Chris died on Friday, 12th December, peacefully at home, with her family. She stayed positive to the end and I never heard her utter a single word of complaint or self pity.
Her funeral and a memorial service celebrating her life are to be held on Monday 22nd December.
Tonight, quite by chance, I found a birthday card she had sent me a few years ago...
I was finding it very hard to come to terms with losing her until I spoke with her husband, Paul, and I read the tributes her daughters, Caroline and Vikki, have written. Chris would have wanted us to think of the happy times; the good memories, so I'd like to share some of the things she achieved in her 59 years...
Chris was a keen runner and a member of Southport Waterloo Athletic Club, who describe her as:
"Club coach at Southport, long time helper/supporter at club races and multiple marathoner."
She raised thousands of pounds for charity over the years and her "Just Giving" page for 2013, only months before she herself became ill, reads:
"Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page. I am thankful still to be running marathons! The London Marathon on 21st April will be my 17th London Marathon and 31st Marathon in total. I like to run a marathon for a different charity each year. This year I have chosen Cancer Research UK, and dedicate it to family and friends who have fought or are fighting the disease - with special thoughts of the families of those friends, especially of those whom I have lost to cancer. Advances in research will continue to improve survival rates"
Unfortunately these advances did not come quickly enough for Chris.
The list of her racing achievements goes on and on but this is only one part of the story. Christine was first and foremost dedicated to her family. Wednesday, 17th December, was her eldest daughter, Caroline's 30th birthday. Caroline wrote:
"Special thanks to my awesome husband for recreating my 3rd birthday cake, my beautiful sister for the book of photos and messages from my family and friends and to my AMAZING mum for being super organised writing my card early!"
I would have expected no less of Chris; who else would have thought to bring along my birthday present to her daughter's wedding a couple of years ago, in case she didn't see me again before we went back to France?!
The strength and closeness of her family and extended family is witness to the love she and Paul shared. It touched everyone who came into contact with them. She was a very loyal friend. Never a birthday, anniversary or special occasion missed; always there and always in just the right way.
Chris lived life to the full from her involvement with the Mothers' Union to holidays in the camper van, the happiest times being those spent with her family...
Even during her gruelling treatment this year she climbed Pendle (June 24th)
She and Paul went up to the west coast of Scotland, an area the family had visited on holiday (July 12th)
She took part in the Southport 10k run.... walking some of it but jogging when she could (September 28th)
And she celebrated an early Christmas whilst her younger daughter, Vikki, was home from Canada (November 29th).
You've always been there for me, Chris, through good times and bad. You gave far more to life than you took from it. It has been an honour to be your friend and I echo my son, David's words:
"Amazing person, gone too soon but achieved more than 99% could in 100 lifetimes".
March 12th 1955 - December 12th 2014