Last month a very dear soul left this earth. It was a quiet passing but her loss reverberated throughout my family, church, community, and as I would soon discover, throughout the country.
There aren’t many people who come into our lives, outside of our parents or spouse, and leave a mark on our hearts so profound that when they’re gone we long for one more smile, glimpse, or opportunity to be in their presence. That was Christine Bailey.
I have known Chris all my life. This woman was a mover and shaker, but not someone you would likely have seen in the newspapers or featured online. A single mother who raised her son to be a good and decent human being, she worked hard to live a good life but remembered to stop and smell the roses along the way.
Christine was a devout Christian who never hesitated to share how good God was to her and her family. As her sister once said, Chris wasn’t a “holy roller” and she never discounted your personal beliefs, but she wasn’t shy about singing God’s praises.
What I loved about Christine was that she was generous with her time, resources, and her love. When her son and his first wife divorced, Chris maintained a relationship with her ex-daughter-in-law. She couldn’t turn off the love she had developed for her and she didn’t see any reason why she had to. It wasn’t just because of the children (her grandchildren), it was because she was Chris. When her son remarried, this time to a woman with four children of her own, Chris took them all in and treated them like family. In her mind there was no such thing as step-grandchildren. She didn’t see why she couldn’t love her son’s first wife and his second.
I love how Chris always looked for the good in people, never failing to give first, second, third, and even fiftieth chances to people she believed in. Someone at her funeral said if everyone Chris had loaned money too had paid her back, she’d be a millionaire. Chris’s philosophy was that if she had it to give, she would give and God would sort out the rest.
Chris was a breast cancer survivor but when the cancer came back this last time you could see her becoming weaker and less willing to fight. I suppose one could say that she lived a good life. She loved, laughed, and enjoyed life to the fullest and it was reflected in her voice, her smile, and in her face. It was rare that you didn’t hear her laughing or see her smiling. Someone once told her, “No one is that happy.” I beg to differ. You see, Christine had joy, she wasn’t just happy. There’s a difference.
I know I’m a better person because I knew this extraordinary woman and I count myself blessed to have known this beautiful soul.