In memory of Chris

Tunic top, birkenstocks, a shawl and flowers in her hair. Chris, in her 60s had never left the 60s in her attire. Her short white hair kept her in the present, but I wonder if she didn’t have the proverbial straight blonde hair past her waist when she was a 20-something. I knew Chris by working with her on the Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition. Believing mother’s milk to be the best possible nutrition for newborns, we worked the past 20 years together through this organizaiton helping to make breastfeeding the cultural norm in our state. Chris and I were at opposite ends of the political spectrum on how much government should force this issue, but we were striving for the same goal. Chris worked for the State Department of Health and was a Certified Lactation Consultant which narrowed her scope, but as she worked for a woman’s right to feed her child, she became involved in public decency issues, places and time to pump at work issues, family leave and formula marketing ethics in countries where breastfeeding is essential because of unclean water, refrigeration and finances.

Chris had a massive stoke yesterday while on vacation. Declared brain dead at the hospital, she is being kept alive till organs are harvested from her body that could help others. That is how Chris lived her life, totally sold out to others. It has been my privilege to call her friend. I will miss her, especially in October. Every October the Coalition meeting was in Somerset, PA, close to the site where Flight 93 was downed. This year they are dedicating the finished Memorial so it would have been a special year to be there.

In the past when we’d go we never spoke a world. We just looked and felt and cared. That was Chris to me. She felt deeply, researched extensively and moved in power gently. Millions will forever benefit from her influence. Even though most never knew her, she cared for them. I was privileged to have walked some of the paths she walked and because of it, I will never be the same.

My heart aches with this loss. She will be greatly missed,



8 comments on “In memory of Chris

  1. How often when we lose someone from our life like this, it is only in the loss that we realize how much we truly had and how much they had poured into our lives. But as I read this touching post, I realized that YOU, Dawn, knew definitely the value of this person all along. I’m so sorry, as I know you are feeling this deeply today. Praying for her family and friends. . . and for you!

  2. Dawn, thank you for sharing such a special person with us, and allowing us to meet her, a bit, also. I would say you were both remarkable persons to be able to share a friendship and passion despite differences. Sending you hugs, in absence of the real thing, and sad and sobered for your loss.

    Hugs and prayers for comfort,

  3. Dawn, I didn’t realize that Somerset was the place…I drive by there every single time I visit family, via the turnpike, and will remember it now, and can pray for the survivors when I do so. Thank you for sharing that with us, also.

  4. Dear Friends in Christ,

    Thank you for your condolences. They mean so very much to me. I find myself crying at unexpected times when this reality seeps into my consciousness. I attended the funeral of a parishioner today and I was able to say good-bye to him and see him laid to rest. It is different with Chris. I can only imagine her last hours based on stories of her passing. I did not see her lifeless physical body and I do not know about her spiritual one, I knew about Pete, from my church. He loved Jesus with all his heart. I do not know about Chris. How could it be that I knew her two decades and never spoke to her of Jesus? She pointed me to Jesus with her very being, but I don’t know that that was her intention. I think I can count on my one hand the number of people I care deeply about that I never talk to about Jesus. Why was Chris one of them? Did I not care enough to risk being thought a bigot or a simpleton? Did I think religion, like politics, should not be discussed because it would stir up too much ? Did I not feel. at. all?

    Well, I do now and I pray for vigilance. This must not happen again.

  5. Dawn, the beauty of life is that Chris may still have heard of Jesus-through others and by watching and knowing about your life. Hugs!

  6. They will see your good works and will praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    I do know what you mean though Dawn…It should not be hard to share this Love of our lives, yet sometimes we tarry…like you, I do not want it to happen that I fail to share my Redeemers words of life with those He brings my way..
    blessings to you

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