Through the Veil

Chris died to this world this morning and awoke to the brilliance of Christ’s own light. When I imagine his joy, his peace, his wholeness, I can’t say I would want him to return.

But on this side, our hearts are broken. The last severals days brought new levels of suffering for Chris, and suffering he no longer understood. I had to make decisions on his behalf–a very painful process, but one I felt guided in consistently and kindly by the people around me. I didn’t feel alone.

Chris’s passing through the veil was calm and quiet, just a deeper and deeper sleep. He was surrounded by his family and mine, as well as our older two children. We are spent with grief, but we have been OK.

A funeral for Chris is planned for this Thursday, December 17th, at 10:00 a.m. in Birmingham. I will post further details as I know them. Please please come if you can.

145 thoughts on “Through the Veil

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    Reply
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    Reply
  6. Laura Tabbut

    Sarah and Family,
    I have been praying for you this week since I found out. You were often on my mind at random times this fall, but I was unaware of what you were going through. I believe that it was the LORD. May you find peace during this time of loss.

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  7. Kristi Springer Connell

    I am gutted. Chris was a wonderful friend and I loved him dearly. It was such a gift to work alongside him in youth ministry. Words are utterly failing me right now.

    All my love and prayers are with you and your babies, Sarah. How I wish I could hug you right now! I’m so deeply sorry.

    Reply
  8. Annie (Erhardt) Reed

    Sarah, hearing this news, my heart breaks for you. But your words of faith have moved and challenged me profoundly. Thank you for sharing this devastating journey so beautifully, and for having such expansive, sacrificial love for your husband, as well as such a bedrock trust in the Lord.

    Reply
  9. Luke McKay

    I’m so sorry, Sarah. I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through but my heart breaks for you anyway. Your kids are incredibly lucky to have such a brave and strong mom to look after them. Best wishes from Montana to you and your family.

    Reply
  10. Laura Tubbs

    Sweet Sarah, I know I haven’t seen you in years and years but you hold such a special place in my heart with so many fun memories. I am devastated by your loss. It is unfathomable. I send you peace and light as you navigate this difficult time. Know that you and your children are in my thoughts. Much Love, Laura

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  11. Bekah Weir

    Dear Sarah,
    We haven’t met in person, but my husband and I were introduced to your story by shared mutual friends in Birmingham, and have been following along these last few months. There aren’t adequate words to address this kind of loss, but I felt compelled to say how incredibly sad and sorry I am that your beloved has been called Home so much sooner than either of you hoped and prayed for. We have been praying for your family regularly, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks and months. We pray that your hearts would be flooded by the peace of God that passes understanding, and that your faith would continue to deepen and grow as you walk this road. Your words have touched me deeply, and I’ve been encouraged, inspired, and even convicted by your and Chris’s faith in this very deep and dark valley. It has been beautiful and amazing to behold. Glory be to God.

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  12. Lindsey Murphy

    Sarah, we grieve with you. You don’t know me- my husband drummed for Alison’s concert and we’re friends with Ruth- but we have been lifting you up in prayer without ceasing the last few months and will continue to do so. You are not alone- the saints are surrounding you and are happy to serve however you need in the months and years to come.

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  13. Marilyn Kolasa

    Dearest Sarah and Family,
    Although we have never had the pleasure of personally knowing you and Chris, we are friends of Rusty and Monica Phillips and have held you and your precious family in our prayers as they have shared your journey with our prayer group. Our heats ache as we continue to pray for God’s comfort during your time of profound sorrow. May you “hold to God’s unchanging hand” 🙏 in Jesus’ precious name,
    Renard and Marilyn

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  14. DWH

    Sarah, we are so so sorry for your loss, and we are so thankful Chris is now fully known and held by the One he was named after. Truly he was a Christ-bearer, and what a light he held within him. It’s warm glow was felt by all who knew him, and I feel it still. I hold it as a physical memory of Christ’s embodiment in my brother and friend. I’m so thankful for Chris and for you Sarah, and your family- the way you all hold Christ’s Light and Love. Although I feel such deep pain rolling through my depths, like thunder waiting to strike in cries, I know it’s the sign of Great Love felt and known and my heart is full and thankful. And although I feel the shape of this absence as as sorrow, I sense it is also filled with Great Glory. I earnestly pray this thorn can be used by God to pin back the veil that Chris is now on the other side of, face to face with The Father, so I too can see more of what he saw and what he now sees, fully. Thanks be to God. We love you all and are lifting you up constantly. May you sense great comfort from the Holy Spirit and the vast and foundational changelessness of the Father’s infinite Love in Christ. Hugs!

