Not the First. And also not the Last. No es el primero. Y tampoco el último.

Mother’s Day, that is. Es decir el Día de las Madres.

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Last year was the first, but it was only two days after the funeral and I think I was still in shock. So in a lot of ways today feels like the first Mother’s Day without Chris.

El año pasado fue el primero, pero ocurrió a solo dos días después del funeral y creo que estaba todavía en un estado de shock .

I’m not even sure how I feel. In some ways the shock of it all still hasn’t worn off because it all still feels like yesterday.

De verdad ni sé cómo me siento. De alguna forma creo que todavía ando en estado de shock porque siento que todo pasó ayer.

And in other ways, it’s different. I don’t cry all the time now. I’ve managed to build up some defenses that help me hold off from crying all the time. I feel like I want to, but I don’t. And I can’t, either. Those defenses I’ve built up…

Pero por otra parte es diferente. Ya no lloro tanto como antes. He podido construir defensas que me ayudan a que no llore todo el tiempo. Siento que sí , quiero llorar, pero no lo hago. Y no puedo tampoco. Esas defensas que he acumulado.

20180513_1811382880107449207880168.jpgSo today I honor the memory of my beloved older son Chris, whom I loved so deeply. And I try my best to be in the moment with my younger beloved son Austin, whom I love so deeply. We’re going out to Burger Moe’s in a little bit for their happy hour. Austin’s favorite place, and I’m just happy to be with him.

Así que hoy honro la memoria de mi querido hijo mayor Chris, a quien quería yo tanto. Y trato de estar en el momento con mi hijo menor Austin, a quien quiero tanto. Vamos a Burger Moes en un ratito para su happy hour. Es el lugar favorito de Austin y a mí me gusta estar con él donde sea.

20180513_1815552077532534541170454.jpgToday I don’t even know what to think. I don’t know what I feel.

Hoy ni sé qué pensar. No sé qué siento.

I miss my mom who has advanced Alzheimer’s. I didn’t see her today because I’ve been sick and I stay away when I’m sick. Thankfully my sister ate lunch with her. I miss the mom who I used to be. I’m trying to still be mom to my Austin.

Extraño a mi mamá quien tiene Alzheimer avanzado. No la vi hoy porque he estado enferma y siempre me alejo cuando estoy enferma. Gracias a Dios mi hermana almorzó con ella. Extraño a la mamá quien era yo antes. Trato de ser todavía mamá para Austin.

And today I honor my friends who are moms who have lost their children. I give thanks for the many who have walked beside me during this last year and who have grieved with me. I grieve with you, too, the loss of your beloved children.

Y hoy honro a mis amigas que son mamás quienes han perdido a su(s) hijo/a(s). Doy gracias por las que me han acompañado durante este último año y quienes han lamentado conmigo. Lamento también con ustedes.

I honor those who wanted children but who for so many reasons were never moms in the ways they wanted, though I suspect many have shared their beings with so many.

Honro a las que querían tener hijos pero por tantas razones nunca eran mamás en la manera que querían, aunque sospecho que han compartido su ser de muchas formas con muchos/as.

I honor those who have lost their mothers and miss them, and I honor those whose mothers are so different in their illnesses, and who have had to learn to love their mothers just as they are.

Honro a los/las que han perdido a su mama y quienes las extrañan. Y honro los/las cuya mamá es tan diferente en su enfermedad, y quienes han tenido que aprender amar a su mamá tal como es.

I honor those mothers whose children have chosen not to be in relationship with them, and those grandmothers who are not permitted to see their grandchildren.

Honro a las mamás cuyos hijos/as han decidido no estar en relación con ellas, y esas abuelitas que no pueden ver a sus nietos/as.

fb_img_15262449555339124842936390326685.jpgI also honor those refugee and immigrant mothers who have been separated from their children.

También, honro a las mamás refugiadas e inmigrantes que han sido separadas de sus hijos/as.

And I take a deep breath. I move through today, through this moment. I cannot think about the future, because there is where my deep despair overtakes me. In the future that will be nothing like my dreams would have had it be.

Y respiro profundamente. Paso por hoy día, por este momento. No puedo pensar en el futuro porque es en ese espacio que se me abruma la desesperación. En el porvenir que no va a ser nada como quisieran mis sueños.

20180513_181337263734971966810773.jpgI give thanks for the time I got to be with my beloved Chris. I give thanks for the smiles and laughs. I give thanks for the “I love yous” and the hugs and the kisses. I give thanks for the times we disagreed and argued, because in the end, we always knew how much we loved each other, and that no matter what, I would always be his mommy and he would always be my baby.

