Archive for the ‘Christianne McCrea’ Category

Year Memorial for Christianne

December 20, 2011

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.

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Two Anniversaries

December 1, 2011

There are two anniversaries for me today, November 30. One is the tenth anniversary of my reunion with my birth mother. We had our first contact on this day as both of us became aware of each other for the very first time. I had been contacted by The Cradle and told my birth mother was found! She had talked to a representative of The Cradle, who told her I was looking for her. The rest of the story I will be sharing in future months.
The second anniversary is the one year anniversary of my daughter Christianne’s death. I visited her grave today with a friend. It has been a sad yet poignant day, full of memories.

The Fire of Grief

January 18, 2011

Grief is a fire needing careful tending. If ignored, it builds up, going underground, and then erupts violently with a sheet of flame. It catches you unawares like a tidal wave emerging from a peaceful horizon. If tended too much, its flames can burn or even paralyze you.

It’s like walking through a smoldering forest with debilitating pockets of flames and smoke. There is a pathway through the burning – the mourners’ path, forged by those familiar with this inferno. Those who have walked before us can teach us where and where not to go.

If one refuses to see the blazing fires of grief all around them, the flames will still burn. Better to face it, equipped and ready with tools crafted with the tears of those who have walked ahead, and humble ourselves by following the mourners’ path, an ancient, well-trodden trail.

(I am writing this after getting off the path of grieving because of the tyranny of the present and getting hit by a firewall of grief. I have joined a support group with fellow mourners.)

(I just discovered that imbedded in the word grief, there is fire: In the word g-r-i-e-f, the last four letters are r-i-e-f = fire!)

Epiphany Reflections on Christianne Noel, My Daughter

January 7, 2011

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.