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Susan Cleveland
July 26th, 2007
Dear Chris,
We still can’t believe you are gone. We still get up and hope there will be an email from you every day. Today is July 24 and you have now been gone for 30 days. We have spent most of the time since we got back from Guatemala on June 29 pleading with the State Department, Congressman Wolf’s office, the American Embassy, The Guatemalan Desk at the State Department to get your apartment unsealed. On July 22 we received a call from Michael, who said Evelyn is so upset from missing you and not being able to get into the apartment to get her belongings. On July 23, I called my friend Ana from work. We knew since Ana was a native Spanish speaker she would know how to handle the Guatemalan people. Ana called up the landlord for me and told them she was your cousin (I know you would have enjoyed that joke). Ana then talked to your friend Michael and he had not read my email that Ana was going to call him, so she was cousin Ana again. Then Ana spoke to Evelyn. Ana told Evelyn how much we loved her and how happy we were that she came into your life and that we were glad Evelyn loved you so much and how much we all miss you.
My friend Laurie said 125 people came to your Memorial Service on July 14. My friend Bob O drove up from NC, my MADD friend Chris came from Richmond, all your Miller cousins came except 3 year old Rachel, your school friends, aunt Abie from NC, and cousin Charlotte, Dean and his wife came, Dad’s friends from work, my boss Carol, Aunt Meta from FL, Uncle Lanny ,Donna and Elliott came from Tangier Island in the Chesapeke and so did many other people. We tried to talk to everyone, who came. Everyone loved the slide show that your Dad, Matt and Andrew made of your life with some of your favorite songs. People emailed and brought by pictures. We hope to have the slide show on the website for the friends and family who could not attend the Memorial service. So many people spoke at the service about you: your Dad, Janet Crosier your PT, Traci Anderson, Lena Rose (your part-time sister), Sara Henrikson, Dave Bachsmid, Dean Greep, Aunt Mary Bodmer, Chip Heyl, Ben Wu, Alison Kelly, (and she also read what Andrew wrote) Uncle Lanny and Aunt Donna Cleveland (hopefully you are getting acquainted with your cousin Patrick who died on Jul 7, 2001), and I had Steve Meserve the minister read what I wrote. Each person spoke about a different time in your life, but everyone remembered your smile and what a kind and compassionate person you were. Your Dad and I were so proud to know that we raised such a nice, caring person.
Each morning I check your email to see if you got any mail from one of the many friends you met in your travels. We have received cards and emails from all over the world; from friends, teachers, neighbors, relatives and people we never even met. So now we know you have several names we never knew about, Monkey, monx (hence the monx42 email address), H in Guatemala so as not to mix you up with the other Cris with no H in his name and Son from the Heyl’s grandson. We know that so many people loved you and will never forget you.
Aunt Beth knew the Mendelsons, and Uncle Tom and Aunt Beth and the Mendelsons played Johann Pachelbel Cannon in D for you at the end of the service as you asked. You also have a new friend now too, Ethan who played the violin at the service. Debra Mendeleson, Ethan’s Mom wrote us a real nice letter after the service. This was Ethan’s first paying job. Ethan will be using the money to buy something special on his adventure to the Swiss Alps. It comforts me to know that he will be carrying a part of you with him when he goes on his trip. Ethan is also an adventurer like you. So it is nice to know that Ethan will be telling people about the Chris he never met in person only by your pictures.
We finally traded in the old Explorer and Dad is having fun playing with his new Trailblazer and you would have had such fun, helping Dad to learn about the new gadgets and toys.
I am still telling everyone my favorite Chris story of how you jacked up the couch to get something out rather than get the broom and flashlight. We tried to give each family that came to the Memorial a pocket angel to remember you by. Laurie and her Mom are getting us some more pocket angles as we ran out. We designed the letterhead for your Memorial Fund in green with your scanned in Chris CMC so that your legacy will go on. Your time with us was so short but you will never be forgotten and your Dad, Andrew, Matt and I will miss and love you forever.
Love Always,
Susan Cleveland, Chris 9-15-81 to 6-24-07