Saturday, September 19, 2009

Remembering Christi

Today marks three years since Christi earned her angel wings.

If you've come across my blog today and need some comfort, I am including one of my favorite poems. It's a gentle reminder that Christi is everywhere. Her artwork can still be seen in the stunning sunsets and beautiful snowfalls. She paints the rainbows after storms and crafts the clouds that float above. Her spirit is everywhere.

When I'm Gone

When I'm gone from your side,
And all your tears have dried,
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 sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn's rain.

When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds circled in flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.

And when you stroll in the evening hours,
And smell the aroma of beautiful flowers;
There'll be no need to sob and cry...
I am not there, I did not die!
~ Unknown

I like to think that in joining the "Christi Crew", we all took a piece of her with us. And she of us. Love does that. It's how Love wins over death and distance and time. Christi lives on in the love, action and courage she has inspired in so many. In the words of Storypeople, Christi, "I carry you with me into the world, into the smell of rain & the words that dance between people & for me, it will always be this way, walking in the light, remembering being alive together". We will never forget you, most brilliant Christi Thomas. We'll continue to carry you in our hearts forever.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

For Christi

Dear Friends,

I am writing today, not because I have anything particularly exciting to share; let's be honest, that's a rarity in my case. I have been doing well lately, keeping busy, trying to balance work and fun. And, of course, running. I've been doing a lot of running lately. It helps keep me energized, focused, sane (or as sane as I'll most likely ever get, but some insanity is always necessary, no?)
And now that it's September, my runs have taken on a more special purpose. With only 3.5 weeks until what I have officially titled, the 3rd Annual Christi Thomas Run, Christi has been on my mind more than ever. I actually have a picture of her at work because looking a it makes me happy, and I like being happy. I've included it here for you because I believe in sharing Happy. It's one of my very favorite Christi pictures, though as Jennifer can attest, the "Favorite Christi Picture" category is extensive. I love this picture for three main reasons. One-- Christi looks so very happy. And, seeing her happy and feeling how happy she must have felt when that picture was snapped gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling. It makes me heart feel her joy. And her spirit. Two-- I love the fall and this is a fall-looking picture. Three-- The ponies. I mean, seriously, who doesn't love ponies?!? And look at how many there are. So, my first challenge in this email, is to look at the picture, sense Christi's joy, feel the autumn, see the ponies and I guarantee that however your day was up until this point, it's a million times better now. Christi had a way of bringing sunshine into everything-- from lemonade stands, to schoolwork, to chemo. Life gave her some pretty rotten lemons and she made the sweetest lemonade.

Christi is especially on my mind when I run. When the alarm goes off at 4:40am, I think of her and I remember her words ("
"Determination is what keeps you going. It's like a best friend." Said by Christi, age 7). And I find whatever determination I can muster at 4:40am and get my morning run going. She's the best friend running beside me when I want to stop and the one helping me up when I trip over myself and fall. I'm in good company at 4:40am. So my second challenge in this email, if you can, is to ask you for a donation (of any amount) to my cause ( And whatever amount that you give, if anything at all, just know that in giving you are sharing Christi's spirit with others. The funds go to dance scholarships and academic scholarships and care packages for other children struggling with cancer. The arts, academics, helping those in need-- even though she was only 9, I can say without hesitation that these were Christi's passions. Her passion deserves to live on, even if her body could not. Know that in contributing to these causes, you're giving a piece of Christi to someone else. Someone who may never have even known her. And in sharing her spirit in this way, she lives on. We still miss her, but this is a comfort, a vital comfort.

And my third (and last) challenge, as I sign off tonight, is to remember to tell those you care about that you love them. It may be hard, but from experience, it's harder living wishing you could have told them just once or even just once more. Christi loved with her whole heart. She lived with her whole soul. And because of that, she changed a part of the world. I'm convinced that if we all learned from her love and her living, this world would be a much better place.

I know this post may be a bit too personal for some (and some of you may be thinking that all I ever do is make you cry), but know that I am this honest because I honestly believe in what I write. And because I love Christi. And you.


Saturday, September 12, 2009


I was walking home from the bus stop a few nights ago. It was late and rainy and I was coming home from a long day at work tired. I was walking in the drizzle, enjoying the quiet night and noticing how dark the evening was-- a sign that fall is on it's way. My mind was calm and I was appreciating the moment when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I smelled toast. Really. The smell was with me outside in the rain and it remained with me for about a block. And out there in the rain, with the smell of toast in the air, I remembered my grandfather. My Abuelo.

Toast always reminds me of Abuelo. He would toast his ham sandwiches in the toaster oven and the smell would permeate the entire house. It's so interesting the things, memories, and spaces people leave behind when they fly away. The pieces of themselves that remain with the living. I am sure that for Abuelo, the toast was just something he loved to eat. It was something he did so regularly that I doubt he ever put much thought into it. And yet, for me, it's so much more. I smell toast and I think of him; I see him in my mind for a moment and I remember how I loved him.

On that night, I remembered how I loved to hold his hand. When we were sitting together watching TV or driving home after a family meal, I would often take his hand in mine and hold it. We wouldn't say very much at all. It's not the words that I recall. But I remember holding his hand. It's that memory that makes me both miss him and brings me comfort all at once. Abuelo had thin, bony hands. When you held them, you could tell that they had known hard work and sacrifice, and strength and love. I always felt safe when I held his hand. And so very, very loved. I miss holding his hand. And when I smelled the toast that evening, I felt...I knew...that Abuelo was there with me. Walking me home in the rain and the wind and the night. And I was comforted.