What an incredible tribute to our daughter Christianne! It began at graveside on the afternoon of December 17, 2011, with the unveiling of her memorial stone, a rose granite heart – written with white, “Christianne Noel McCrea, December 25, 1976 to November 30, 2010, A Beautiful Heart, Beloved daughter, sister, aunt, and friend”. On its back was a dove with the inscription of “And God shall wipe away every tear,” Revelation 21:4. We gathered in a semi-circle of family, neighbors, friends of ours and Christianne’s, on the grassy knoll where her remains lie. Our resting place will be at her side. A young friend from church, had her family home near the top of this hill. They had owned the property, which is now the resting place of Chrissie and her father among many. It’s a lovely setting in the southwest corner of Fair Oaks Cemetery.
A skilled and sensitive cello choir, orchestrated by Gwyneth, Christianne’s dear friend, began the program with “Flow My Tears” by John Dowland, a piece that literally flowed and evoked a wonderful setting and response. From there we saw (again) the wonderful slideshow of Christianne, crafted by Josh last year for the first memorial, with selected musical offerings and a tabloid of pictures of Chrissie. I gave a synopsis of her life from her humble beginnings, born at home in Fair Oaks on Bannister Road, through our sojourn to Scotland, 1978-80, and her varied school years to her tumultuous, tormented, and difficult adult years, ravaged by mental illness and drug addiction. There were glimpses of light, especially the light of Christ, Who shone on her in 2010 when she surrendered her life to Him.
Gwyneth introduced the heart of the program, “Stabat Mater: Quando Corpus Morietur” by Perogolesi from a recording of Christianne singing at a small Catholic church in Japan, December 29, 1993, on her way home. At sixteen she visited Gwyneth, who was working in Japan, for nine months, and had a wonderful time. It was a relief for us as she had been very troubled since her runaway at the age of fourteen. Andrea was the soprano who gave Christianne voice lessons. Accompanied by Gwyneth’s cello, Christianne sang the alto part beautifully. It was haunting to hear her voice at her own memorial. The translation of the words she sang was even more poignant. “Quando corpus morietur, fac, ut animae donetur paradise gloria” meaning “When my body dies, let my soul be granted the glory of Paradise.”
Then Lisa, her youngest sister, shared a video of interviews of close family members about what they most missed about Christianne, expressing qualities of her essence. One missed her sense of humor. Many expressed her loving, beautiful, non-judgmental heart, which is the fragrance of her we want to carry in our hearts forever. Rosemary, her older sister closest in age to her, sang a musical composition with her husband Josh by Misty Edwards from the Song of Solomon, proclaiming her relationship with the lover of her soul, Jesus Christ. Linda, a church friend and one of the twins who have been to every service for Christianne, recited her first poem that the Lord gave her during this service. It was a beautiful expression of the love relationship with Jesus and His new bride, Chrissie.
The cello choir closed with “Crossing to Ireland” and ended with the plaintiff song, “Dona Nobis”. Although unsung, its words echoed in my being as a prayer. “Lord, give us peace.” This exquisite, artistic memorial was certainly a healing part of bringing peace to those of us who mourn the loss of our beloved Christianne.