Going through some stuff today, I found this “letter” that Chris wrote in 2002 as he prepared to graduate from high school. As I sit here reading it with tears, I read it also with joy. He continued to live as he wrote here and, while heartbroken at his death, his mother and I are so proud of him and the short life he lived.
Given at the Baccalaureate for Eau Claire Memorial HS at Bethesda Church in 2002
“I am supposed to stand here today and talk to you about parents. I am unsure of how I am supposed to start talking about one of the most important things in my life. But I will do my best. I thought to myself what is a parent? As we all know a parent is much more than this, they are more than anyone will ever be able to speak. I can’t begin to term what a parent is or what they are supposed to be. But I can tell you that all of you have shown us love and caring to bring us forth in this world. Whether young, old, dying, famous, rich, or poor, our love to you as parents is unconditional.
In the last eighteen years of my life I have come to a realization. Unfortunately, friends come and friends go. Friends change, interests change or ideas change. And unfortunately some friends move far away. Our relationship and friendships change with life. But the love that our parents have for us does not change. No matter what we do, where we go, or what we think our parents possess an undying love for their children. They have brought us up in a world full of obstacles. When we stepped forth in each of these obstacles, our parents were right behind us, holding our hand or watching our backs. No words could ever repay them for all of the love they have shown us. But I would like to let every parent know that what they do for us is appreciated. Mom and Dad I love you. I have composed a letter to you trying to sum all of my thoughts and feelings. I do know that it will fall short of how I truly feel but this is straight from my heart.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Eighteen years ago, right at this moment you would probably have been putting me to bed in hopes of a good night’s rest. But now 18 years later you will not be able to put me to bed anymore. I will be living on my own and caring for myself. But look at me, I made it didn’t I? I should be ready to leave? Right?
I came into this world depending on the love and care that you bring. I was helpless and needed you. To tell you the truth, very little has changed. I have changed and you have changed but I still need you. I must tell you that I am scared for next year. Just think I will have to cook, clean, and dress myself.
Scary thought. But also I will have to wake up each morning and realize that every thing I do and every decision I make now affects the rest of my life. A pretty big responsibility if you ask me. But I think I may be ready for it.
Since I was very young you taught me responsibility and good moral judgment. No matter whom I was dealing with, or whom I had to be acquainted with you made me respect each and every person. You taught me to live with integrity and live with faith. All of these little issues have formed me as a person – a person that I respect and a person that I hope others respect.
In a little more than a week I will stand up for the final time as a high school student. Personally, I will also stand up for the last time as person from Eau Claire. Some of us will stand up with dreams of success and money, some of us will stand up with hopes of making it through college, and some of us will stand up with just the hope of a happy life. In all of these cases we will stand up for one final time at
But no matter what we go through or what we become, we owe it to you. Every time you were there teaching us how to be happy, or tending to our needs it helped us grow. No matter what we are striving to be or do in our lives we strive for your constant love. With all of your love anything is possible.
Mom, Dad, thank you. Because of you I know that my life is good. Because of you, I know everything will be ok. Because of you, I know I have made it. In each of my memories I will think of you and in all my memories to come I hope you are part of them. You have imprinted my heart with many values, but most of all the value of love. As I end I would like to read a small prayer to the parents entitled”
Heart Prints by Anonymous
Whatever our hands touch–
We leave fingerprints!
On walls, on furniture,
On doorknobs, dishes, books,
As we touch we leave our identity.
Oh please where ever I go today,
Help me leave heartprints!
Heartprints of compassion
Of understanding and love.
Heartprints of kindness
and genuine concern.
May my heart touch a lonely neighbor
Or a runaway daughter,
Or an anxious mother,
Or an abandoned animal,
Or, perhaps, a dear friend!
I shall go out today
To leave heartprints,
And if someone should say
“I felt your touch,”
May that one sense be…YOUR LOVE
Touching through ME.