado mi coche a Chris y Austin para que pudieran llevar a su papá a la iglesia para celebrar las Pascuas. Aunque Tom y yo nos divorciamos hace muchos años, sentí que estábamos juntos como familia. Hasta le di la Eucaristía a Tom. ¿Cómo más se explica eso que es el poder de sanación de Dios trabajando dentro de nosotros/as?

Lots of people came to celebrate Easter with us last year. We had brought invitations with Dummy suckers out to the Hub Shopping Center and spoken with people and invited them (and gotten kicked off the property because apparently it’s private property). We were those kooky kind of people that randomly go and talk to people and invite them to church. The thing that surprises me about this is that there are always a lot of people that want to talk to us and hear what we have to say. One or two people even joined us from that day.
Llegó mucha gente ese día para celebrar las Pascuas. Habíamos llevado invitaciones con paletas al centro comercial Hub y habíamos platicado con gente y los habíamos invitado (y nos echaron de la propiedad porque aparentemente es propiedad privada). Éramos esos poquitos que al azar íbamos a hablar con la gente en invitarla a la iglesia. Lo que más me sorprende de esto es que siempre hay mucha gente que quiere hablar con nosotros/as y que también quiere escucharnos. Hasta una o dos personas llegaron al servicio ese día.

It was also Martha’s birthday. She had made memelas (a traditional Mexican food). I think I brought ham. Friends and families were there. And we had a joyous celebration of Easter, the way I had always thought about it being.
También era cumpleaños de Martha. Había hecho memelas. Creo que yo llevé jamón. Estaban los/las amigos/as y familiares. E hicimos una celebración jubilosa de Pascua, como siempre había pensado que era.
And Chris was radiant that day. That’s how I remember him. Others have told me that they remember him being radiant that day, too. His bright smile. He told me he really liked what Josue and I had to say in our message that day. I don’t remember any more what I preached that day, but Chris found it meaningful.
Y Chris estaba radiante ese día. Así lo recuerdo. Otros/as también me han dicho que así lo recuerdan ese día. Su sonrisa brillante. Me dijo que le había gustado mucho el mensaje que hicimos Josué y yo. Ya no recuerdo lo que prediqué ese día, pero Chris dijo que era significativo.

We ate together, laughed, celebrated. I am sure I hugged him and that we told each other, “I love you,” because we always did. And then we finished eating and Chris and Austin took Linda home to Bloomington and their dad back to his place in Golden Valley, and then…I can’t remember, exactly. I’m guessing the boys came to my place and I drove Chris back to his place.
Comimos juntos, nos reímos, celebramos. Estoy segura que lo abracé y que nos dijimos que nos queríamos porque siempre lo hicimos. Y terminamos de comer y Chris y Austin llevaron a Linda a su casa en Bloomington y después a su papá a su hogar en Golden Valley y después…no recuerdo, precisamente. Me imagino que llegaron los chicos a mi casa y de ahí le llevé a Chris a su casa.
One of those things I had done so often and fully expected to do so many times more…
Una de esas cosas que había hecho tantas veces y que esperaba hacer tantas veces más…
I am blessed with the memories of that day. In some ways it is amazing to me that our Tapestry family who loved Chris so much, too, was able to be with us this penultimate time.
Estoy bendecida con las memorias de ese día. De alguna manera me maravillo que nuestra familia en Tapestry que tanto quería también a Chris podía estar con nosotros/as esa penúltima vez.

Today I was at brunch at a restaurant near my house. I was anticipating seeing the pictures from this day on my Facebook memories. Even if they’re not there, they are etched in my memory. And I began weeping. And it took me quite a long time to stop. I have been preparing myself for the one year Sadiversaries, both part 1 and part 2. The firsts…
Hoy estaba desayunando en un restaurante cerca de mi casa. Había estado anticipando muchas ver las fotos de este día en mis memorias en Facebook. Aunque no están, están grabadas en mi memoria. Y empecé a llorar. Y me tomó algún tiempo para parar. Había estado preparándome por el Tristeverario de un año, tanto parte 1 como parte 2. Los primeros…
But I hadn’t thought about the one year Sadiversaries of the lasts. I had begun to feel just a teeny bit of equilibrium, at least in the sense of not weeping daily. I guess that was fleeting. The tears are back and I have no control over them. So be it.
Pero no había pensado en los Tristeversarios de un año de las últimas. Había comenzado a sentir un pequeño equilibrio, al menos en el sentido de no llorar todos los días. Parece que eso no va a durar. Ya volvieron las lágrimas y no las puedo controlar. Así sea.
I still don’t know how this will come to pass, but I believe it to be true:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:3-5

