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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8 Responses to 19 Years of Practicing Grief

  1. Angela Smitj says:

    Beautiful! I always look for your posts. Jody’s daughter Jessica was married a time ago to our Dustin Smith.. Dustin passed away almost 5 years ago, he was in a house explosion, burned almost 80 percent of his body. I miss him so much, he was not only our son, but he was my best friend..! I grieve everyday, looking for peace and comfort.

    Thanks for writing about your son.
    Take care!

  2. Valerie A. O'Donnell says:

    I think of you often Radha and hold you in my heart. Christopher’s violent death brings tears to my eyes. Out of incredible tradegy you have brought amazing good. Your insight into grief has helped so many of us. Your book is an inspiration to all.

  3. Love you, Radha! Big hugs!

  4. Sandor Burstein says:

    Please note correct e-mail address is

    Beth sends love,


  5. Kristin Hill says:

    You are the sweetest, strongest woman. Lighting the way for all of us. Thank you sister.

  6. leslie neale says:

    Putting on UF facebook – love you!

  7. Radha I am always touched by your writings. Thank you!! I was just stunned by how much Chris looks like you. It,s beautiful.
    I hope to see you soon. With love,

  8. nancy fritch says:

    Dear Radha, I will be thinking of you on the 21st. My life is finally starting to approach something that looks vaguely normal. It is 3 years now that Jeremy was taken from me. I will never be normal again but with help from those that have experience in this I am beginning to feel better. Thank you Radha for your strength that you so freely share with people like me.
    Nancy Fritch
    God Bless You

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