I haven’t been writing lately. My grief for friends lost and parents and children mourning has been overwhelming.
This is no different today as I write a note of sorrow for Chris. He lost his oldest grandchild. Ella’s funeral is tomorrow.
Lots of you know Dr. Crowe.
He’s a husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, writer, jokester. He’s hilarious. Compassionate. Loving. Devoted. The adjectives are endless with him. If he were reading this as I wrote, I know just what his expression would be. There’s be a little bit of a smile and then zing! A joke from him. Chris is who he is, in part, because of wife Elizabeth. She is just so good.
Many years ago, Chris came to me and asked, “If you could run any kind of writing conference or workshop, what would it be?” With John Bennion we brainstormed what became Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. For several years we ran the conference together. And sang If I had a Million Dollars, Oops, I Did It Again, and Paperback Writer for everyone (agents and editors included). The words changed, of course.
Here’s the thing. With all the joking, all the teasing, all the tricksies you almost miss Chris’s kindheartedness.
He loves babies and I remember when my youngest was born. Anytime we were together and I brought Carolina, he took her from me and held her. He should have been the father to a hundred kids. The grandfather to a million. One day, I’m sure he will be.
But for now, I am heartbroken he’s doing this. Ella was a baby the Hughes fought to get. I remember when she was born. She was a beautiful girl. And she grew into a talented young lady. Not unlike her grandmother and grandfather, not unlike her stunning mother, Christy, and her artist father, Daniel. And Chris adored her. Has adored each of the children and grandchildren that have come into his family.
There are no words for this kind of loss. I haven’t been able to say the right things to any of my friends who have lost parts of their hearts lately. I wonder at my inability. My frozen fingers, weeping heart. Shouldn’t a writer know how to say the right things? Be able to reach out? Soothe?
Some of you (of the 8) who read this post know I am a faithful Latter-day Saint. A few days ago, as I wept for Stephanie Moore at the loss of her baby, something came to my mind that offered me insight and comfort to lots of what’s going on now. And while I won’t share that here, I have a feeling Chris and his family already know what I learned during prayer.
Chris, thank you for believing in me as a writer and as a possible conference organizer. Thank you for the jokes, even though I did go and tattle on you to Elizabeth. Thank you for being an example –by loving your family and God more than the writing or teaching or anything else you do.