January 6, Epiphany or “Little Christmas”, reminds me of my Christmas Day girl, Christianne Noel McCrea, born in 1976. When she was a child, I would have her friend birthday party on this day, or close to it, every year. It is only a short time since Christianne died on November 30, 2010. In memory of her, I celebrate her life today.
A year ago on the evening of January 6 and 7, my husband Martin and I crossed the Sierras on a rescue mission to pick up Christianne in Reno, Nevada. Missing for over a month, she was found there with the help of a private investigator I had hired. It was such a relief she was alive and willing to return to Sacramento with us. On December 4 she had left Sacramento on a Greyhound bus in a psychotic state with only $40, and I wondered if she would survive the coldness of the season and the dangers of her psychological condition. As she lived through harrowing circumstances numerous times, she came through again. It was a winter resurrection and the beginning of a new life for her.
On the evening of January 6, 1999, I recall getting a phone call from her friends in the Hollywood Hills. “Christianne has not come down from a drug she’s taken, and we are very worried about her,” they said. It was her first psychotic episode, culminating in her first hospitalization. She wandered about Watts all night of the 6th and 7th; I stayed up and prayed for her. She wasn’t harmed, thank God. It was the beginning of her mental illness for me – a long series of hospitalizations, good spells in between, achievements, and deterioration, beginning just twelve years ago. It’s been a bittersweet journey, one I want to write about this year, as I remember her short life of 33 years.