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:3-5Todavía no sé cómo va a llegar a pasar eso, pero creo que es cierto:

Oí una potente voz que provenía del trono y decía: «¡Aquí, entre los seres humanos, está la morada de Dios! Él acampará en medio de ellos, y ellos serán su pueblo; Dios mismo estará con ellos y será su Dios. Él les enjugará toda lágrima de los ojos. Ya no habrá muerte, ni llanto, ni lamento ni dolor, porque las primeras cosas han dejado de existir».El que estaba sentado en el trono dijo: «¡Yo hago nuevas todas las cosas!» Y añadió: «Escribe, porque estas palabras son verdaderas y dignas de confianza».Apocalipsis 21:3-5

El que estaba sentado en el trono dijo: «¡Yo hago nuevas todas las cosas!» Y añadió: «Escribe, porque estas palabras son verdaderas y dignas de confianza».Apocalipsis 21:3-5

Blessed memories of my beloved Chris and blessed promises of our risen Lord.
Bendecidas memorias de mi querido Chris y bendecidas promesas de nuestro Señor resucitado.
Peace. Paz.

My New Autobiography…

I had to re-write my autobiography…

Such a normal thing to do for me…usually…

I do quite a bit of guest preaching, speaking, leading worship and singing at other congregations. I also hope to do this along my journey down the Mississippi. So one colleague asked me to write some about Tapestry and another asked me to provide her with a short autobiography.

So I wrote this. Not so short, as you can see, but I’m not really sure how to sum up my life in a nutshell anymore. I could just say, “My older son Chris died last year. Austin and I miss him every single day and we are still trying to figure out how we live this different life.” But that doesn’t seem quite right, does it?

So this is my first attempt since Chris was lost and found at writing a short autobiography. Makes me weep today. Well, since I wrote it. But here it is…

Personal autobiography

Pastor Melissa was born in Baltimore, MD, but grew up near her mom’s family in South Minneapolis. She was a member of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and was blessed to sing in the choir with Dr. Paul Manz. Melissa received her BA in Communication from Valparaiso University in Indiana. As part of her studies, she participated in a study abroad semester in Puebla, Mexico. She enjoyed her time there so much that she returned for another year after graduation. Melissa received a MA in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Minnesota where she taught Spanish. She was also the youth director at her church and realized she loved teaching and being with youth. Melissa completed her Postbac in the Department of Education, also at the University of Minnesota, and was a Spanish and English as a Second Language teacher for many years before being called to ministry. She graduated with a Masters in Divinity from Luther Seminary in 2014 and became a Mission Developer in the same year. Melissa began Tapestry, a Spanish/English ministry in Richfield.

20180402_2143581877482217385511557.jpgMelissa is a mom, too, and her family was struck by tragedy in April of 2017 when her beloved son Chris was lost in the Mississippi River. He was found on May 4, 2017, after 10 days. Chris was 22 and received his BS posthumously in Neurobiology from the University of Minnesota. Chris was an avid biker who was planning to ride his bike down the Mississippi River after graduation. Melissa will be doing this ride in his memory beginning Labor Day, 2018. She will be preaching, speaking, teaching, learning and listening along the way. Melissa’s younger son, Austin, is an actor, writer and singer and is now helping teach our Spanish and ESL classes at Tapestry. Melissa and Austin moved to St. Paul where they have a lovely view of the Mississippi River, a river that Chris loved.

And About Tapestry
It has been our joy and our pleasure to be in ministry over these last almost four years. The Spirit has led us to vibrant and lovely ministries which allow us build bridges AND cross them in our own faith community, in our neighborhood, and in our larger church body.

We share the love of Jesus through:

Music: Our musicians play for our bilingual worship services, of course, and they also lead worship and share the joy of their Latin and jazz rhythms at many of our partner congregations. You are always invited to worship with us and then eat together the first and third Sundays of each month at 5:00 p.m. (7045 Lyndale Ave So, Richfield)

Education: We began with a trial run last winter and now our Spanish and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are becoming more and more popular. We learn language and we share our cultures and learn from each other. We even received our first non-church grant from the Richfield Foundation to support these classes! You are welcome to join us as a student or a volunteer.

