Today is the first day that I’ve been home alone, with no friends or family by my side to help cushion the blow of what has happened–the love of my life has died. Those are the hardest words to say or write, but I am now faced with this new truth.
To be this open and exposed with my personal life is uncomfortable, but since my business puts me out into the public eye, and since there is zero chance of me being able to hide this news behind-the-scenes as business carries on, it feels somehow right. Besides, all of you knew Mike too, though my photos, stories, travels, and as I spoke about him on podcasts and in classes. We were so in love, that despite his hermit-level of privacy, it seeped out, as our happiness was uncontainable.
The night he died, I’ve never felt more alone. But in the weeks since, the outpouring of love from around the world has collectively lifted me in a way I didn’t think possible. The gratitude and support that I feel from everyone–strangers, family, dear friends, random acquaintances–means so much to me. With every gift, grocery delivery, flower bouquet, email, and thoughtful comment, my broken heart is put back together a little bit, piece by piece.
My father passed away ten years ago next March. While I would give anything to still have him here, his passing taught me some valuable lessons about how to live my life. His death showed me that life is short, people can be gone in an instant, and that you should spend as many moments of each day with those you love, doing the things you love. Mike and I planned to live the rest of our lives together, but we didn’t put things off for “the future” because both of us knew that life offers no such promises. We lived on our own terms, loved each other with every fiber of our beings, and relished our time together. And I'm glad we did, as I can look back at our time together with no regrets.
These have been the best years of my life, and that’s exactly why I wanted more. But fate had its own plans. Actually, family history of a failing heart had its own plan. Mike was fit, healthy, a vegetarian for decades, and practiced yoga everyday. But you cannot fight genetics. A reality that makes you feel like saying, “well then why bother?” But he wouldn’t like that and would insist that I take care of myself, so I can continue on this adventure. Even if at times I cannot bare the idea of an adventure without him by my side. He was truly the best person I've ever known, and I'm lucky that I was the recipient of his love.
Tomorrow I will get back to work, and learn to cope with this new reality. The support you all have shown me lifts me up, and helps me carry on from minute to minute. I am so incredibly grateful for this community and all your love.
Extra special thanks to some key people are in order:
- The biggest thanks goes to my amazing mother, who thankfully ignored my answer of "no, I'm okay" when she asked me if she should come out, just hours after Mike died. She helped me through the first week when I could hardly eat, swallow, drive, think straight, or sleep. She continued to help through the second week, making me get out of the house and face some "firsts" with her there to support me. You'd be surprised how overwhelming and panic-attack inducing things like the grocery store and driving were, and kinda still are. She helped me sort through Mike's things, haul them up and down stairs, cook for me, clean the cat litter, and most importantly, she reminded me that she survived losing the love of her life, and so can I. Thanks for everything mom.
- Words cannot express the love I feel for my friend Jenifer Lake for fielding all of your emails, coordinating the gifts and for shielding me from having to answer every email myself, and for coming down with her husband Bob to keep me sane in those first blurry days. I love you lady.
- Big thanks to my dear friend Danielle Ricciardi for flying to LA from New York to be my own personal vegan chef. Each bite was filled with love and now my freezer is filled with homemade goodies for the days ahead. Mad love.
- Crazy love for my friends Ileana Rodriguez, Alexia Abegg, Haley Glenn, and Devon Iott for calling and talking about randomness. The joy of talking about "normal" things was such a breath of fresh air, especially with all of my favorite ladies. XOXO
- My heart was so touched by the digital field of flowers started by the always lovely Marcy (otherwise known as Oona). Thanks to everyone that added to the #flowersforchristine group. I looked at every single photo!
- Extreme gratitude to my fellow indie designers that sent me gifts, cards, and the kindest messages. Seriously, for those that think we are all in competition with each other, I am here to say that these women are AMAZING.
- I am so thankful to everyone that took over my classes at Sew L.A. and at Camp Workroom Social, some at a moment's notice. My students mean so much to me and I felt terrible dropping the ball, so thanks to everyone who kept the ship afloat and to all the students for your understanding.
- And huge thanks to all of the locals that have dropped gifts and food on my door and for my pal Jenny Hart for keeping many of my local friends in the know.
If you are local and want to see me, please understand that until today my days have been filled with sorting through Mike’s possessions, dealing with end-of-life arrangements, and all kinds of other logistics. It is only today that I am now on my own without family here, and I need to grieve alone and in private. But trust me that I will need you all more than ever, soon enough.