Andrea's Letter

     Andrea asked me to post this letter she's written about Chris.

     Chris was... everything to me. Those who knew us best, knew that we were happiest when together. Maybe some would say that we spent too much time together, that we should have had separate friends. In fact, that was something we said to each other more than once. But the truth is, we didn't really want separate friends. We had just the kind of friends we wanted... "Kramer friends" as I called them. We both agreed, recently, actually, that neither one of us had ever had friends quite like them... people we felt truly comfortable with, wether it was going to a bar, getting food poisoning together, going to a concert, or just sitting around at home watching a new DVD or Anime series. They were... are... wonderful people with whom we had found our niche. I think Chris would have wanted them to know how he felt, that they were the kind of friends he knew he would find in Pittsburgh.... the kind of friends who would help him get rid of a maggot infested cooler because he was too afraid to do it himself.... the kind of friends who drove in the middle of the night to wait by his girlfriends side in a hospital the second they heard he was there..... the kind of friends who drove to Boston to go to his funeral even though they knew there would be a memorial service in Pittsburgh for him a few weeks later.... the kind of friends who knew him well enough to be able to go to his favorite bar and order his favorite drink and complete something for him that he never got the chance to complete. I'm just sorry it took him so long to find them and that he couldn't have enjoyed such wonderful friends longer. I only wish he had a chance to tell them what he told me, that he thought of them as the best friends he had ever had.

     Chris told me everything, and I told him everything. I've never had anyone before that I could be so completely honest with, that I could open my heart to and not be afraid that they would laugh or make fun of what I had to say. He understood me like no one else ever has, and I like to think that the opposite is also true.

     This is all so foreign to me, yet at the same time, all too familiar. Those of you who know me, know that I lost my mother to cancer five years ago. Those same people also know how hard that was on me. This is, in many ways, harder. Chris was, as I've said, everything to me. Every time anything of any significance (usually even things of no significance as well) happened to me, I would be on the phone with Chris in a heartbeat. I picked out most of his clothes, planned our meals (which he usually cooked), and worried when he stayed late at work. I shared money, a car, an apartment, a cat, a life with him. Before two weeks ago, I couldn't have imagined my life without him. To be perfectly honest, I still can't. To me, he's still back in Pittsburgh, awaiting my return.

     Chris and I.... we were happy, content, something very few people reach in a life time, let alone at the tender age of 23. He was going to get a promotion in less than a month, and I finally found a job that I was happy at. In fact, on Monday he was going to go into work and ask if he could work that whole week instead of only half, even though he didn't have to. He was upset because he had been working such odd hours that he had been missing out on all the "inside jokes". He missed Chris and Greg and Ducky, and the rest of his team, and was pissed that he was out of the loop because he was working weekends. This may not mean much to many of you, but I know it does to those guys. He told me, the night he died, that he wished he had spent more time with them, and he was upset that he didn't go that Penguin game with them. I regret that it was my fault he didn't go, we had already made plans, I don't even remember what, I'm sure it was something silly that I could have let him off the hook about, but, as everyone else, I thought there would be another opportunity.

     I remember when we first started dating and I asked him about his family. He told me that as he got older, he came to appreciate his father more. He would tell me little stories about his dad... mostly Boy Scout type stories, but I seem to recall them watching a lot of television together. Every time he would make me watch something on the history channel, or one of those other channels he knew I hated, he would say "my dad and I watched this". And I of course would roll my eyes and whine and complain until he put something else on. I know that as soon as I fell asleep he would turn back to it, because one of those channels would be on when I woke up in the morning. I know that he admired his father very much, not because he said so, but because of the way he talked about him. I remember vividly him telling me about a conversation he had with his father before he moved to Pittsburgh. His dad told him how proud he was of Chris that Chris could just pick up and leave everything he knew and start over. That conversation was extremely important to him. And his mother...this was also someone he loved very much. He would call her once every week or two and they would talk, for at least an hour every time. And I would say "well what did you talk about?" and he would say "I don't remember!" They talked about everything and nothing. He thought she was overprotective, but that was also something he loved about her, and I don't think he would have wanted her to be any other way. I saved the best for last because this is something I'm not sure Greg believed or absorbed when I told him at the funeral. The very first time I asked Chris about his brother, Greg, Chris's exact words were "I'm so proud of my brother and how far he's come." Then he proceeded to tell me about Greg and all the difficulties he's overcome in his life. I'm not sure why I remember this so vividly, maybe it was the tone of his voice or the look on his face, but it's something that's stuck in my mind over the years, something that my mind has recalled every time they argued on the phone or whenever he got pissed off at Greg for being so persistent about his "stuff". Greg, Chris loved you and I know he knew you felt the same way about him. If there ever was or ever will be a doubt in my mind about that, all I have to do is recall those words and the way he said them, and I know that he meant them with all of his heart, even though he never got the chance to say them to you.

     Chris moved to Pittsburgh for a reason. And no, I'm not going to say me. He wanted to be with people like him, geeks. No, I'm not insulting him or anyone else. He was a geek, a social outcast, and he knew it. But so did the rest of us, us "Internet people". We found each other, somehow, through IRC. But more importantly, Chris found us. He felt, for the first time in his life, that he fit in. He found people like him, people with the same sense of humor and fear of "the popular people", people with the same way of thinking that he had. Unfortunately, too soon after he arrived, our circles started to dissipate. He blamed himself, but the truth was, things just sometimes happen. People choose separate paths, and too often, they forget about the past. They figure they can always get in touch with those old friends, that there will always be later. Unfortunately, Chris's death has taught us that too often that isn't the case. I hope that this has taught more than one person, that there isn't always a later, and I encourage all of you not to loose touch with each other as you did with Chris. Don't make empty promises or forget to call, you never know what could happen or what you might regret if you don't take five minutes to write that email or pick up that phone. You'll regret it, as I've seen many of you regret losing touch with Chris.

     There's so much more I have to say, but I feel that I should wait until I get back to Pittsburgh and can truly feel the impact of his loss. I've laughed and cried my way through most of the entries in the guest book, and I thank each and every one of you for writing something. It means more than you can know to both myself and his family, who are all truly wonderful people. All I ask is that you remember him for who he was and what he meant to each an every one of you. Losing someone is never easy, but losing someone you love can make life seem damn near impossible. I wish Chris could see how many people loved him.