Doy gracias por el tiempo que pude estar con mi querido Chris. Doy gracias por las sonrisas y risas. Doy gracias por los “Te quieros” y los abrazos y los besos. Doy gracias por las veces cuando no estábamos de acuerdo y discutimos, porque al final del día, siempre sabíamos cuánto nos queríamos, y que pasara lo que pasara, siempre iba a ser su mami y siempre iba a ser mi bebé.

Peace to you, my friends. Blessed Mother’s Day. Les dejo paz, amigas mías y amigos mios. Bendecido Día de las Madres.

Peace.Paz.

 

Shadows & Looking Up/Las sombras y mirar para arriba

Somehow we’ve mostly made it through all of the firsts. Just missing the dates of the funeral, May 12th, and the sending and the tree planting, May 16th, I think. It’s so odd to me I don’t remember that date because the sending was incredibly impactful and I remember almost every moment in great detail. That day, too, and even the funeral, I see from above and also from inside my own body.

De alguna manera hemos pasado por todos los primeros. Sólo nos faltan las fechas del funeral, el 12 de mayo, y el envío y la siembra del arbolito, el 16de mayo creo. Es tan raro que no recuerdo esa fecha porque el envío en particular fue increíblemente impactante y recuerdo casi cada momento en detalle. Ese día, también, y también el funeral veo desde arriba y también desde dentro de mi propio cuerpo.

But today is a little bit different. I was reflecting on John 15:9-17 this morning in preparation for preaching at Calvary Lutheran in Edina tomorrow morning.

Pero hoy es un poquito diferente. Estaba reflejando esta mañana sobre San Juan 15:9-17 para prepararme para predicar mañana en la mañana en Calvario Luterano en Edina.

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

»Así como el Padre me ha amado a mí, también yo los he amado a ustedes. Permanezcan en mi amor. Si obedecen mis mandamientos, permanecerán en mi amor, así como yo he obedecido los mandamientos de mi Padre y permanezco en su amor. Les he dicho esto para que tengan mi alegría y así su alegría sea completa. Y este es mi mandamiento: que se amen los unos a los otros, como yo los he amado. Nadie tiene amor más grande que el dar la vida por sus amigos. Ustedes son mis amigos si hacen lo que yo les mando. Ya no los llamo siervos, porque el siervo no está al tanto de lo que hace su amo; los he llamado amigos, porque todo lo que a mi Padre le oí decir se lo he dado a conocer a ustedes. No me escogieron ustedes a mí, sino que yo los escogí a ustedes y los comisioné para que vayan y den fruto, un fruto que perdure. Así el Padre les dará todo lo que le pidan en mi nombre. Este es mi mandamiento: que se amen los unos a los otros.

I’ve been wondering about this, about joy ever since Chris was lost. I vaguely remember being so full of joy. Before. I would laugh so easily, maybe too much. Even in the midst of sorrow and heartache I was joyful. But I cannot say this now. Sometimes I laugh. I even smile fairly often. But I’m not joyful. I wonder if I ever will be again.

Me he estado preguntando sobre esto, sobre la alegría desde que se perdió Chris. Recuerdo un poco ser tan llena de alegría. Antes. Me reía fácilmente, tal vez demasiado. Aún en la tristeza y el sufrimiento era alegre. Pero ahora no lo puedo decir. A veces me río. De hecho sonrío enseguida. Pero no soy alegre. Me pregunto si lo seré algún día.

And at the same time, as I tell those who listen to me preach, I believe I will be joyful again someday. I believe that because I believe in the promises of the risen Christ. Will I be joyful in this life? Do I have to wait until the next? That I don’t know.

Y a la vez, como les digo a los/ las que me escuchan predicar, creo que algún día seré alegre. Eso creo porque creo en las promesas del Cristo resucitado. ¿Seré alegre en esta vida? ¿Tengo que esperar hasta la próxima? Éso no lo sé.

But today, as I was riding my bike along the Mississippi River, I was focused on the road ahead of me. I think I was lost in thought somewhere. And I noticed a pretty big shadow.

Pero hoy mientras iba en bici por el Río Misisipi estaba enfocada en el camino. Creo que estaba perdida en algún pensamiento por ahí. Y me di cuenta de una sombra un poco grande.

And so I looked up and there was an eagle, a migiizi, flying above me. He was in the spot I had seen him before on a bike ride when I was so tired, and he flew away over the river.

