On July 25th, Christine lost her true love and soul mate Michelle to a completely unexpected sudden death. She is completely heartbroken and inconsolable, and struggling to find a way to move forward. Christine and Michelle were together for about 12 years, and had known each other a bit longer. Christine is a very private person, and does not share a lot about herself with many people, but to hear Christine tell the story, it was unquestionably love at first sight when it came to Michelle. The connection was instantaneous, and though it would take time for them to admit and accept their true feelings and reconcile themselves to the gender “issues”, the attraction and deep love between them was not something either could control or resist.
Christine describes Michelle as her technicolour glasses and loved to experience life through Michelle’s eyes. Just the other day, she said she’s realized that in many ways, she lived each day for the joy that Michelle saw in everything - suggesting places to go or things to do not because she was personally interested, but because she wanted to see Michelle’s reaction (like the "Big" trees in BC or the Rocky Moountians) – making Michelle happy was what made Christine happy. Christine believes, and for those of us that knew them both, we sadly concur, that she will never meet anyone else that she has such a strong and perfect bond with. How many of us can say that we could spend 24/7 with someone and not want to kill them or at least get away from them for awhile. Not Christine and Michelle - they were perfectly content to sit together and just be - Christine says the time she spent with Michelle was the only time that her brain was silent and at peace.
They didn’t even fight over how to put on the toilet paper roll! I jokingly brought it up one time as the one thing that can break up any good realtionship, and Christine just said, “yeah, Michelle and I disagree on that. She thinks the paper should feed from the bottom, I think it should feed from the top. Neither one of us will concede to the other and we keep putting the role on “our way”. We just laugh about it, and sometimes, just to mess with her, I turn it around after she’s put a new one on!”
To add to this tragedy, Michelle and Christine had been planning a move to BC before the end of this year. Michelle needed hip replacement surgery that was scheduled for the week after her unexpected death. All they were waiting for was Michelle to heal from the surgery, and then their new life in BC was going to begin. They were both thrilled to be moving to BC - back to where Christine grew up, and the place that Michelle fell absolutely in love with on a vacation last year when she finally visited. They were "this" close to having a wonderful life in the place they both wanted desperately to be, to live out their days together.
Those who know Christine, know she is someone who is calm, focused and in control. These past weeks, I have seen her turn into someone who has completely lost her way, and is unable to reconcile herself with the 30-40 years she likely has left in a world without her soul mate. Christine has decided, and her grief counsellor agrees, that it would be therapeutic for her to go to BC to spread Michelle's ashes. Though I know the thought of going there alone breaks her heart, Christine also knows it’s what Michelle would have wanted her to do, and she hopes that by taking Michelle’s ashes to BC, it will start the healing process.
She has also realized that she can't give up all of their pets - the animals that she and Michelle loved so much, so she will not be making the journey alone. She has decided to keep her dogs Bailey and Lilo, who will be her trusty sidekicks and travelling companions on the long drive west, or if she decides to fly out, will be waiting for her with unconditional love when she gets back.
When I asked Christine about launching this campaing for her she said "No one is going to help me go to BC! No one cares about me that much" Lets prove her wrong (for once) and make her realize that she has, and will continue to impact people's lives more than she will ever know or recognize. Christine - may the future look brighter as you travel towards the setting sun!