A Letter to Chris’s Friends

I was down at the Mississippi today and I ran into a friend that Chris had just met two weeks ago. This was my first time meeting him. They were out together just before…we lost Chris…and he was sobbing. Me, too, to be honest. But we talked together and were able to bring a little smile for each other.

I have seen you come down to the river, go to church—maybe for the first time ever—just to be with Chris or with Austin or with me or with each other. Some of you have tattoos from something he taught you. You’ve cried, sung, laughed, screamed, questioned. Just like me. I have seen your pain and sorrow.

So today we continue to look for Chris. I hope we find him soon. And you return to classes and to biking and meditating and planting and canoeing and try to bring some normalcy into your daily routine. And sometimes nothing seems normal. I know this.

I thank you all for being Chris’s friends. You are beautiful people and you have brought such joy to Chris. I’ve seen you come together from church, the U, Wilderness Inquiry, biking, meditation, grade school and high school. You have offered me smiles and hugs and poems and music.

Hopefully we’ll still find Chris today, one week later, but in the meantime I’m going to say some things I think you might meditate on or pray about or just sit with.

Chris is a young man who has lived every day of his life to the best of his ability. He has pushed limits. I know he can argue a point forcefully, yet somehow his mind has been open enough to learn so, so much about science, sustainability, meditation, life, love, friendship, compassion, justice. Chris loves his friends and his ideas and science passionately. He is loyal and kind (I know that wit can kick in sometimes), compassionate. He’s a good, good kid. He’s not perfect, mind you. I know this. I have had the blessing from him that I know that he and his buddies used to run away from Southdale in Jr. High and go hide at Gabbert’s at the Galleria. I know he likes his parties~music, dancing, drinking, a little…well you all know. (We argued about this from time to time). He wouldn’t let me follow him on SnapChat because he said there are some things a mom doesn’t have to know about her child.

So I ask you to live your life. Push the limits, even if just a little bit. Get out of your comfort zone now and then. Hug a tree. Go on a canoe ride. Dance salsa (he and his friends came out dancing with me not too long ago). Learn. Love. Give a high five to a random person. Keep learning when you need to speak and when you need to listen. Be passionate about something. Anything, even if it’s small. Feel him around you when you hear “Hallelujah” or when you’re at the river or when you’re dancing or biking or meditating. He’s a strong spirit. Love your parents, or your parent-figure or show some love to someone who has trouble finding it.

And always remember. Chris loves his friends. He really does. If there has been a rift between you, he’ll forgive you. That’s how he is. I have a mother’s heart. I miss my baby more than anything. I know you miss him a lot, too.

I pray for peace and comfort for you in the midst of your sorrow. Melissa

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