Told by Chrisís aunt Carol.
While I do a lot of presentations and speaking in front of groups, this is the hardest I have ever done. But it is also the most important and I am the most honored. I always felt Chris had a gift. All children loved him and he loved all children.
My kids idolized Chris. When he was just a little boy he would be carrying around my kids, letting them sit on his lap, giving piggy backrides and just loving them. I never saw Chris angry or upset. He was always happy and he always had this special smile and laugh. It seemed he went from this little boy to this huge man overnight. But he was still a huge teddy bear. My kids still loved being held, carried and hugged by Chris. I watched as this gentle giant held the babies at every party. He would fight with my kids over who would get to hold the baby first.
He loved his family as much as he loved babies. He spent hours with Nana and grand pop, just stopping by to talk, to help shovel snow and to check on them when they were sick. Grand pop had a special place in his heart for Chris, as Grand pop was always great with those kids that needed a little something extra.
Kristi was the best mother anyone could have. She worked hard to keep the family together even as they grew and went their own separate ways. Her kids are her life. Having a relationship with a teenage boy is usually hard for a Dad. Craig found hunting as a way of keeping connected too Chris as he went through his difficult teen years. And while brothers and sisters go through normal struggles, competitions, and problems, Megan, Justin and Donna loved Chris. He was always teasing, joking, and fooling with one of them whenever I saw him.
Each family usually has a "rebel", one which challenges everything they say and do. That rebel is usually someone with their own mind and is set on doing things their own way and not molding themselves after any one else. They challenge everything you say and do. That was Chris. Chris accomplished great things here on earth in his short life. He spread love and joy and happiness everywhere he went.
We all have so many happy stories of Chris. Holidays will not be the same without him, but we do have his memories that will live on. While I am secure in the fact that Chris is happy where he is now, we all will be searching for an understanding of all of this inn our own way. We may be feeling guilt for not telling someone something we knew that could have stopped him. Whatever the reasons are that led Chris to make such a drastic decision we may never know. Whether it was drugs, associated with his ADD or maybe some pressure he faced with is not important now.
We may try to put some of the pieces of the puzzle together, but will probably never fit perfectly. I see his friends come in each day and the devastation on their faces. I see his family trying to make sense of it all. My promise to Chris is from his death I will try to help many more kids. I will try to help teens that have so much pain they only see drugs, alcohol, or suicide as their way out. I will continue to try to provide support for the families and friends who are left after a terrible tragedy. You can all make a promise to Chris too, you can learn all you can about suicide.
It seems that we are the ones left there after a loved one is gone-to deal with the intense pain, the sadness, the anger, and the guilt. We must all reach out to help each other. Do not hold all this in. Find support from a professional or a friend. As hard as it may be, talk about it, remember the happy times, and talk about your sadness and let you anger out in a healthy way. Death and tragedy can either pull a family apart or make a family stronger. I know for some alcohol and even drugs may seem like a comfort. While alcohol and drugs may seem to alleviate some of the pain for a short time, it will only make it worse and prolong the pain. This is a process. For some they may go through it quicker, for other it may take forever. And instead of asking why, ask-what can I do now. There are many other children and adults out there suffering, maybe from all we learn we can help someone else. I know that is what Chris would want.