A Letter To My Beloved Brother!

Dear Christopher,

It’s amazing how a heart can feel so full and so empty at the same time. With you gone there is this piece of me that is missing something but at the same time that piece of me is so full and happy with memories. 

You stole our hearts with you great big hugs, goofy grin and childlike naivety. When you left us it broke our hearts. 

You should have seen dad cry at your funeral. It was the first time I have ever remembered Dad crying. It broke my heart. Oh, I get it. You were his little boy. Although you were an adult, you were always his baby. I loved how you would climb up into the recliner with him (all 6’0 and 130+ lbs) and snuggle right it. That ratty chair still has a permanent dent on that one side you would always sit on. Even years after you had passed, that chair stood there as a reminder of all the joy and laughter your brought to our house. 

I love thinking about the times that you would sit at the foot of Dad’s chair and giggle as you would try to take off his dress socks. Dad’s socks were always pulled up so high, like seriously up to his butt I’m sure, that once you finally got that sock was off, oh man, would you laugh. It sounded like a hyena! Absolutely ridiculous but absolutely precious. And then you would go after the other. You sure did love socks and feet. You were always so determined, and often so naughty. 

Oh and did you ever get away with murder, and as your siblings, we didn’t really care all that much. Oh yes, we would have loved it if you got scolded once in a while when you would wind up and smack us one out of nowhere, but instead of sympathy for our tears we were told, “Well then, just move out of his way!” And rightfully so. Every time you would go to hit one of us, you would give a light warning wave and then WHAM, there it is….What I would give to be able to grasp that hitting hand of yours and wrap it around my neck in a hug and gently say for one last time, “Do not hit Christopher. Be gentle Christopher.”

Did you know that mom has never gotten rid of that ratty broken tape cassette player that you would spend hours at? Yeah, it’s still there. Tape keeping it closed and all. You would crouch there on your honches (I don’t know how you sat like that for so long. I can only manage that position for about 15 seconds before my butt starts falling asleep and I slowly tip over) but there you always were squatted, blasting your Evie “Step Into The Sunshine” until one of us would holler over the noise to “Turn that THING down!”. Sometimes, when I hear Brooke blasting her kids music or playing the same song over and over and over again just like you did, I smile and just want to hear your playlist again. 

You were a strange duck Mr. Christopher. Nothing got you giggling more that having a sock thrown at your face or the wet rag at the dinner table. It would bounce off and you would chant, “More, More, More”. A glutton for punishment you were. Oh how I wish I could remember exactly what your voice sounded like. Slow and raspy like a sleeping child but yet full of life like that child just got it’s second wind. And that twinkle in your eye. We knew there must have been brilliantly sneaky thoughts going through your head. Sometimes you would get put in time out for whacking one of us good, but you would always slowly sneak off your seat on the couch or just move over just enough to be a nuisance and show some defiance. Or we would haul you away from your beloved music player and you would slowly creep back into position without any of us noticing. You were such a sneaky little monkey. 

Remember how stubborn you were. Seriously, between mom’s Friesen blood and dad’s Bekkering blood running strongly through your viens, we had no power over you at all. Oh man, my arm hurts just thinking about how strong your grip was. When you wanted to go somewhere and take someone with you, they had NO CHOICE but to go. You would grab their arm or hand and pull and very rarely could you be pulled away from what you wanted. And if you wanted that remote, YOU GOT THAT REMOTE. I loved having those tiny power struggles with you, which would end up with you (who was always far larger than me) sitting on my lap in the chair with the remote firmly in your grasp, turning the volume up and down and changing the channel as soon as a “good part” would come on. Little did you know, we had a second remote in the other hand so we could undo your channel changes or volume shifts.

I miss how much you loved candles and birthdays. How you would cover your eyes and moan when we sang happy birthday to you. I miss mom and dad bringing you to basketball games and knowing that exact moment that you arrived. From the bench or the floor I would hear the familiar, “Lights, Lights!” and then “Woo-wee!” I miss you playing with all of those loud baby toys. You were a regular DJ with that ABC toy. It was constant, “C–c–c–c, ccccc, d-d-d-ddd dd d woof, meow, woof woof moo.” Did you know that that toy has survived all these years. After 12 more kids, it’s still as annoying as ever. And let’s not even mention your beloved “Tickle Me Elmo” (or That Siezure Toy as it was often referred as). You would hug that thing and just laugh your pants off when it would do it’s thing. 