Food: We have so many wonderful cooks! We share meals after worship and during special events we host such as Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) and a benefit worship we hosted where we raised more than $10,000 for disaster relief in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Come, share a meal with us!

20180330_1608407765377445772895595.jpgOn a personal note, my beloved son Chris was lost in the Mississippi River last year. In his memory, I will be riding my bike from Minneapolis to the Gulf of Mexico along the Mississippi River. I hope you’ll join me in my journey by following here: Chris Stanley Mississippi River Memorial Ride 2018 (on Facebook).

Peace to you and continued blessings on all of your wonderful ministries.
Pastor Melissa






“Life is a river”: a rather unsatisfactory metaphor/”La vida es un río”: una metáfora insatisfactoria

20180326_1236171325293884.jpgTraducción aproximada:

Cada día ha pasado otro año (20 abril 2015)

Pasa tan rápido un año
Cada día ha pasado otro año
Porque usamos los días feriados
U ocasiones especiales
No importa cuán pequeño el evento
Para marcar nuestro progreso,
Para juzgar el grado de perspectiva cambiada.

Últimamente, cuando pienso en mi mismo,
El yo que vivió apenas hace un año ,
No puedo conciliar
Cuán diferente trato mi vida
Y cómo decido actuar en este mundo.

Hace un año apenas me daba cuenta
De las cadenas de adicción que me agarraban firmemente,
Ni me daba cuenta de que parte
Tenían la distracción, la aversión en estos
Deseos enraizados que aflgían mi
cuerpo, mente y espíritu.

Pues de alguna manera he progresado
Por este camino que parece sin fin,
Y por el marcador de un año
Estoy continuamente inspirado
A seguir adelante hasta que haya pasado el próximo.


The other day I was at my therapy session and I told my therapist that life was just carrying me along, whether I wanted to go or not. I said, “Life is like a…”

El otro día estaba en mi sesión de terapia y le dije a mi terapeuta que la vida me estaba llevando, quisiera o no. Le dije, <<La vida es un…

And though I had the word “river” on my mind, he had to fill in the blank for me. (For you grammar geeks, yes, I know this is a simile, but it’s a metaphor for me, too, in my mind).

Y aunque tenía la palabra “río” en mente, él tuvo que decirlo para mí.

I couldn’t quite get it out because it’s sorta true, like so many metaphors, but really unsatisfactory, too.

No pude decirlo yo porque es cierto, como tanta metáfora, pero también es insatisfactoria.

Life is a river. It keeps going, whether I want it to or not. But it stopped that day, too. But, which day did it stop? The day I found out Chris was lost in the river? I kept a little bitty spark of hope for those ten days. I had to. Or the day his body was found?

La vida es un río. Sigue, quiera o no. Pero también paró ese día. Pero, ¿cuál día? ¿El día que supe que estaba perdido Chris en el río? Tuve una pequeña chispa de esperanza. Tuve que hacerlo. ¿O el día que encontraron su cuerpo?

And how, exactly, is it possible for my life to keep going?

¿Y cómo, precisamente, es posible que siga mi vida?

That’s why I say life is like a river. I have stopped doing many things that I used to do. Weird things, like wearing most jewelry, wearing lipstick or lip gloss, dancing, listening to music (mostly), reading, keeping a calendar, and other things that are important, like going to advocacy meetings and staff meetings. But my life is filling up with new things and I just can’t seem to stop it, much as I’d like.

Por eso digo que la vida es como un río. He dejado de hacer muchas cosas que hacía antes. Cosas raras, como usar joyería por la mayor parte, usar lápiz labial, bailar, escuchar música, leer, usar un calendario, y otras cosas que son importantes, como ir a reuniones de abogacía y reuniones en el trabajo. Pero se está llenando mi vida con cosas nuevas y no las puedo parar, tanto como quisiera.

I want days and days to just read Chris’s poetry and look through old pictures and vídeos and remember and dream about what life might have been.

Quiero días y días para leer la poesía que escribió mi hijo y para mirar fotos viejas y vídeos y recordar y soñar con cómo hubiera sido la vida.

So this Sunday, Easter Sunday, April Fool’s Day, would have been Chris’s 23rd birthday. First time since 1956. I could say I’m not quite sure what to make of it, but I am sure.

