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October 27, 2016

Celebration of Life video

For those that were not able to attend Christina's celebration of life we have posted the video presentation here.

Here is the video of Cole doing is dry run speech, powerful!

~ Today we are hopeful ~

October 26, 2016

KEZI News story follow up

Jennifer Richardson from KEZI out of Springfield is doing a follow-up story on their morning news cycle.  If you remember Jennifer did an interview of our family including some of our foster children from Texas and Oregon.  This coverage assisted in a boosting the number of donors for our fundraiser to get us to Germany for treatment.  This time he fundraiser is Christina's dying wish, to serve others! Jennifer will post the follow-up story online for those that are not local, or for those that just want to see the interview.  I am recording the 6AM and 11AM on comcast channel 9.  I will add the online link once available.


~ today I am hopeful ~

October 23, 2016

Thank You!

A huge thank you to all ya all (Christinaism) for pulling off a beautiful service for my sweet pea!  Christina is at the top of the list of contributors to her own service, which exemplifies the gift giving nature of a beautiful beautiful mind, spirit, and soul.  Special thanks to Vicki Bern, Mary Skillings, Lene' Garret, Karri Manning, and my super star son Cole for beautiful speeches.  Christina kept me out of the planning activities, therefore I will just say thank you to all of you for loving support through your work, or just the thoughts, prayers, love, and laughter during her celebration. Christina's legacy will live on through all of us!

I am honor by both Michael and Leslie for being the first family to be the recipient of Christina's dying wish.  Christina and I know first hand how difficult it is to accept help, and we learned over the years that it isn't just about us.  Giving to others in need is therapeutic, and for me this campaign to raise funds in Christina's honor is helping me through this process.

Please consider donating to this fund Christina's Last Wish.  This is the start of a bigger campaign, so please keep coming back to Christina's blog, and subscribe to get email updates.  Also consider sharing her blog with family and friends. Jennifer Richardson from KEZI news out of Eugene is putting together an update to our interview last year.  Once she tell me it is ready to air I'll post an update for the time and channel for the locals.

For those that were not able to Cole will post the videos to Christina's blog in the next few days.

Warmest regards,

Christina's Husband
~ Today I am hopeful ~

October 17, 2016

Christina Lee Garrett
February 8, 1971 – October 16, 2016

On Sunday the waves in Christina Garrett’s life calmed, and her soul became the ocean. The timelessness of her spirit will always be there, in the space between the waves, where love is stronger than fear and hope is stronger than despair, where love is not difficult to find and peace is impossible to avoid.  All those whose lives were touched by Christina can feel the glorious harmony of the ocean because she dedicated her life to making that space exist right here in everyday life.

Born February 8, 1971, Christina is the daughter of Mike and Judy Morse and the free-spirited sister to four uniquely gifted brothers: David, Danny, Sammy and Stevie.  She earned her undergraduate degree in human services and her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.  Christina believed in building a better world through compassion, love, understanding, and without judgment.  She always remained open to receiving, holding out for a healing miracle.  She trusts that the risk of loving is always worth taking.

From the moment their lives intersected, Christina and Curtis, her husband of 12 years, knew they belonged together; they instantaneously became a dynamic family. What has grown over the years has been an amazing love affair weathering triumphs and tragedies, continuously strengthening their soul connection with each other.  They nurture each other’s souls with caring expressions of love.  Curtis made their love visible through his unwavering tender and gentle outward expression of love and care for Christina during her journey, as she says –even though…even when.

She raised over sixteen children (biological, adoptive, and foster), instilling in them that hope is a commodity and the importance of family, laughter, compassion, and pursuing personal hopes.  Her approach to life helped cultivate individual dreams and aspirations, while building self-confidence to become the remarkable young men and women they are today.  Her heart will continue to be strong in her children:  Tyler, Quentin, Dominic, Pablo, Amber, Carlos, Cole, Christopher, Jackson, along with seven other amazing young adults. May the ocean remind you... “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; All that we love deeply, becomes a part of us.” Helen Keller

Celebration of Life for Christina Garrett
Date:   October 22, 2016
Location:   Grace Community Church                   
Address:  Lancaster Drive, NE, Salem OR 97305
Time:   2:00 pm

Today, I am hopeful~

October 16, 2016

Christina peacefully passed away. The family is grateful the suffering has fully ended; Christina is excited for the journey that awaits her. There will be a Celebration of Life; when the plans are in place an invitation will be posted on social media, everyone is welcome. The family has made every effort to include everyone in this announcement by way of social media and texting. Please share the information freely to help fill any potential oversight.

