Gene arrived home in Victoria very satisfied with his trip to places of sweet memories, but once again he was faced with the emptiness of life at home, as well as everywhere else on earth for him, without the presence of the love of his life. She had filled his world for so many years and had brought daily happiness to him through the magic of her love.
Chris had become sick with cancer in 1995, and after an operation, followed by adjuvant chemo and radiation treatments, she had left her sick and weary body behind and was promoted into the presence of our Lord Jesus at 8:26AM, January 9th, 1998, while in her own bed with Gene as caregiver, and as he held her hand.
In the selfish sense for him, it wasn’t fair! The very special someone of his life was away from him where he couldn’t be close to her. He could no longer have the joy of holding her warmth, of smelling the fragrance of her hair, of feeling her cling to him, of kissing her, of hearing that melodious voice and of looking into those eyes which were the windows to a vibrantly beautiful soul, a personality of love and gentleness and of sincerity and honesty.
Her very name, Christina, means “follower of Christ”, and that he knew she had been for her entire life, in the truest sense.
Chris had wanted to stay in her home with Gene when the kindly medical people advised other options, and he was so glad to have her there for he couldn’t bear to have her out of his sight. His thought was, irrationally, that as long as he could be with her, caring for her, the unthinkable would not happen. During the final two weeks of her illness, nurses came from the Victoria Hospice to set up medication which Gene would give to her as prescribed, to keep her free from pain and discomfort.
There were many moments to treasure, even in the sadness of the approaching parting of their earthly togetherness. Those times spent by the two of them, with Gene at her bedside, were wondrously precious and tender as they looked into each others eyes and talked of the pleasures of their life as lovers and best friends. Chris loved to talk of their honeymoon at Sauble Beach, of their times on Smoke Lake in Algonquin Park, which was one of their favorite areas to explore by canoe, and where they always caught some of the abundant small-mouth bass and trout; also, of the greatly enjoyed “Two Georges” drift fishing boat out of Boynton Beach, Florida, from which they brought in so many snappers and bonito and cobia, and where she tied into the enormous sail-fish that was lost after it arced like a huge, jeweled vision into the Florida sky, shaking its vibrant beauty free from the hooked tuna it had seized.
They relived their delicious memories of orca watching out of Telegraph Cove, B.C., and the thrill of paralleling the migrating, great gray whales while on the catamaran in ocean waters near San Diego, California.
They hugged and kissed as they recalled how they had met, and of their joy when they had set up homes in the places where they had been privileged to dwell together, in Windsor, London and Victoria. They were gleeful as they recounted the joyous times with their two boys, as well as all of the other kids they had worked with in so many activities, mostly centered around swimming and in Sunday school classes and related outings.
There were so many wonderful memories to enjoy!!
They rejoiced together, as they talked, with great satisfaction and with awe, of how their gracious God had drawn them to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and had led them both into an ever widening knowledge of Christ and of God’s plans for all those that love him. And they had great times thinking of each of the wonderful people in the host of marvelous friends who had met with them in their home Bible study get-togethers and in the weekly, worship times at the Chapels, as they feasted on the Word of God, as well as on other, material goodies in the fellowship gatherings!
Gene tried never to cry in her presence, but one morning at 2:30AM, after injecting the three medications into the butterfly receptacles the nurses had installed, he was caught up in his emotions as he sat there and looked at the closed eyes of that dear face. He silently prayed to the Father of comfort as tears of sadness came. When he had again opened his eyes, there was her soul looking out tenderly at him, and she gripped his hand more tightly while saying, “Don’t worry for me dear, I’ll be going Home soon.” Then, she said, “Bend over here, you big lug, I want to kiss you.” And she hugged him so tightly he thought his neck would crack!
She slipped into coma the next day, and pneumonia came, and Gene felt so helpless. What could he do? So he talked into her ear about special things and told her that he would be okay, that she should feel free to go to the Lord, for He was waiting.
The sympathetic little nurse’s aide had arrived before 8AM to help Gene move Chris onto her side, and to bathe her.
As Gene sat by Chris, imploring the Lord for her comfort, a strong sense of peace came to him. Suddenly at 0825, as he held her hand and talked into her ear, Chris took a long-drawn, deep breath and then ceased breathing for a while. She then took another deep breath, then her eyes slowly half-opened.
Just then, the door-bell sounded, and their wonderful young doctor pushed through as Gene opened the door, and the doctor said, “Where’s Chris?” He rushed into the bedroom and got up on the bed just in time to catch her pulse as her spirit departed from her body. She had gone Home!
Oh!!! The anguish in Gene’s soul was incredible, and beyond words to express! It seemed that reality had gone and, for a moment or two, he thought he would go out of his mind, for it could not and must not be so. His love, his heart, could not have left him. Surely, it was a nightmare from which he would awaken to hear her say, “I love you”.
Gene was vaguely aware that the doctor and the little lady were instantly there to comfort him in their compassion for him, and to help him in his grief. Then, a wonderful sense of peace and contentment enfolded his spirit, and his fragmented soul came together, and he was able to have praise for God in his heart. The doctor said, “Your lady has gone to her God”. And Gene said, “Chris has gone Home to be with our Lord”.
Later on, when he could once again focus his mind, Gene marveled even more at the love and grace of God! He could only believe that God, knowing their love for each other, and being aware of Chris’ lifetime care and concern for his well-being, had arranged that visit by the doctor at that precise moment so he would not break apart.
At a later date, when Gene asked the doctor the reason for his sudden visit to their home at that particular time, he would only respond by saying, “Chris called me.”