I do not have a specific memory of Christine to share, but I would like to tell you about our relationship and what she meant to me.
I met Christine and Dennis as the host and hostess par excellence the first year Azure Gate was open. We continued as guests there for ten years. Each visit was like coming home. I cannot imagine a warmer or more hospitable atmosphere.
After we retired we began spending extended periods of time in Tucson and could no longer stay at Azure Gate. I am certain that our attraction to Tucson was founded and nurtured by our stays with Christine and Dennis. And this was when my closer friendship with Christine began.
Christine and I would go for what we both came to call “our walks.” While we were in Tucson, Christine and I would go for walks two or even three times a week. Sometimes we walked at McDonald Park or Saguaro East, but most often we walked in the evening at Udall Park. On our walks we talked nonstop about politics, history, family, life’s big questions, whatever was in our hearts. And so we came to know each other deeply. I feel as though I know her family, as well as some of her friends, almost first-hand as a result.
Christine and I both loved words. In thinking about Christine, the word that keeps coming to me is “vivacious.” While typically the word brings to mind a description of buxom Hollywood actresses of the 1950s and 1960s, for Christine I see a much deeper meaning in the word.
“Vivacious” can be traced back to the Latin verb vivere, meaning "to live." I cannot think of anyone more full of life than Christine. To be with her was to be with a fountain of life energy that bubbled and overflowed and surrounded anyone who was with her.
I am a particularly big fan of the first, original Star Wars movie. In it a test of the Death Star’s destructive power blows an entire inhabited planet to smithereens. At that moment, Obi-wan Kenobi, as yet unaware of the event, stops what he is doing, looks up frowning, and says, “I sense a deep disturbance in the Force.” It seems to me that when Christine died, there must have been a similarly big disturbance in the Earth’s life force, as her life energy returned to wherever our life energy comes from.
On our walks, Christine and I would sometimes talk about death. And as she has said to others, she told me that when the time came she was “ready to go be stardust.” That is surely a sign of her truly well-lived life. Her death leaves a giant hole in my life, but I am so grateful to have had our friendship while she was here. And I know that some of her life force lives on in Matt, Erin, Ashley, Josh, Noah, Simon and blessed Bennett.