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  15. Emily Feely

    Oh, Sarah, I am in tears tonight as I learn of Chris’ death. You both have impacted so many lives. It was such an honor to be a part of his care team and to witness your spiritual strength. Your family is so loved. Please know you are in my prayers.❤️

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  16. Wendy Williams

    Dear Sarah, I am so sorry you have to face this loss and grief. I pray the Lord will continue to cover you and your children with his enduring mercy and compassion and grace, that every day He will demonstrate to you his steadfast love. He is near to the broken-hearted and saves those crushed in Spirit. Let this truth carry you in the darkest of moments. He will not fail you. You are loved and held in prayer. Praying for rest for you and peace beyond understanding and moments of joy and laughter even in the midst of such great sorrow.

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  17. Jeanne Dean

    We are so saddened to hear about Chris. We are praying for you and your precious children that you would feel the presence of Christ and the certain hope of His promises. Love Jeanne and David Dean

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  18. Adam Babarik

    Sarah,
    My prayers have been with you and Chris since hearing of his diagnosis in September. I will always be grateful for the time and kindness (and patience) you both gave me when Chris and I were roommates in ’07-’08. Witnessing your friendship and love for one another in that year leading to your marriage was a true blessing, and you have both remained for me a positive example of the goodness that human marriage can bring to the world. Chris introduced me to so many good things…it is hard to conceive of the world without him. Please know that I am mourning with you in this time. May you continue to receive God’s grace through prayer and your community of support in these coming days and weeks, and may your children and all who are with you also be sustained by the same.
    Sincerely, Adam

    Reply
  19. Rebecca Thompson

    Sarah,

    This was very hard news to me yesterday. I had already wept a lot as I prayed on Sunday and was fasting and praying for you and Chris yesterday when I found out the news. I certainly wept for you then too.

    Psalm 112:4a – “For the upright, there rises light in the darkness.”

    Revelation 7:15b & 17 – “…and He who sits on the throne will shelter them with His presence”…”For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

    I am thankful it was a peaceful passing and for the peace the Lord provides to His children in circumstances like this. Throughout today, after reading Psalm 112:4 and Revelation 7:15 this morning, my prayers for you and the kids and the rest of your family have especially focused on experiencing the Lord’s presence and light. I am thankful you have experienced the Lord’s presence, but I will pray that you will continue to feel it in the days ahead and that, in the midst of the very real darkness, you would never lose sight of the light that is always rising, that has raised Chris, and that will one day raise us as well. Praise be to Christ, our Lamb, for the victory He has accomplished. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

    In Christ with love,
    Rebecca Thompson

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  20. Kim & Curt Swank

    “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15. How wonderful to think of Chris being welcomed into heaven and the Father’s open arms! But we grieve for you and your family, Sarah, and we will continue to lift you up to the Father who loves you best. Our hearts are with you.

    Reply
  21. Bevin Rousopoulos

    Sarah, I am devastated for the loss you and your children are enduring and grateful Chris’s suffering is over. Chris and I were neighbors as kids, but have not been in touch since grade school. I learned of his battle today through a classmate of ours. I have been navigating these waters also, after the loss of my husband in March, also to cancer, and wanted to share two things with you. 1. God loves you. God loves Chris. God loves your children. Lean in to Him and He will bring your heart peace. 2. You can apply for Social Security survivor benefits for yourself and each of your children. It is a monthly, tax free, fairly substantial stipend that will be paid to you all every month until each if your children are 18yrs. This has financially saved us and I hope it helps you also. God bless you and keep you.

    Reply
  22. Fay

    Dear Sarah, I was so distressed and deeply saddened to receive this news, and I am so very sorry for your tremendous loss. Please know that my heart is with you, and that you and your entire family are in my prayers and on my mind as I mourn with you. May the love of family and friends bring you strength, peace and comfort.

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  23. Joel Davis

    Godspeed Christopher!
    See you soon, in what may be mere seconds where you now dwell.
    Sarah- we will keep holding you and Jesse, Ruthie, Andrew, and Mary up in prayer.
    God Bless you!

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  24. Yvonne Green

    Was not ready for your words posted today… but so thankful that you and your family are surrounded by friends and loved ones as you walk these days ahead. May the Lord overshadow you with his abundant peace.

    Reply
  25. Brad Rutkowski

    I am so incredibly sorry for your loss! Chris was one of the kindest individuals I’ve ever met and he made everyone around him a better person. Those of us who knew him from high school are devastated to learn of his lost fight with cancer and want to help you and your family as much as we can. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Please continue to post here with anything that you need so that those of us who can help, will. God bless you!