The family encourages you to visit Christina’s blog for the most up to date details:  Once on her blog, in the left hand corner you can sign-up for automatic email updates that will arrive in your personal email within 12 hours of a new posting.

In lieu of flowers and cards, the family encourages providing gift cards that the kids can use, for example to Safeway, Subway, McDonalds, or Panda Express. These can be dropped off at the service, or mailed to the family home.

If you have questions, please email Karri Manning at OR Lene’ Garrett at  Please limit questions as they are organizing a great deal of items. Keep in mind as well, that additional details including ways to help will be forthcoming. 

October 5, 2016

Processing the Meaning of Life~

I have been thinking about life, a great deal lately and the more I do, the more I want to capture these memories – if even for a moment. I am beginning to compile list of “stuff”. As I reflect, I am coming up blank – but that is okay; this is part of the new me that I am trying to embrace. I must embrace and accept all parts of me, this is hard at times. If I don’t write it down – I shall not remember! I want to remember all the pieces of my life because they are important.

Daily wound dressing changes weigh heavy on Cutis emotionally. It is incredibly difficult for my husband to see my wound and to see me in pain. Therefore, I take measures to insure he does not see the wound while we are dressing it. Curtis makes the healing paste, comprised of fresh neem leaf’s, turmeric powder, and neem powder. I pack the paste into the open wound; once packed, I place an opti-lock wicking away material over the outside.

Recently Curtis remarked about how my wound looks, I do not recall the specific words, but they cut deep and brought me to an uncontrollable releasing of tears. There I was, standing partially clothed in our bathroom, arm lifted into the air as I was getting bandaged – my tears could not stop flowing. Simply put, I needed him. In that moment, I felt like I just lost him.  I want him to change my bandage. I did not want yet another stranger in my home – it’s not a modesty thing but rather an intrusion in my sacred space. I just wanted my Curtis to figure it out with me, that’s all – we could certainly figure it out. We are the ultimate Team Christina and we will do this together – no matter what. Right? I wanted him to love each ugly gross piece of me, even though, even when. The sorrow escaping the pores of my body was deep. My greatest fear looking directly at me. Silently, in my head, I begged him to stay with me, however he was not implying that he wanted to leave me. Curtis would never leave – his marital vows are sacred and he took extremely serious. What was happening for him during this bandage change – he was sharing the pain he was feeling. He wanted me to understand his pain and that he was not sure what to do with it.  He did know one thing; he would like some back-up! Totally fair. Completely reasonable. Here we both stood – confused, overwhelmed, not knowing where to go next.  We process this journey differently; we ask for what we needed in different ways.  Each time we encounter difficulties, we somehow manage to get through them. He and I are determined individuals and Team Christina WAS together!

Curtis continues to share a deep anger, followed by a great irritation, when one may remark, “it is so surprising you [Cutis] would stay, you are so noble.” It just pisses him off, of course he would stay – that is what you do – you honor marriage vows. Then Curtis says he is able to get to a space where he is able to accept the words as they were intended, that of a compliment. He does note that it is a viscous loop that he gets caught in often. While many may think they are making a compliment to the person – it can be received as offensive as well. Think about it this way – he took his marital vows serious, so to think he would even consider leaving is so offensive to him. Next time, before you deliver what you believe is a compliment -give it a second thought.

Let me rant for a moment: High profile “famous” individuals, such as David Foster – really exposed fans to his authentic self, in rock star fashion, He chose to leave his darling wife Yolanda because she became chronically ill with Lyme disease. These events have brought even more attention to the sheer number of spouses that choose to leave their loved one when they need them the most. It is a rather disgusting trend occurring across the county. I recently listened to an interview Yolanda participated in with Dr. Phil – the discussion included Yolanda stating “I am not the same woman that he [David Foster] married”. It made me think that – in truth, we all change, develop, and grow in relationship; none of us are the exact same person. So to the men and women who have left their significant other in their greatest time of need – I offer, how does one register this action as acceptable in nature? In my world, real men and women stay, love, and support, their loved one through the illness – even though, even when.  Is it difficult to be the caretaker, absolutely! Are there times where choosing the leave the relationship is the right answer, while of course, there is always the exception. I am fortunate that I know my guy will stay with me no matter what – this is dedication and this is yet another reason while I love my Curtis so deeply.

