This morning I attended the funeral of my friend and former paper newspaper colleague, Khristine Elliott, in Battle Creek. Kristine would have turned 41 tomorrow. It was one of the most beautiful funerals I've ever attended as it truly celebrated her quiet, quirky and dignified life. It inspired me to live.
I've lost too many loved ones to breast cancer and each time I've seen someone die from this horrible disease I've been amazed by the grace of the women who were suffering.
With Khristine, I had no idea she was suffering with cancer. I haven't seen her in years and we reconnected through Facebook about two years ago. She didn't post all that often but when she did it was typically something related to her eight-year-old daughter, Madi, who looks like a miniature version of Khristine. When she commented on my posts, she always had something sweet and supportive to say. I was shocked when I learned Monday that she had died. Tuesday I felt sad and depressed all day, recalling how sweet Khris had been to me a decade ago when I'd lost my mother and a close friend to breast cancer during an eighteen-month period.
I am thankful to have known Khris. Thinking about her life and how she made a difference to me and so many people has me thinking about kicking my life up a notch -- like shifting my heart-speed into fifth gear.
Being a saleswoman isn't easy at all - not for me it isn't.
My former colleague Bob elbowed me in the pew before the funeral started.
"How's that project going?" he asked.
"You mean the blogging?"
"You mean the whole sales thing?"
"Yeah. How's that going?
"Well. I've sort of switched locations. It's MEAN out there in the blogosphere," I whispered.
He looked a little disappointed.
"I'm going to finish it. I mean I am committed to finishing it. I'm just on
Google now. Open Salon was too intense... the Cyber Daggers."
Bob is still an editor at The Battle Creek Enquirer.
"I'm not a good saleswoman."
"I don't know how you do it," he said.
"I had to try to get donations for the Reuben-eating contest in Marshall," he said. "I couldn't believe how hard it was."
The funeral music started then. Mass was beginning. It was so sad and beautiful. It seemed sort of weird to be talking about fundraising for a Reuben-eating contest with a newsie who I hadn't seen in ten years right there at Khristine's funeral.
But you know, it seemed perfect, too.
I think Khistine was smiling down on that conversation.
Her uncle pointed out that there will be a big birthday party for her in heaven tomorrow. I like to think about that. And when I do, I'm going to ask her to intercede for my sales career. This saleswoman really could use the help of another saint in heaven.
Khristine, we love you.