    Reply
  26. Ann Jett

    Sarah, My heart aches for you and your children. Chris’ physical presence will be missed by all but yet his spirit remains with us. Hold on tight to those sweet kiddo’s, they will always be a precious reminder of Chris and will be a great comfort to you.

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  27. Emily Blair

    Sarah & kids, Grieving with you and remembering Chris with appreciation for his life. I may not have known him very well, but every encounter I had with you both is a treasure. Our love to you all.

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  28. Hunter Van Wagenen

    So, so sorry for you all, thank you for your beautiful testimony of entrusting him to the Lord now. Praying for God’s mercy on you and the kids and all your family and friends.

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  29. Tony Nord

    So sorry to hear this. We grieve with you all. May God’s grace and mercy surround you in a very special and tangible way in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

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  30. Kristin (Kiefer) Fuller

    Oh Sarah I am so sorry for your loss. We are lifting you and your family up in prayer and pray God’s comfort over you.

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    1. Beth Hickey

      Matt and I are heartbroken for you and your kiddos, but praising God that Chris is in eternal glory. What a beautiful reunion that must have been! May God wrap you in His arms and carry you through this time. Chris was a great friend at Wheaton and he will be missed by many!

      Reply
  31. Matt Jewell

    I am so sorry to hear this news. Please know our thoughts are with you and I’m so grateful for Chris. I was honored to know him and may the Lord comfort your family.

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  32. Bonnie McMaken

    Beloved and precious Sarah, how dear you are to our Savior who weeps with us. Baby Wells and I will be there on Thursday to honor the life of your relentlessly kind and wonderful husband and share in your deep sorrow. We love you.

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  33. Hailey Kingsley

    Just awake to the news now. Shocked. Devastated. Mourning the loss of our friend. Wanting to be there with you physically. Grateful you and your children are surrounded physically by so many and in spirit by us and so many more. Holy Spirit please hold us all❤️

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  34. Louise Ferrebee

    I’m so sad to hear of about Chris. And yet, what comfort we have knowing he is no longer suffering and now in the presence of our Lord. That said, our grief and sadness here on earth is very real and deep. May God comfort you and your children with His Word. May He surround you now and in the weeks and months to come with the support of family and friends. May you feel the many, many prayers said on your behalf.

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  35. Sara Baugh

    Sarah, My heart hurts for you and your family. We don’t understand it this side of heaven, but God is faithful, and Chris’ pain is forever gone. He is with his Lord and Savior. God bless you, dear Sarah. My prayers are continually with you and your family.

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  36. Whitney

    Sarah our hearts are broken and words seem lost so we cry and pray for you and the kids and try to rejoice that Chris is home- complete, whole and cancer free in Christ’s embrace. He will not be forgotten. You and your kids are ever in our hearts. May you know and feel the nearness of Christ in these days.

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  37. Sandra Coir Bilbrey

    Sarah, my heart breaks and yet rejoices. Giving thanks that Chris and you were able to have family there together. How the staff cared for you when others could not, giving praise to our Father for his love and strength He blesses you with daily.

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  38. Nick Conner

    We’re comforted to know that Chris is with his Savior, and deeply saddened but ever trusting in the goodness of the Lord for what this means for you and your children. We will keep you and your family in our prayers Sarah. Thank you for your reflections during this season and allowing us to enter into it with you.

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  39. Sandra Hoekstra-Lower

    Sarah, my heart aches for you and your children. I just heard for the first time last week of the difficult journey you and Chris have been on. I am so sorry for your loss. I pray you find comfort in Christ.

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  40. Susan Sjogren

    Holding you in prayer, Sarah. Mourning with you and celebrating Chris’s earthly life and now eternal life.
    ‘“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19

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  41. Nikki

    I love you and your family with all I’ve got. Jesus, sweet Jesus, You are everything. We’re holding onto Your promises for today and tomorrow.

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  42. Kirsten Guidero

    I am so very sorry to hear this. You all have been in my prayers since I found out and you will remain in them.

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  43. Natalie Smith

    Sarah, we have never met but I am friends with Alan. I am so encouraged by your words. What a beautiful shining light you and your husband are. Thank you for sharing because you have definitely touched me through your story and I am praying that you are comforted and lifted up in peace.

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  44. Laurie Rogers Powers

    Sarah, from the moment I heard about Chris passing into his eternal home, I have cried out to our Father for His mercies upon you and your families. You have so graciously allowed us to journey along with you in these difficult days and I pray you will continue to be surrounded with so much love and care. I am deeply sorry for your loss, yet rejoice in the knowledge that you WILL see your Chris again. Continued prayers over you Sarah, and your children.

