Monday, March 26, 2012

For Kristi

It is a sad day on campus today.  Our chaplain passed away this morning.  She was diagnosed with cancer last May and put on a heck of fight and really brave face throughout.  Her death is causing a a tremendous shock on campus.  Even though she was ill I don't think many, myself included, expected this to happen, let alone so quickly. 

Thursday we were warned that she may only have a week or two if they couldn't get her infection under control.  I couldn't believe it.  She had seemed like she was fighting the cancer well.  Her form of cancer was so "highly treatable."  Just last month she and a student who is also fighting cancer organized a fund raiser where around 30 folks shaved their heads to raise money for cancer research and donate hair to Lock of Love.  She was so helpful and involved on campus and in the larger community, even all the way through her illness as much as she was able.  It was such a shock to learn this morning that she is gone.  It is such a loss to so many people--her husband (they were just married this summer and he also works on campus), to the students, to her co-workers, to her extended family, to the spiritual community which she lead and participated in, the social justice movements she was active in, to our community, our whole world.  It is such a loss of goodness.  She was bringing so much positive into this world.  I just cannot believe that her time for good works is already over.  I do trust her spirit of good works will continue after her though because of all the souls she touched, like mine.  None the less the day feels a little emptier.  Kristi is gone?  I never really got to say goodbye.  I just can't believe it.

We'll be planting a tree at Earth Day which will now be dedicated in her honor.  I first got to know Kristi through our mutual involvement in the campus Green Group so this seems a quite fitting memorial.   She would like it too, I think.

I just can't believe I will never hear her suggestions at another Green Group meeting.  Or that we'll never get to do our Wednesday afternoon knitting circle (which Kristi started) with her again (I wonder if the circle will disband altogether, and vow that it shouldn't, but Kristi was the glue.).  Or that she won't be sitting at the entrance of the student union building handing out free cookies on Mondays.

I try to remind myself that there is a time for all things--joy and sorrow, planting and reaping, laughing and crying, being born and dying--and though it is heart-breaking this was her time to leave us.  That while we're sad we should also be glad to have known her.  I am also glad her pain has ended and that her family was with her at the end.  I keep praying her husband, who has been so strong throughout all of the cancer treatment, finds the strength he needs to get through this now, too.

I will close with a poem that brings me great comfort in these sort of times.  I'll keep it in mind when I feel myself start to get a little overcome with the sadness and the I-don't-understand-whyness of it all.
Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
And so may our kind, generous Kristi live on, in peace and happiness. 

Live you life to the fullest, friends.  For who knows what tomorrow might bring.


  1. That is sooo sad. I can feel your grieving and utter pain at this time. How old was this couple?

    Remember. we don't need to focus only on cures. We need to rid the earth of carcinogens,especially those added to food and products we put on our body and clothe our bodies and live in. In other words, most manufactured products we use have carcinogens. Even if a single product does contain only a minuscule amount, it is the cumulative effect over time. Sorry to rant during your sorrow.

    Your friend sounds like a magnificent personalfriend and a friend to humankind and the planet we all live on. Maybe everyone can plant a tree (apple?) on their own to continue to honor her and her green commitment. I am sad for you right now.

    1. They were in their 40's. It really is just terrible. Her poor husband....

      Thanks for your kindness during my sorrow. The funeral is today. I expect it will be sad, but also joyful.

      Your rant is accurate. I agree, that is the more important thing to research. Prevention is so much better, and not just with cancer, than trying to cure a problem that has presented itself.

  2. SHe had to be a GRAND person to touch your soul so much. I'm sorry for your loss.

  3. May she rest in peace and rise in glory; and may you be comforted in your sadness. xxx

  4. Just by reading this post and your blog I will say one thing:

    Kristi hasn't left you. She is in all the little things you do every day to make the world a better place.

  5. Beth, I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. She must have touched so many hearts. I'm glad you had a chance to know her, even for a short time. My prayers are with her husband for comfort as well.
    The quinoa burger recipe is on my blog. Hopefully it won't be too difficult to make in vegan form.
    I will be on the lookout for cranberry beans.
    I like garbanzos too, although my son says they taste like lint covered in plastic. Hmmm.

  6. Thanks everyone, for your kind and gentle words and thoughts.


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