Así que este domingo, domingo de Pascua, Día de los Inocentes aquí en Estados Unidos, hubiera sido el 23o cumpleaños de Chris. La primera vez desde el 1956. Pudiera decir que no sé cómo entenderlo, pero sí sé.


We’ll be reading Mark 16 this Easter Sunday. The young man at the tomb told the women not to be afraid. Christ has risen!

Estaremos leyendo San Marcos 6 este Domingo de Pascuas. Es joven en la tumba les dice a las mujeres que no tengan miedo. ¡Cristo ha resucitado!

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene,who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
Cuando pasó el sábado, María Magdalena, María la madre de Jacobo, y Salomé compraron especias aromáticas para ir a ungir el cuerpo de Jesús. Muy de mañana el primer día de la semana, apenas salido el sol, se dirigieron al sepulcro. Iban diciéndose unas a otras: «¿Quién nos quitará la piedra de la entrada del sepulcro?» Pues la piedra era muy grande.
Pero, al fijarse bien, se dieron cuenta de que estaba corrida. Al entrar en el sepulcro vieron a un joven vestido con un manto blanco, sentado a la derecha, y se asustaron.
―No se asusten —les dijo—. Ustedes buscan a Jesús el nazareno, el que fue crucificado. ¡Ha resucitado! No está aquí. Miren el lugar donde lo pusieron. Pero vayan a decirles a los discípulos y a Pedro: “Él va delante de ustedes a Galilea. Allí lo verán, tal como les dijo”.
Temblorosas y desconcertadas, las mujeres salieron huyendo del sepulcro. No dijeron nada a nadie, porque tenían miedo.

The women told no one because they were trembling and afraid. One of the things that has happened to me is that there is very little that I’m afraid of now. And so I tell the story of Jesus, the one who rose from the dead, the one who conquered death, the one who died for you and for me and for Chris, the one who welcomed Chris into his arms and who will welcome you and me someday, too.

Las mujeres no le dijeron a nadie porque estaban temblando y tenían miedo. Una de las cosas que me ha pasado es que hay muy poco que me espanta ahora. Y así que digo la historia de Jesucristo, él que resucitó, él que conquistó la muerte, él que murió por ti y por mí y por Christen, el que le dio la bienvenida a mi hijo y él que también nos dará la bienvenida a ti y a mí algún día.

Oh, this Sunday will be hard. I will say these words that bring us joy through my weeping. But this is the promise. This is where my hope lies, in Christ who is no longer in the tomb and who we will see someday, and in that day I am reunited with Chris and with all the saints.

Ay, sí, va a ser difícil este domingo. Diré estas palabras que traen alegría por medio de mis lágrimas. Pero esta es la promesa. Aquí es mi esperanza, en Cristo quien ya no está en la tumba y a quien veremos algún día junto con Chris y con todos los santos.
So, maybe you can let some fear go today, too. Maybe you can tell people of God’s love, even with whatever fear you feel. And if you can’t, that’s okay. I hope you hear my words to you, “Jesus is risen!” Maybe I’m a little early with those words, but they’re just as true today as they will be Sunday. They are just as true for you and for me as they were for Chris.

Así que tal vez hoy puedes soltar un poquito de tu miedo, también. Tal vez puedas decirles a otros/as del amor de Dios, aún con el miedo que sientas. Y si no puedes, no te preocupes. Espero que escuches hoy mis palabras para ti, <<¡Jesús ha resucitado!>> Tal vez digo un poco temprano estas palabras, pero son tan verdaderas hoy como serán el domingo. Y son tan verdaderas para ti y para mí como eran para Chris.

So peace to those who read this post today. If your life feels like it is a river like mine does, maybe it’s a day to just go with it and enjoy the ride for a little bit.

Así que les deseo paz a los/las que leen hoy esta entrada. Si siente tu vida como un río, pues tal vez es un día para dejarte ir con la corriente un ratito.

