It was an honor to call her my friend
Tonight, is a hard night, it is difficult to see through the tears as I sit here and write this. A friend of mine has passed away from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Everyone knew this day was coming. That does not make it any easier though. Tears have been flowing freely for her and her family. Her loss brings great sadness and sorrow to me. I can only imagine the grief of her family and closest friends.
We met about 6 years ago. My oldest son and her step son were in cub scouts together. They moved on to Boy Scouts and became good friends. We would talk as we waited in the parking lot for the boys to head off for or return from a camp out. Sometimes during the scout meeting we would get a chance to talk some. We were friends but not best buddies who saw each other all the time. Her life was busy as was my own.
I noticed one day that she had a brace on her leg. I thought nothing of it as many people have injuries that require a brace. Very shortly after that day though I found out that she had been diagnosed with ALS. That is a devastating diagnosis.
ALS is unforgiving. It is painful! It robs you of your independence, your bodily functions, your voice and ultimately of your life. Currently, it is incurable and therefore that diagnosis is a death sentence. On average people live 3-5 years after their first symptoms appear. Christi lived about 4 years after her diagnosis.
I did not see her often after I learned of her diagnosis. The next time I saw her she had moved to a scooter, at which time she said it was not as easy to get around. I did keep up with her on her Facebook page and we had multiple text conversations. Her Facebook page was awesome! She really should have been a writer the way she could tell a story. I went to her home to see her in person a few times as well. Each time there was such huge changes physically in her from the previous time I had seen her.
As she lost the ability to speak I could still understand her mostly, I’m used to people talking with my hands in their mouth or the mouth wide open (I’m a dental hygienist). I have learned to understand people who have difficulty in forming their words. I could see the frustration in her eyes though as she struggled to get the words out. Her husband was really good at reading what she was trying to get out. She was very eloquent with her speech. Once she could no longer speak well and eventually at all she communicated through typing.
The words she poured out were beautiful, and heart wrenching at times. She wrote about having only “two tears”. More than that would cause her physical pain and a multitude of physical issues. There were times though that she wanted to cry but couldn’t allow herself more than the” two tears”.
Despite her circumstances, her pain and her illness, she believed in Jesus Christ. That she would be healed, whether that was on earth or in heaven. She believed God had a purpose for her illness and would work through her illness to reach others.
She made the comment one day that her neurologist was amazed at her attitude. He noted that most patients that came through his office with ALS had a fairly bleak attitude. But Christi always came in with a smile and positivity about her. She was not shy to let him and anyone else know that Jesus was the reason for this. She was an encouragement to so many people. Her attitude alone was inspiring.
Selfless to the core
Even though she was ill and hurting she wanted to try to “fix” my husband. She told me one day “You can tell me to shut up if you want because I get this all the time too…but has your husband tried…?” I laughed out loud at that. She was in our shoes in a way, people suggesting this and that to alleviate symptoms or to heal an illness. Christi sent us papers on things she had been told about that she thought might help my husband with his chronic migraines. She said my husband’s illness was driving her crazy. She wanted to help him.
Despite her own illness she was still seeking to help others. I would get a random text from her asking if we had heard of something new that she had read about. I always appreciated her ideas and thoughts and especially her prayers. She was praying for him just as I was praying for her.
I’m sure Christi had her moments of “why me”. It’s common for most everyone to feel this way when facing an illness, trauma or difficult situation, but she kept her faith. She had made her peace with this life and was ready to go home to Jesus. She had said that she knew her husband would be Ok, her son was old enough that she knew he would be Ok too. Her little girl, her precious little baby girl, was who she fought the hardest for. She wanted to be here on earth for her, to see her grow and witness her milestones. Christi adored that little girl and soaked in every minute she could with her. Knowing she would be leaving her little one was something that did bring her to “two tears”.
Christi was a warrior. She championed for a cure for ALS. Christi helped to get more awareness for ALS to the community. She spread her faith and her belief in Jesus Christ as her savior wherever and whenever she could. She fought the good fight. Oh, how hard she fought too!
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Tim 4:6-7
Yes, Christi, your time to depart this earth has come. You are now with Jesus walking freely, speaking freely and you have been restored! Christi, you fought the good fight and so valiantly too! My friend, you have finished the race and you definitely kept the faith. Not only did you keep it, but you spread it as far and wide as you could.
Christi will be missed by friends and family far and wide. Knowing she is restored is comforting but the grief is still there. My heart is broken for them and for losing such a wonderfully inspiring friend. She was such a beautiful lady with a heart for Jesus. As you read this her friends and family are celebrating her life today. Please pray for them.
You can read some of Christi’s inspiring words and see her great attitude about her life through this link. She requested donations be made in her honor to the Dennis Sehorn Foundation as they were pivotal in her life, giving aid to her and her family through her illness.