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  45. Anonymous

    Our prayers for our Father’s deep comfort and compassion to surround your whole family. Heartbroken for each of you, and celebrating Chris’s seeing Jesus face to face. Praying from Michigan with love,
    Sue and Mark

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  46. Johannah & Jonas

    Sarah,
    I keep being struck by how intentionally kind Chris was toward me and Jonas the last time I saw you guys. He took special care to draw me out and connect with me. What a good and kind man. He was a gift and will be very dearly missed. It is clear that Chris is now so deeply consoled and well and alive in Christ, but I am so grieved for you all. Much love and prayers to you and yours.

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  47. Stewart Ruch III

    Chris was a son of Church of the Resurrection and, Sarah, you are our daughter. We thank God for the exemplary ministry of Christ the King Anglican to whom you also belong. But we especially thank God for the life of Chris who is a sheep of Jesus’ fold, a lamb of His flock and a sinner of His own redeeming. What a man he was. What an artist. What a profound Christian. How we love him and how we love you, Sarah.

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  48. Linda Dewberry

    Sarah, I’ve been a friend of your mother’s since coming to Westminster 11 years ago and have also known your sister and family since then. I’ve only met you once, but you glow. After reading these months of updates, I feel like your friend. Your vulnerability and faithfulness have only pointed us closer to Christ. I weep with you and your family. Thank you for sharing your journey with us and allowing us to pray. Our Westminster family is praying and holding you close.

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  49. Betsy

    As I awoke the morning and read of Chris’ now being fully in the presence of His Lord, my heart went back in time to a Sunday is September. Chris had received the news of the cancer, but was able to be at Church. He and I were on one side of the Church to pray during communion…a boy and his father came to us to ask for prayer…the son was in a dark place. As Chris began to pray…as he went before the Lord to intercede for mercy and light and hope I felt the Holy Spirit resting on the 4 of us…I felt His Presence to be very, very near….I felt Heaven surrounded us. The glory of those moments will stay with me a lifetime.
    Sarah, may the comfort of our Father surround you. Love. Betsy

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  50. Trevor

    I saddened by the worldly loss yet thankful that it is finished and Chris is with his Heavenly Father. What a battle, Praying for you and the family in this season of unknown. Chris has always been a such solid Christian that I have looked up to. What an impact he made through his gift of filmmaking to His Church.

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  51. Dan Stringer

    I’m so saddened to hear this news. Sending deepest condolences from Hawaii. I learned so much from Chris during our time together as college roommates (2002-03). I will always be grateful for his insights on film, art, and culture, which remain with me to this day. Praying for you, Sarah and family.

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    1. Gina Lands RN

      Oh Sarah, my words can never express how sorrowful I am. I watched Chris fight long and hard over the last 2 months, his spirit that of a true warrior! Our gracious God decided to end his journey and call him home today, but his memory will live on especially in the hearts of the nurses on 9West . We love you Sarah may God send you peace and comfort in your time of sorrow!

      Reply
  52. Terry & Jeanette Prisk

    There are no words. And when there are no words the Spirit intervenes for us on your behalf. The Father is weeping with you yet rejoicing with Chris. Only a small chasm between, that is laced with love & comfort & the Hope of eternal life. You will see him again. We are so sorry for your great loss. We loved & respected him so much. He loved Jesus with all his heart & it shined through everything he did- what a legacy. Much love & continuous prayers, Terry & Jeanette

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  53. Jeannie

    Oh my friend. Oh my friend. I’m praying for you. Weeping with you. I’m happy for Chris, that he’s free from suffering and fully alive at last, but I’m really having trouble grasping that he is not here on this side anymore. Words are weak…May God hold you and your littles so tangibly, sister.

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  54. Mark - Venture Church

    My heart and prayers goes out to you and your family. I just lost my sister in law to this world from cancer on Thanksgiving and have been blessed and comforted by your transparency as I have followed your blog. I continue to lift you and your family up in prayer during this time but know Chris will be missed but not forgotten.

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  55. Dee

    Our hearts weep with yours and celebrate that Chris is safe in the arms of his father. May The Holy Spirit be your comforter tonight and the days, weeks, and years ahead. 💔 love, Dee and Scott

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  56. Noel & Greg

    May light perpetual shine upon Chris, beloved brother. We were so honored to be his friends. We love you and are praying continually for you and the kids. May his peace which passes understanding be with you all.

    Reply

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