Over the past two weeks I have noticed shift in emotions – I am a crying person. I once was mortified to consider myself in this category yet today, I embrace the status. The act of crying truly heals the soul and makes one feel cleansed and refreshed. I cry. I want to get better and for my body to heal itself. Do I feel as though I can beat the odds and continue to live? I say yes! I too look at my ulcerated tumor along with acknowledging all the pain I am in and wonder, can I really? Oh trust, if you saw a photo of the tumor you too may be stunned by atrocity that has developed, opened up and rests comfortably in my armpit. I have not decided if I want to go public with the visual – I think it may make everything worse. Instead, let me describe it to you. First of all, it is quite fantastic – yet most things I have seem to rock that direction. It literally looks as though a fish head is emerging from my armpit. There are breathing gills, eyes, and a large mouth, it reminds me of a catfish. So yes, I have a freaking fish growing from my armpit – Happy Halloween?!?!?!?!

I am in this interesting phase of my life.  I remain hopeful that I will become better, yet I am on hospice. How does one resonate that in their mind. The goal of hospice is to control pain and provide comfort. A patient is placed on hospice if believed the patient will pass within 6 months.  Hospice and I are getting closer to finding the perfect balance of pain management that still allows for me to be up right doing things. It was oddly decided last week, more so by the RN, that 5 on a scale of 1-10 would be my goal. I will need to clear this up today because my pain level goal will be a 3. I understand that they may bring about additional sleeping – but this is okay because I need to sleep to heal my body. Right now, my pain rests around a level 5/6.  

The worst part now is that Curtis and I are both struggling – with similar things, yet the desire and/or ability to discuss these are not connecting. For me, I am searching for validation and/or acceptance. I thought I had completed my inner child work on this topic, and several others, many times over the past five years; yet here I sit, desperately wanting to be told:

Thank you for the sweet card
You made my day with your gentle hug
Thank you for ……

I am not sure why this issue is appearing yet again; what I do want to figure out is how to manage this, clear it from my plate, and move forward. I have to know that I am enough without validation of others. I am good enough. I am loved. I perfectly imperfect. Life is interesting in that it has a way of making us go deeper with our thoughts in order to become a better person. Whatever the case may be, through the occasional doubts, road blocks, holes in the roads, and signs saying things are not possible – Curtis and I will continue to stand strong together. You see, we do know how to lean into each other and that is what we do. Walking a tight-rope is not an ease foot – but when you believe in yourself and the other person, there is no failure.  For Curtis, I believe part of his hold-up is that he may be talking with a person that does not know how to bring relationships together, but rather creates ruptures, ultimately causing new fractures. If this is truly happening, I hope this individual can quickly find themselves and correct these errors quickly. Time is something we do not have, and you know this.

We had our weekly meeting with my hospice RN to discuss pain management and wound care. Last week wound care proved to be painful and unpredictable. We were able to design a new medication treatment plan – we started ER Morphine and now have doubled the ER Morphine to (90mg, 90mg, 90mg, 120mg) from last week. This was a new medication we began last week, although I have taken Morphine ER previously, with little to know impact. But this time, in conjunction with all the medication I am taking, it is now working! I too was able to get an increase in my Trazodone to 100mg to sleep better. My body needs rest in order to heal. Pain control, this is a tricky situation. Just when you think you have it under control, it all goes sideways and PRN medications are rolling in like crazy. I am hopeful that within the next few days I will be feeling great. Most likely I will be napping daily, that is a part that comes along with increased pain medication. Although the level I am currently on would render most patients bedbound – sleeping most of the time. My body just eats through those medications like crazy!  

How am I doing at walking this tightrope?
I would say I am doing it in my perfectly imperfect style.
Doing it my own way.
There is no right or wrong.
It just is what it is.
Yes, there it is, she is back!!!

Pay close attention, to how I process my hurt, fear, and pain. Perhaps there is something you can take from these writings that will inspire you to be a better person, to do things differently, to love yourself, to own your stuff, to offer love, and to keep moving, do not get stuck. Getting stuck in a patters or loops, I speak of often. You see, it does not matter how fast you are moving, it is simply that you are moving forward. Life is like this; we must find a way to continue moving forward as to not get stuck. I want to offer my sincere gratitude for allowing me this writing to process and resolve that which was hurting my heart. It is all good now.

Many have asked how they can help our family. One of the easiest most helpful ways is to send gift cards to stores such as: Safeway, McDonalds, Subway, or Panda Express and mail to either my home address or to PO Box 192 Philomath, Oregon 97370. The gift cards make it easy for the kids to go grab a quick bite or pick-up groceries for the family. 

Thank you to everyone that continues to pray, send healing thoughts, and positive energy our direction. Although I am unable to respond to every email, text, phone message, FB message etc. please know that I am reading and listening to each one and appreciate the continued support. I really enjoy opening the mail box to find up lifting letters, I thank you all for these words that are enormous gifts to my heart and soul.

Today, I am hopeful~