Speaking of seizures, those weren’t fun for anyone! You seriously scared us at times. So many times I remember sitting with you watching TV, and I would look over and see your mouth start to curl down and a light moan escape from your lips. That look in your eye allowed me into your soul and it saddened me that you seemed so scared for what was to happen. I’ll let you in on a secret. I was scared too. I would gently call, “Christopher, it’s okay!”, and that would snap you out of it for a moment. But only for a moment. Then the lips would curl and another moan would escape your lips. “Christopher it’s okay!” After many years we all knew the drill. Get you on the ground and move anything away that may hurt your. I wish I could say that I was brave for you all the time. But I can’t. Sometimes I would helplessly watch as you would jerk around but often times I would hide away until I knew the worst of it was over. 

And Chris, you cannot forget how great of a mom you had. She would sit there by you through it all and tell you that it would be alright. And things got scary, like you turning blue scary, I can still see the tears come to her eyes and she just hoped and prayed that you would finally take a breath after what always seemed like an eternity. And then, in the midst of it all, through tears, she would assure us that all would be well and God has it all in his control. Then you would gasp and we all would breathe again ourselves. That mom of ours is one strong lady!

Remember, when you broke your leg during that one seizure and had to spend weeks and weeks in the hospital. Remember when Carisa had to take the night shift once in a while and make sure you so that you didn’t crawl out of bed. Seriously, your leg was broken but you would try to stand up on it like nothing was wrong. You were such a goober! Your pain tolerance shocked us all. If you ever cried, we knew you were incredibly hurt. 

I wish I could rehash of all the great memories that we shared together but I think that some of those memories are best left between my heart and yours. That’s what keeps my heart feeling so empty and yet so full. Knowing how precious our time together was but missing it all the same. 

What I do want to say is thank you. 
Thank you for showing me what its like to have unconditional love. 
Thank you for helping me gain a heart that knows compassion. 
Thank you for giving me a childhood that didn’t revolve selfishly around me and all my desires but that showed me that there are much more important things in life. 

Thank you for paving the way for Jason and I to begin our relationship. You obviously don’t know this but It was that day after your passing that he called for the first time. It was so refreshing, that while in the midst of missing you so badly he called and let me talk about you and then not talk about you but hide a piece of you in my heart.

Sometimes I mourn that he will never get to meet you in this life. But then I think that maybe…it’s for the best. HA! You would have kiss attacked him and hugged him so hard that you most surely would have sucked the life right out of him and caused him to run for the hill. You also know that Dad would have just stood there laughing as I died of embarrassment and pleaded with him to get you off of Jason. 

You could always sense a good heart. And Jason has one of those. You would have like him. 

It’s been 10 years Christopher. Time has flown. I have changed. YOU have changed. You have no clue that I am writing this letter to you, because you are in the presence of Jesus. Your battle is over, your brain is healed and there is no pain. You are free to sing, “Jesus Loves Me” in his presence because you are his child and have always known it. All through the years I prayed and prayed that God would perform some miracle and you would wake up and be like the rest of us. But God’s miracle was taking you out of your suffering on earth and bringing you to his glory. So sing, my dear brother Christopher. Praise that glorious God we are serving and one day, I will join you and we will sing for his honor as well!

With heart overflowing with love and gratitude,
Your ever adoring sister,

If you have any memories you’d like to share, please do so on the comment section below (not on Facebook). I would love to be able to look back on this post and read the comments and see some of your great memories or words of love too! (Facebook isn’t so great for that, things kind of get lost.)

Chris with my dad at my sister’s wedding. 
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  1. Stephanie says:

    Thanks Kat – Makes me feel things afresh that were a little “too” forgotten. Good to feel things from your perspective. I only met Chris once and he was in fact in front of the cassette player, rocking on his haunches. I worked at his group home for a short time and it gave me a glimpse as to what his life might have been like. I’m thankful for that. I agree that he has the most amazing Mom and Dad, whose strength and love are admirable. I wish my kids knew their Uncle Christopher and could know that compassion and selflessness. I will try harder to teach them. I think that in addition to your family’s strong faith, Chris is a connection for you siblings that makes your relationship tight. He made you all wonderful people, different from each other but with attributes you might not have had otherwise. Missing him today. Rejoicing that he his whole and with Jesus. Love

  2. Lowell & Julie says:

    Awww, so beautifully written, Kat. What a great way to document/share Christopher memories- I may have shed a few tears. I definitely remember his big smile and exuberant self at basketball games- so sweet!

  3. Debbie says:

    Unfortunately I never knew Christopher but this tribute had me in tears. He seemed like such a special spirit. I loved the part about him climbing up on your dads lap in his recliner. What a blessing that Christopher was sent to such a wonderful family. Thinking of you and your family,

  4. ebekkering says:

    Hello Kathryn, thanks for writing this. For us that never got to fully understand him but knew he has a loving Spirit, we now get a more memories of him. Chris’ cousin Eric

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