Friday, February 9, 2018

Gone Too Soon

On Tuesday, February 27, at 10:00 a.m., we will celebrate the life of our nephew’s wife, Christina, at Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic Church in Westminster.

Early on Sunday morning, January 21, we received a call from Larry's brother, Casey, informing us that Christina, had died. Danny and Christina were not married for long, but our family loved her very much.

She was thirty-five years old, a kind and generous soul, who never turned away anyone in need. She would have given the shirt off her back if she felt someone needed it more, even if it were her only one. She cared deeply about people, especially her close friends, but her whole life revolved around her eleven-year-old daughter, Savannah.

We all adore this child. She is smart, funny, well behaved, and a terrific human being. Her mother deserves all the credit. The two of them were inseparable.

Savannah wrote a complete fantasy novel. Her mother told us about it on Thanksgiving Day, and I asked her to send it to me. Imagine my surprise when I read it and found it was excellent. In fact, it is better than some submissions I have received from the adults for whom I edit.

Savannah understands how to tell a story, how to create a story arc, character arcs, tension, and suspense. She has an impressive grasp of language and understands the value of dialogue. I went through the manuscript and identified a few small issues, but for the most part, it was well done.

Christina and Danny brought Savanna to our house one day between Christmas and New Year’s, when Savannah was on semester break. She stayed with us for a couple of hours while her folks went to the harbor. We discussed my questions about the book. She was articulate and came up with good solutions.

I had promised her as part of her Christmas present I would help her publish it. I intend to keep my promise.

Our greatest concern is the welfare of this wonderful little girl. Unfortunately, our nephew's family has little say about what happens to this precious child. We can do what we are asked and pray for the very best outcome.

Fortunately, she is currently living with her uncle and aunt. We are impressed with them. They responded in a levelheaded manner and now provide a stable environment for her. Her private school has waived tuition for the rest of the school year, so she will have continuity in her education. Her father will have custody, but he has granted her aunt and uncle temporary guardianship through the school year.

All of us around her feel an obligation to her mother to provide emotional support to her and to those around her. Christina had many close friends, and they want to help in whatever way they can.

I identify emotionally with Savannah. I, too, lost a parent as a child. I know how it feels to be set adrift without a rudder. I know about the large hole a parent leaves in a child’s life. And I know it never goes away.

Christina is gone far too young, and the rest of us around Savannah owe it to her mother’s memory to provide a stable and supportive environment for her child. Our hearts are broken for our nephew, Christina’s family, and her daughter. We feel helpless, and we would like to help in some way.

Right now, we’re taking one day at a time and doing whatever appears for us to do.

Have you ever had to deal with the death of a young person? Did you find anything of help? If so, what?


  1. Nothing helps. Except MAYBE time. You already know that. The one piece of advice I have is not to let people suppress their feelings. "Don't cry! Don't cry in public! Don't embarrass yourself! Be brave!" These are misguided commands to a young person who has lost a parent. The screaming and running down the street helps a lot, too. I send my prayers and wishes for strength to the family--all of you, but especially the daughter. She has a really tough road before her.

    1. I so agree. My mother didn't grieve, so we weren't allowed to do so either. Thirty years later, we finally cried together. As an adult and parent, I understood much better. It took everything she had to put on e foot in front of the other and keep going. She had no room for grieving.
      And you're right. Time helps--a little. You don't "get over it" ever. But you can get through it.