I knew Chris for a relatively short time, but he made a big impact.
A committed Christian, he talked about his calling to become a probation officer at an early age. When making any big decision, he tried to discern what God was asking of him. He told me a great deal about his family and friends, past and present, and he was very proud of those close to him, as well as being loving and loyal. He was a very kind man, with a great generosity of spirit.
There had been many losses in his life in the years leading up to his time in Shrewsbury, and there were days when he would feel overwhelmed. He referred to these as “grief days”. He would “sit with” the grief, meditate, and the feelings would pass. Bright socks and After Eight mints also offered great consolation!
Chris spent a great deal of his life “in role”, involved in many activities that he felt passionate about. However, in the time that I knew him he also enjoyed the opportunity to pursue hobbies for their own sake. We often played piano duets. Faure’s Dolly Suite was a favourite. He accompanied me on the flute, and we ploughed through various Mozart, Bach and Handel flute sonatas as well as some very challenging French romantic music. He particularly enjoyed playing Bach’s Siciliano. This was the last piece of music we played together, and it was heart breaking to watch his acknowledgement that his illness had eroded his ability to play.
We shared a love of the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins and he introduced me to R.S Thomas. For fun, we read A.A Milne together, and he often reminded me of Tigger! He introduced me to Thomas Keating and to Richard Rohr, who have become daily companions. We were reading John’s Gospel together in the days leading up to his death, or as he described it, “journeying towards God.” His final inspiration may have been Psalm 117.
A great lover of Scotland and the Yorkshire Dales, Chris also enjoyed trips out into the local Shropshire hills.
Chris was a great and ebullient companion for too short a time, but he has left much to reflect on and many happy memories.
Wonderful to read all this Caroline. It's really moving.