I leave you with this poem that Chris wrote (Actually March 26, 2015)/Les dejo con este poema que escribió Chris:

Traducción aproximada:

20180326_123634270578868.jpgInteriores invivisibles (26/3/2015)
Ya sé que estás ahí
Pero me siento muy solo
Mientras me siento solo
En esta casa fría y vacía

Y quiero llamarte
Pero no creo que tengas teléfono
Parece que estás mirando
Pero me siento tan solo

Cayendo una lágrima invisible
De mi ojo, ¿puedes ver?
Claro que no, está escondida
Como el dolor adentro de mí

El universo es tan grande
Un misterio completamente vacío
Así que pesco por algo grande
Viejito y el mar

Y navego este mar
Dejando altos los paños
Vendrá el frío adentro
De vuelta, no será la última vez
Que veo tu cara en el horizonte
En las olas, paz al cuerpo donde resido.

Peace. Paz.



Laid Bare

(Mañana traduzco esto al español)


I’m having a little trouble beginning this post but I know I need to get something off my chest. I have these sort of burning moments when I need to do my external processing thing or I can’t sleep. Tonight’s one of those nights.

How to begin…

Yesterday I posted this on Facebook:

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

We Christians say this often. What does it really mean? What did it used to mean to me before? What does it mean now? Contemplating…

Éste es el día en que el Señor ha actuado:
¡estemos hoy contentos y felices! Salmos 118:24

Nosotros/as los/las cristianos/as solemos decir esto. ¿Cómo lo entendía yo antes? ¿Cómo lo entiendo ahora? Contemplando…

I mentioned this to a friend who’s not on Facebook and he asked me if I was accusing people of something by asking this question. For the record, I was not. This is a question I am asking of myself. I actually preached a sermon one time that included this. Generally speaking, it used to be easy to say I was going to rejoice and be glad in a given day. Even in the rough times, I always had my kids. Since the day I knew I was pregnant with Chris, I have had something to be glad about.

During a conversation tonight in book club, I told my friends that I have trouble navigating who I am now. For the last 23+ years, since before Chris was born, I have been


mom. Who I am has been for almost half of my life in relation to my children. And now one of my children is gone. I used to be a really joyful person. And now, though I can sometimes laugh or smile or act normal, I’m not joyful.

So I really have no idea who I am. I have never been great at diplomacy, and now, as I told them, “I just don’t give a shit.” Not exactly true, but kinda’ true. And that in-between place–trying to be kind to people and just saying things I might not have said before, is tough to navigate. I wrote a blog post called “Jumbled Up” awhile back. I’m still jumbled, just in some different ways.

About two years ago I was at a conference. I was upset about something that had to do with race and culture and feeling excluded. A young male person of color looked at me and somehow knew something was bothering me. I talked and he listened. He said to me, “I see you.” This is common for young people in particular to say, and I think they actually mean it. This was a pivotal moment for me.

I have a working theory. Not sure if this is true, but I think it might be. People my age, well we’ve spent almost our entire lives hiding our true selves. We have wanted to conform to certain expectations. We have hidden our feelings. And maybe I should say this is at least my story. The only ones with whom I was really vulnerable were probably my own kids, though there are certain things they never knew about me. And there were things I didn’t know about Chris (or Austin for that matter). I asked to follow Chris on SnapChat and he told me there were things about him I didn’t need to know. I respected that, though he posted on SnapChat the night he was lost and it disappears after 24 hours and I didn’t think to get a copy of his last night out having fun with friends and I wish I could see how much fun he was having.

Sometimes it’s so much more comfortable not to see or be seen, isn’t it?

There’s this balance, I think, between feeling regret and being realistic about the past. I found the picture earlier in this post last night, and I looked at my precious baby and I know he was loved. And I know he knew he was loved. And I know he loved me. We saw each other and I cannot tell you what a beautiful, blessed gift that is.

I have spent so much of my life trying to please others. At times I have lost myself in that. But now I am laid bare. I’m raw. I can cry without warning. I can get angry or annoyed, especially with those closest to me. I can become very impatient with myself. With others I’m just not invested enough to become too impatient, except maybe with my closest friends. Sometimes I feel like I must be almost impossible for people to be around, especially those who knew me…before…because I am a completely different person.

So I lay bare my soul. My wounds are there in the open for all to see if they choose to see them. I would so love to be the me from before, the one who didn’t always say what I think. The one who hid from others and most certainly from myself.

I think of how to live each and every day without regretting the past or worrying about the future. Sometimes people say you should live each day like it’s your last. Well, for those who have an idea that they will soon die, maybe. But when we don’t have an idea I think maybe it’s about living each day in the best way we can, loving those around us, forgiving, being present. I think maybe I did that pretty well with Chris. I hope so.

