Sunday, June 6, 2010

Life Altering Events

In Memory of My Beautiful Daughter
Julie Ann Christiansen

Once upon a time, I was going through a terrible time in my life. I decided to keep a journal about what I was going through. The problem was, I didn't want to write down what I was going through because it made it all too real. Words held too much power for me. They seemed too final. It seemed better to just talk around things. It seemed to me that if I just didn't write down what I was going through, I could reverse the events, results, and feelings much more easily than I could if I recorded what was really happening.

Sadly, even if I never write about the great loss I recently suffered, it will not go away.

On Saturday, May 29, 2010, I lost my beautiful daughter, Julie Ann Christiansen. She lost her long battle with depression. I had 34 years with her, and for that I am grateful.

My husband and I have been staying in a Residence Inn in the Boulder, Colorado area since last Saturday dealing with the reality of our loss, spending time with our other children and grandchildren, and doing all those things that must be done after a death. Today, we returned home. I realized that for the past week, I have been wrapped in a very protected cocoon. I was ensconced in a neutral, motel suite where my bed was made each morning, where my room was cleaned and tidied, and where my husband went to the lobby each day to get my breakfast and bring it back to me in my room.

For a time, my sister and her husband were right across the hall. My other children and grandchildren were just a short drive away. My siblings came to my side. My nieces and nephews came from all over the state and from Texas, California and Boston. Friends came from Virginia, and Florida. Many traveled from various parts of the state to be by our side.
I have been surrounded by people who love me, my daughter, my family. I will be forever grateful for the love, support and messages of hope, and peace, and love that came our way. I have been changed by the kindness of others. I hope I can use this lesson of love to help others.

I came home today to a yard full of weeds. I am thankful for them. I need a lot of weeds to pull.

Answers will not come easily anytime soon.

I post this entry only because I wish to honor the memory of a beautiful gift that I held for a little while. I wanted more time with my sweet Julie. I didn't know I didn't have it. I will never again take for granted the days that I have remaining with my other children and my grandchildren. I am sustained by their strength, their support and their love. Each of my beautiful children is a blessing. Their intelligence, sensitivity, wit, sense of fun and good humor has helped me through this time. I am grateful that they have each other, and that they have used this bittersweet time to strengthen their bond of love and support for each other.

For now, I will treasure the memories, take comfort in knowing how many people loved my daughter. I will go forward leaning on the grace that has sustained me throughout this entire life altering event.

Today, I told my husband that I will not be defined by this loss, nor will I allow the wonderful, beautiful, spirited, brave and good spirit of my daughter to be defined by a disease that robbed her of so much.

Life has been forever altered. I will be learning many new lessons on life, loss and love. Mostly, I hope to honor the one that has left us by fully enjoying and supporting the ones that are left.


  1. Sally,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I've spent the last few minutes staring at this screen. I wish I had words of comfort, but I know that words are inadequate. Your post is beautiful. I'm so glad you had so many friends and family to support you...and I'm so, so sorry.

    Damm, it's just not fair.

  2. She was not a girl with depression named Julie. She was Julie, who just happened to have depression. I have heard myself use that description, in an altered way, many times. The one's we love can never be defined by the problems in their lives, and I respect the fact that this will not define you, either. Hurt? Yes. Change? Yes. But you are still Sally, and you will always be Julie's mother.


  3. Beautifully said, Sally. Writing isn't necessarily final as it opens up emotions and takes you in places you might not otherwise go. Write on! Thinking of you today.

  4. Sally,
    Lyndee told me of your tragic loss. I am so sorry. Your tribute is very beautiful and reflects the wonderful, loving person you are. You are very brave. I wish I could find words to soothe you in this time. I'm so glad that your family is need them now. Please know that my thoughts and condolences are with you.

  5. Sally,
    I think about you everyday and know this loss is very hard. Time will heal but you will never forget her and the memories you have her. I still miss my sis but I know she is in a better place and happy where she is at. I believe your Julie is happy and at peace. Your blog is a great place. I will read it often and I am willing ot help you heal from this loss.

  6. Thank you for your courage and for sharing your journey with us. Your words are a gift and a blessing. I am so honored to know you.


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