Glad… in a bittersweet kind of way 

I know I’ve used these blog posts as a way to express my deep grief with Chris being lost in the river and because of his death. And in the midst of this I have some things that I’m very grateful for.

Tom and I loved Chris from the moment he was conceived. He was born on April Fool’s Day. This was a good day for him to be born, not because he was a fool, not by any means, but because he was very funny and he could take a joke (important in my family).

I’m glad Chris was baptized at Mt. Olive and confirmed at Central Lutheran. I’m glad he went on trips with his youth group to Camp Amnicon, Montana, New Orleans and New Jersey.

I spent a lot of time with Chris as he was growing up. We argued sometimes, but mostly we got along really well. I’m glad I was there, at least sometimes when he got in trouble, like for climbing on top of PSI with two friends who know who they are but who I won’t name here. I’m glad I was there for him when he crashed his dad’s Roadmaster and totaled it. I’m glad I decided never to hit my kids and I did my best not to yell at them too much (though Chris said I yelled at him with the tone of my voice even if not the volume). I’m glad Tom and I were able to mostly get along even after we got divorced because the boys were so important to both of us.  I’m glad Chris knew that even if I or his dad got angry with him we would always, always love him, no matter what.


We loved swimming, biking, going to museums, reading together, going to movies, laughing, playing, sledding, going to the theater, especially to see Austin in plays. I’m glad Chris, Austin and I were actually in a play together once.

I’m glad we traveled. We loved traveling together. We had so much fun on road trips. We went to visit my Uncle Raymond in Cincinnati, my brother and sister-in-law and family near Milwaukee. We went to Yellowstone with grandma Sharon.

We did college tours. We went on a cruise to Canada with grandma Faye.

Probably our best trip was Christmas two years ago to visit friends in Mexico. He fell in love with the girl who he had given his first kiss to when he was a baby.  He wrote a poem or two about that.

I won’t talk about specifics of Chris’s dating and lovelife, but he had fallen in love and had serious girlfriends. He’d loved and he’d had his heart broken.

I’m glad Chris was such a good musician and got to take lessons from Joy and Stephen and play with a boy band and at church and to jam with friends.

I’m glad Chris and I just hung out for fun sometimes and that he and Austin got together to watch some stuff on Netflix and to play videogames and to watch comedy shows. I’m glad we played games together and talked about books and music and politics and life.

I’m glad Chris and I each got to invite friends and go salsa dancing together. We had so much fun that night.

I’m glad we were together for so many holidays and that we had so march fin and loved being together.

I’m glad Chris and Austin brought their dad to Tapestry for Easter and that we had a lovely time as a family and celebrating together Martha’s birthday with her family and our Tapestry family that day.

Im glad the boys thought it was good to celebrate their birthdays at Perkins so we could bring grandma and their dad along easily, even though this particular day we had terrible service and a long wait and Chris told me not to worry about it.

I’m glad Chris and I could go to protests and compare notes and thoughts. I’m glad Chris found a place in so many groups that worked for justice.

I’m glad Chris worked for Wilderness Adventure and learned to love even more deeply the outdoors and to use his talents with so many people. He loved the Boundary Waters, Voyageurs National Park, leading trips on rivers and lakes around here, and most of all Glacier National Park.

I’m glad he went with orchestra to New York and I’m glad he went to Eagle Bluff in fifth grade. I’m glad he went to the Climate March in New York City with friends and became a vegetarian. It changed his life. I’m glad he went to Colorado with TJ last winter and visited Laura. 

I’m glad Chris was respectful of people. I’m glad he was friendly. I’m glad Chris got to meet so many of my good friends and that he had so many good friends and that I’ve gotten to meet so many of them.

I’m glad Chris wrote so much and that he was so dedicated to his meditation practice as he found so much solace in these practices.

I’m glad Chris was well-loved by his extended family. He was a little too young to know how much, but even so he reaped the benefit of this love. I’m glad we heard his boisterous laugh and saw his gorgeous smile and felt his arms around us so often.

I’m glad I got to see Chris grow into a thoughtful, caring, open, beautiful young man. I’m glad I am given the blessing to be able to share him and his words and his witness with so many.

And I wish I wasn’t writing this. I wish he was still sharing all of these things himself.



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