So for all of those who grieve tonight, please know you are not alone. For all of you wondering, like me, what this means to rejoice and be glad in this day that the Lord has made, well, I wish I could give you some answers. I don’t know have them yet. But I believe there is a blessed, beautiful promise in those words.


Sweet Dreams Are (Not) Made of This/Los dulces sueños (no) son hechos de ésto

I used to dream a lot. In color. And usually kinda’ crazy dreams. But when Chris first was lost and for some time after that, I only felt pure lack of light in my dreams. Void. And then for awhile I didn’t remember my dreams at all, but I would startle awake and wake up panting. Now it’s a mix. Some dreams are in color. Most are not very pleasant, though I’ve had small moments of peace in my dreams.

Antes yo soñaba mucho. Y por lo general sueños un poco locos. Pero cuando se perdió Chris, y por un tiempo después, solo sentía una falta total de luz en mis suenos. Un vacío. Y después por algún tiempo no recuerdo mis sueños para nada, pero me despertaría asustada y jadeante. Ahora es una mezcla.Algunas sueños los tengo en color. La mayoría no es placentera, aunque he tenido momentos de paz en mis sueños.

The dreams I’m going to share with you will probably seem…crazy. It’s like I told my therapist, if you tell me these dreams are emotional, I will agree. If you tell me they say something about my psyche, I will agree. But mostly I think they are spiritual.

Los sueños que voy a compartir contigo van a parecer…raros. Es como le dije a mi terapeúta, si me dices que estos sueños son emocionales, estaré de acuerdo. Si me dices que dicen algo sobre mi psique, estaré de acuerdo. Pero más que nada creo que son espirituales.

I’m going to go back some time to provide a little more context.

Voy para atrás un poco para proveer un poquito más contexto.

We held our first worship service for Tapestry on Sunday, September 14, 2014. The next morning I had what I kind of call an “awake dream.” My therapist said there is a more official name for this kind of dream, but I don’t recall what it is.

Tuvimos nuestro primer servicio para Tapestry el domingo, 14 de septiembre del 2014. La siguiente mañana tuve lo que digo es un <<sueño despierto>>. Me dijo mi terapeúta que hay un nombre oficial para ésto pero no recuerdo el nombre.

I was sleeping but I felt like I was awake, too. And I felt something like the dementors from Harry Potter try to take over my body. It was a blackness and it was scary. My mouth was closed except for a little part at the corner on one side. And I kept saying over and over, “Only Jesus saves.” And each time I said that, my mouth would open a little bigger and I could say that more forcefully. Finally, my mouth was open almost all the way and the dementor-like thing left. And I woke fully.

Estaba dormida pero sentía que estaba despierta también. Y sentí algo como que los dementores de Harry Potter trataban de tomar el control de mi cuerpo. Era una oscuridad y era espantoso. Estaba cerrada la boca menos una parte en la esquina de un lado. Y decía una y otra vez, <<Sólo salva Jesus>>. Y cada vez que lo decía se me abría un poquito más la boca y lo podía decir con mas fuerzas. Por fin estaba abierta casi totalmente la boca y se fue esa cosa dementora. Y me desperté.

That day I spoke with another pastor and mission developer. She told me, “Oh. I forgot to tell you things like that might happen.” And she prayed with me.

Ese día hablé con otra pastora y desarrolladora de misiones. Me dijo <<O. Se me olvidó decirte que tal vez pasaban cosas por el estilo>>. Y rezó conmigo.

About three weeks ago, I had another of these “awake dreams.” Again, I felt like I wanted to wake up but I couldn’t. This time there was something that terrified me and tried to take over my being. And in my awake dream, I started blowing. And I sat up and I was blowing and blowing so that this evil would leave me alone. And the word that came into my mind was ruach, from the Hebrew: breath, wind, spirit. And I called upon the Spirit to help me breathe, to blow wind so that this evil would leave. And this evil almost left, but it lifted my body from my bed, and it carried me throughout my house, And I was so afraid. And finally the evil did leave. I don’t really know how. And I awoke.

