I have spent the last month trying to avoid writing about this. Whether that is because I am still in denial and writing about it makes it more real, or whether I am trying to move on, I don't know. But today marks the one month anniversary of Crista Beth Thomas' death so today it must be.
Crista was my step sister in law. She was Ryan's step sister. Pat and Leah (Crista's mom) married just a month after Ryan and I got married. Crista was in high school then. I don't remember the first time I met her, but my first real memory of her was at my wedding. Crista was beautiful. She and Leah looked more like sisters than mother daughter. They both had beautiful blonde hair and big blue eyes. Crista had an amazing energy and a pulsating need to be loved and wanted. She couldn't wait to have 3 brothers, as she was an only child.
It was fun to watch Crista grow up through the last 7 years. While we didn't get to see her very often, she was always warm, friendly and fun whenever we were around her.
The last time we hung out with Crista she and her boyfriend took us to one of the Indian Casinos in Palm Desert. We had a blast. She even babysat my kids once and they adored her.
Crista was killed in a car accident on November 16th. It was one of those senseless accidents that makes you soo angry. She, she was speeding and lost control of her car. She wasn't wearing her seatbelt and was ejected as the car rolled. Luckily, the Drs said she was brain dead on impact so there was no pain. In all of this tragedy, that is such a relief. Leah and Pat made the agonizing, but heroic decision to donate Crista's organs.
I got the call while I was at my friend Jenn' s house for our weekly taquito and margarita Friday night. I was in the kitchen, just finishing up making the first batch of margaritas, when my cell rang. I knew the minute Pat started speaking that something was wrong. When he said what had happened I sank to the floor crying. My first thoughts were for Leah. Leah and Crista were so close and she was Leah's only child. I could not imagine the devastation this would cause her. I hated having to tell Ryan.
The weekend we were in La Quinta for the funeral felt unreal. Ryan was a pallbearer so I sat with the kids and my niece Dakota during the service. I sat behind Leah and my heart was breaking for her. When they brought out Crista's casket, her shoulders were shaking. That was the only time during the weekend that I saw her breakdown. Leah was so strong when she was in public but I knew in private she was a wreck, as she should have been.
I don't know why Crista's death has affected me so much. I was not close to her, and didn't get to see her often enough. I really think the reason it has grieved me so is because I am imagining this loss for Leah. Having lost a daughter myself (though circumstances were so completely different as my daughter, Emerson, was stillborn) I can put myself in her shoes a little bit. My heart is so broken for her loss. I don't know how else to put it.
Crista, we will always miss, remember and love you. Fly high!!