I am awake in the very early hours between dark and light. My head is spinning with ideas and memories and golden moments drenched in love. I have been so very blessed to grow up in the bosom of a large, noisy, hectic, and loving family. I think of all the gifts my parents, sisters, and brothers have given me and the precious web of connections that flow out from there. Relationships that have helped develop our character as individuals and defined us as people.

Once again my thoughts turn to Chris…baby of the family and darling of our eyes. Well, most of the time anyway. He and I are close enough in age to have had a healthy sibling rivalry. Still, I am one of four of his “big sisters”. It had to have been frustrating sometimes having so many people bossing you around. Yet Chris took it all with good humour, for the most part. Now, I do not want to present my brother as some sort of goody two-shoes or angelic super human – he wasn’t. He had his faults as we all do. He could be frightfully stubborn, impatient, even self absorbed. Growing up he was coddled in some ways and spoiled by all of us to varying degrees – as I’ve said we were close enough in age to be playmates and often antagonists as well.

Perhaps we treasured Chris more deeply because of the many times we nearly lost him. He was what was termed a “blue baby” at birth and had to be given many blood transfusions and remained a very sickly child for many years. We learned early on that life is fragile. Later, when he was still little, as I have already written about, he could have been killed when he fell out of the car before Dad brought it to a full stop. As a teenager he gave us a scare when he developed meningitis and later still another car accident when he rolled his small vehicle. Looking back it’s almost like there was a foreshadowing of things to come – so many close calls where Chris seemed to stand at death’s door.

Chris faced many challenges throughout his life, but the one that marked him most deeply, I think, was the death of his infant daughter. I have no idea how difficult that must have been to endure or the strength it must have taken to get through it. But Chris took this tragic experience and used it to try to help other parents who were going through similar circumstances. He had a real gift with people.

Later he and his wife would go on to have two more children. Sadly the marriage failed and Chris would face the challenges of raising his children in a two-house situation. I am sure it was very hard for him and hard for his children as well. I hope they know how proud he was of them and how deeply he loved them, even if he showed it imperfectly at times.

In my previous post I described his funeral and the vast numbers of people who came to lend support to his family and to pay their last respects to a man well loved and held in high regard.

Chris was just a regular guy doing his level best with whatever life dealt him. He left behind a legacy of love and an example of selflessness and service to others. I am proud to call him my brother and blessed to have received his love and friendship. Life is a gift and I thank God for Christopher’s.

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