19 Years of Practicing Grief

As I approach 19 years of practicing grief, I wish to encourage those who are fresher and just beginning the journey to HANG ON!  I, too, was a puddle on the floor.  I, too, wondered if I would ever be happy again, smile again, trust again and laugh again.  The answer is “YES!”

We all have decisions along the way.  Some of mine were:  Should I end my life?  NO!  Should I have a child to replace Christopher?  NO (he is irreplaceable)!  What should I do?  “LIVE and THRIVE,” came from a divine place in me. “You have so much to live for. Your family needs you.” I listened.

My son, Christopher, was shot four times with a hand gun by his school roommate, Mark James Taylor, on March 21, 1996.  He put dishes in the wrong cabinet and an argument escalated.  What should have ended with bruised egos ended in a death, because Mark James Taylor had a gun.  Christopher was 5’4” and 135 pounds.  Mark James Taylor was 6’2” and 260!  I will never understand.

My life and the lives of my family and friends changed forever that day.  It has not been easy.

What I want to encourage is your HOPE!  I am a very happy person today.  I decided my best defense after the intense trauma of losing Christopher was to have a great life.  It became more important to follow my dreams and help other people along the way.  This is what I am doing with my life and it gives me great comfort.  I also know my son, Christopher, and all the rest of my family that have passed are happy (mother, sister, two brothers, two grandfathers, two grandmothers, extended family and friends).  They do not want me down here miserable.  We do have a choice…and I chose not to be miserable.  That does not mean that there are not very difficult times…there are.  I miss Christopher when I am the happiest.  I want to share it with him.  I know deep inside he is with me, but it is not the same when I can’t see his smiling face.

We continue healing until we, too, join our loved ones.  I want to encourage you to open your heart; open your arms and be hopeful for the rest of your life.

Hugs to you all……Radha

Christopher Hotchkiss

Christopher Robin Hotchkiss May 16, 1974 – March 21, 1996 Murdered with a handgun

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