Hace tres semanas tuve otro de estos <<sueños despiertos>>. De nuevo sentí que quería despertarme pero no podía. Esta vez había algo que me aterrorizaba y trató de tomar control de mi ser. Y en este sueño despierto, empecé a soplar. Y me senté y soplaba y soplaba para que este espíritu maligno me dejara en paz. Y la palabra que me entraba en la mente era ruach del hebreo: aliento, viento, espíritu. Y le llamé al Espíritu para que me ayudara a respirar, a soplar viento para que me dejara en paz esta maldad. Y casi se fue pero levantó mi cuerpo de mi cama y me llevaba por mi casa. Y tenía yo mucho miedo. Y por fin, sí, se fue. No sé cómo exáctamente. Y me desperté.

I share these dreams at the risk of whatever people might think. I know it sounds so strange. I don’t know the entire meaning of these dreams, but I do know that part of it is that I can’t do this life alone. I suppose it’s another way of saying what I’ve said before. I don’t wake up every day and walk through this life with my own power or what some people call “courage.” I only walk through this life because God lifts me up and because of the community that surrounds me.

Comparto estos sueños al riesgo de lo que puedan pensar. Ya sé que suena tan raro. No sé completamente el significado de estos sueños, pero sí sé que una parte es que no puedo hacer sola esta vida. Supongo que es manera de decir lo que he dicho antes. No me despierto todos los días y caminar por esta vida con mi propio poder o por lo que unos dicen <<coraje>>. Sólo camino en esta vida porque me levanta Dios y por la comunidad que me rodea.

After this dream happened, it made me think of a dream I had many years ago when I still lived in St. Louis Park. I was walking along the Minnehaha Creek holding Chris and Austin’s hands. All of a sudden, one of them was nowhere to be found. I don’t know which one or what happened, but I was frantically looking for whichever one was missing.

Después de este sueño, me acordé de un sueño que tuve hace muchos años cuando todavía vivía en St. Louis Park. Estaba caminando por el riachuelo Minnehaha agarrada de la mano de Chris y Austin. De repente, no se encontraba uno de ellos. No sé cuál de los dos ni qué pasó, pero buscaba locamente al que estaba perdido.

All of a sudden, someone grabbed my hand and gasped awake from this nightmare. It turns out, I had one hand above my head when I was sleeping and I had lifted the other one and grabbed my own hand during the dream, thus scaring myself.

De repente, alguién me agarró de la mano y me desperté jadeante de esta pesadilla. Resulta que tenía una mano sobre la cabeza cuando estaba dormida y había levantado la otra mano y agarré la otra mano así asustándome.

I also know I had a dream with Chris in it but when I woke up I couldn’t remember it and I was angry. I wanted to see him in my dreams.

Ya se que tambien soñé con Chris pero cuando me desperté no pude recordar el sueño y estaba enojada. Quería verlo en mis sueños.

I don’t know about premonitions and things like that. I don’t know about evil spirits entering our dreams. I do know that God walks with me in this life.And I know that I have very few fears now. I lost Chris. I don’t really feel like I have much else to fear. This may become more annoying as time goes by, because though I try to be thoughtful about what I say, I’m much less likely to have a great filter. Diplomacy has never been my gift. It’s even less so now.

No sé mucho de las premoniciones y cosas por el estilo. No sé nada de Espíritus malvados entrando en nuestros sueños. Ya sé que sí, Dios camina conmigo en esta vida. Ya tengo miedo de muy poco. Perdí a Chris. Siento que ya no hay mucho más que pueda temer. Tal vez éso empiece a molestar más a través del tiempo. Trato de medir mis palabras, pero ahora es menos probable que tenga filtro. La diplomacia nunca ha sido un don mío. Y ahora mucho menos.

Well, I’ll close this 10 month sadiversary post with the first dream that Chris seems to have written down. He wanted to get to what’s called “lucid dreaming.” You’ll have to look it up if you want to know more. So I have a record of dozens of his dreams over the last five or six years. Would you want your mother to read your dreams when you die?20180225_211742648522369.jpg

Pues cierro este tristeversario de 10 meses con el primer sueño que parece que anotó Chris. Quería lograr lo que se llama <<sueños lúcidos>>. Tendrás que buscar la definición si te interesa saber más. Así que tengo un récord de docenas de sus sueños durante los últimos cinco o seis años. ¿Querías que tu mama pudiera leer sobre todos tus sueños cuando te mueras?

I’m just thankful I have so many of his writings. This is a beautiful gift.

Estoy agradecida que tengo tantas de sus escrituras. Es un bello regalo.

Peace. Paz.