I spent this weekend in Bloomington, Indiana at the memorial service for my friend Janine’s cousin, Christian Zabriskie. I only met him for the first time over the Thanksgiving holiday. But meeting him and his family touched my life in a way I had never expected. Although, knowing Janine I should have realized her family would be just as incredibly awesome as she is it wasn’t until I was told that Christian had passed away that I realized the impact they had made on my life.
Seeing all the people who were at the memorial and learning how all his friends came together to help his mother and sister gave me hope for humanity. They created a Google doc where people could sign up to bring meals to his family every day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner! If I remember correctly his Mother was told that she wouldn’t have to go to the store for another two weeks. His friends also put together a video to show through the service filled with pictures and videos of him with friends and family from baby photos through pictures at his 40th birthday party from this past April. There were even buttons that they had made of one of Christian’s drawings, everyone was wearing them and asking where they could get one.
But the most amazing thing for me, was the feeling of love that I felt while sitting in a room full of strangers. I was there to support my friend, to help her and keep her company. But I never once felt out of place or like I didn’t belong. I only knew Christian for a very short time but I feel the world has lost an incredible person. His friends have organized a memorial fund to honor his memory. If you are so inclined to make a donation, I know they would be grateful.
The most touching thing I found was the final line of his obituary: “In lieu of flowers, or contributions please treat someone kindly today.” I believe we should all honor the memories of those we love by treating someone kindly every single day.