Entonces miré hacia arriba y había un águila, un migiizi, volando sobre mí. Estaba en el mismo lugar donde lo había visto antes en otra bicicleteada cuando estaba tan cansada, y se fue volando sobre el río.

And then, as I kept riding, I saw his shadow again, and he was circling and circling. And I looked up and I felt a teeny bit of letting go, of feeling Chris’s freedom in the wings of this beautiful bald eagle, of feeling my own freedom to accept, just a little, my new life, and to accept, just a little, that Jesus’ promise of joy as I abide in God’s love just might be possible for me.

Y de nuevo mientras seguía en camino, vi otra vez su sombra y estaba rodeando y rodeando. Y miré hacia arriba y sentí un poquitito de dejar ir, de sentir la libertad de mi hijo en las alas de esta bella águila, de sentir mi propia libertad para aceptar, solo un poquito, mi nueva vida, y aceptar, solo un poquito, que la promesa de la alegría en Jesucristo mientras permanezco en el amor de Dios pueda ser posible para mí también.

I pray you, too, might find little bits of joy and freedom as you abide in God’s love, the love that makes it possible for us to love others as much as I love Chris, and for our joy to be complete.

Pido a Dios que tú también encuentres pedacitos de alegría y libertad mientras permaneces en el amor de Dios, el amor que hace posible que amamos al prójimo tanto como yo le quiero a mi hijo, y que sea completo nuestro amor.

Peace. Paz.

20180505_1904131811676417776248142.jpgP. S. Just as I was posting this, this rainbow appeared in the sky. Chris, you are always in my heart and I love you more than words can say. Thank you, God, for letting him be here with me for 22 years and 24 days. He was a blessing.

P.D. Justo cuando estaba poniendo esto apareció este arco iris en el cielo. Chris, siempre estás en mi corazón y te quiero más de lo que pueda expresar con palabras. Gracias, Dios, por dejarlo estar aquí conmigo durante 22 años y 24 días. Fue una bendición.

 

When My Life Stopped

Yes. I know. My life didn’t really stop. It goes on, much to my chagrin. But when I was told one year ago today at about this time that my beloved Chris has been found… well, a good part of my life stopped along with his.

That was Day 10. Waiting. Watching.

A bike ride had been planned, counting bridges, I think, a ride Chris had organized the year before.

I stayed back. I didn’t want to be out of communication or rapid transportation in case… in case they called.

The afternoon started with family and friends present. We said some words.

People biked off.

And then Rick, the Water Patrol Supervisor, called me. He asked where I was. I told him I was at Bohemian Flats. He asked who I was with. I told him I was with family and friends. He said he’d be right over.

The riders were just coming back.

Luis and Brian went to get Austin from MCTC. They got back so soon.

The Water Patrol Supervisor came. He was with the Park Patrol lieutenant and the detective from the Sheriff’s Department who had been working on trying to find out what happened.

There was a news crew there.

As they drove up I walked with my two sisters to talk to them. A couple of friends were with me.

I still see this from outside my body.

Rick told us they had found someone and they were pretty sure it was Chris. They said he was naked, just wearing a green watch and a rainbow colored threaded ankle bracelet. Were these things his?

I knew about the ankle bracelet. I was unsure about the watch but Chris’s friends knew.

Yes. It must be Chris.

Someone else was believed missing in the river, but he was older.

That thing about falling down when you hear the most devastating news you will ever hear…

Yes, that is true. I fell to the ground. I couldn’t bear the weight of my sorrow, even though I was overjoyed my baby was found. My sisters fell on top of me.

Close friends joined us in weeping.

I knew the news would get out quickly. I told certain people to call certain others so they would know before it was on the news.

And then Austin and I held hands and we walked to the people gathered. Rick told the people a body had been found.

I went live on Facebook. I wanted to be the one to share the news with those who had been following the story. I wanted to tell the story of our Christopher Charles Stanley. I wanted to speak my child’s name.

I remember walking to the river bank with Emilie. I remember the live Facebook video.

I watch it all now like a movie from that day.

And then I don’t remember anything else after that. I don’t remember what I did or where I went or who I was with.

I don’t remember anything else. I thought I would remember everything. But it’s a blank.

And so. Moment by moment. Hour by hour. Day by day. Until that day I am reunited with me beloved child.

And in the meantime, Austin, Tom and I desperately miss our son and brother. And we trust in the promises of the resurrection and that God will sustain us in his mercy.

Peace

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

Me…

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.

Chris…

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.

20180424_2038527996041640266958135.jpg

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.

Peace.

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

 

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Peace.