Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Postscript from mom





Christopher returned to work at Audible in November 2010, at first part-time, transitioning to full-time effort through the next months.  In February 2011, he moved into his own apartment in Jersey City, a 3-flight walk-up, walking distance to the PATH train, restaurants and friends.  He played.  He walked.  He worked.  He wrote.  He read.  He fell in love.  He enjoyed life.


During the summer of 2011 complications began to occur.  Lung infections occurred intermittently, requiring IV antibiotics. The post-transplant gastroparesis became severely problematic, compromising his nutritional status, and necessitated surgery (pyloroplasty and fundoplication).  A jejunostomy feeding tube was surgically inserted in March 2012.  Meanwhile hospitalizations and rounds of antibiotics became more frequent.  On April 10, 2012 he was informed by the Transplant team that there was nothing more they could do.


Christopher came home and his family and friends prepared to say good-bye.  We were then introduced to a nursing team that became invaluable—a nurse, social worker, and physical therapist who became an indispensable and integral part of our lives.  During the next months family and friends filled our house, sharing time with Christopher, playing scrabble, watching movies and soccer games, chatting about fun-times, updating activities at Audible, discussing books, enjoying tea-time and his pour-over gourmet coffee, sharing meals, laughing and crying. Morning routine included his daily dose of soduko and catching up with the news on his iPad while enjoying a pot of his coffee. When able, he wrote, working on a manuscript.  By January 2013 his status had deteriorated significantly. Episodes of severe breathing difficulties occurred more frequently, morphine requirements increased, fatigue was overwhelming, appetite decreased.  On February 1st, in the company of his nurse and his mom, he announced “I am done”.


On February 20, 2013 at 11:05 pm, with his mom and dad, two brothers, sister-in-law, nephew, and best friend close by, Christopher took his last breath.


Christopher’s cremains (he elected to be cremated because he had had enough poking, prodding and injections in life, and wanted no more in death) were buried on February 25, 2013. 


We thank all our family and friends and Christopher’s many friends for their thoughts and prayers as we walked through this part of our journey with Christopher.  The wake was indeed overwhelming.  So many people…waiting an hour outside in the cold on Sunday afternoon.  Friends from grammar school and high school, old teachers, friends from Georgetown, some coming from Colorado and England, people from Audible, including the CEO and the guy who hired him initially, plus the audible “tea ladies” and his close working cronies.  His doc from HUP.  Of course, his nurse here and the social worker who were such a tremendous part of our lives these past months. And our wonderful family.  Such a tribute to Christopher, a testament to how many lives he touched.  The funeral was the same, overwhelming with people.  The service was inspiring, the priest doing his homework, talking about Chris with the passion that Chris had, even though he did not know him directly.  We had a police-escorted caravan of 50 cars driving the 32 miles to the cemetery.  The repast was full of tears not yet spent, but also laughter as stories continued.  Christopher has a huge collection of books, most of which he had read.  He was categorizing them electronically with the intention of distributing them to friends.  So  we brought about half of them to the repast and spread them out on tables so friends could take those that they wanted.  A wonderful tribute to Chris and a joy to all his friends who could take home a piece of Chris.  As the people left, books in hand, each one had a story or a reason for taking the selections they did.  Christopher did indeed make a mark.


Christopher is now at peace, breathing freely.


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