I have been thinking about Chris quite a lot lately. When I tell people about my children I am always at a loss when I tell others how many children I have. Five, but one son died? Four, but I used to have five?
I met Chris when he was 11 years old, and I adored him. He was my stepson. What a strange word – “stepson” – what is the step supposed to mean? I prefer to think of him as my “e-son,” for energy son, or simply as my son. He was loving and kind and funny and always ready to lend a helping hand. He was insightful and intelligent and loyal and full of life. He was one of the most alive people I have ever known.
Chris was grateful, I think, to have a mother again when I married Fred. Chris lived in Buffalo with his dad, and his mom and sister, Lori and Shana, lived in South Carolina. I like to think that I added order and stability to Chris’ life, and took some of the weight of his dad’s divorce off his mind.
He used to tell me that he didn’t have to worry about what would happen to his dad when his dad got old because I was there to care for his dad. I am thankful that I helped to take some stress away from his life. Chris took on everyone’s problems. He worried when things were not going well with family. He wanted to solve everything and he wanted everyone to be happy. He struggled with happiness.
I miss him terribly and I think about him often. When issues come up with the other children I ask them “What would Chris do?” When they think about that they usually come up with an answer. He will always be with us.