Chris Sanderson's Journal
Canadian Memorial Service
Written Jul 12, 2012 7:04am by Brogann SandersonHere are the details for Chris's Memorial in Canada:Sunday July 15 2012 3pm
Orangeville Baptist Church
Hwy 10 north and Hockley Valley Road
Get together afterwards at Boston Pizza
Written Jul 8, 2012 7:52am by Brogann SandersonClick on:The Life of Chris Sanderson
Written Jul 5, 2012 1:36pm by Brogann Sanderson
Chris was a Champion. His legacy will be defined by most, and rightfully so, for his achievements in life; an all world goalie / a dedicated husband / a selfless father / a protective son / a loyal brother / a cancer survivor / a trailblazer for Canadian lacrosse / a coach / a teammate / and a great friend. What inspires me the most about Chris, however, his legacy to me, is the way he came to achieve all these things. He taught me that a full life is achieved through toughness & courage / humor / purpose / and love.
Toughness and Courage:
Although he was blessed in many ways; athletic ability, wit, good looks, grounded morals, a loving and supportive network of family and friends, Chris faced many different forms of adversity throughout his life. I wish it wasn't the case, but I feel blessed to have seen monumental displays of toughness and courage against his most recent adversary. I watched him volunteer himself for trial after trial and surgery after surgery and, I swear, I never once heard him complain. Ever. I always wondered if his ability to mentally shut out the gravity of the situation and just move forward was in some way related to an odd psychological quirk that also allowed him to be a 3x all world goalie. His ability to just be present in the battle, without being crippled by or even affected by fear and anxiety, was truly remarkable and part of what makes his story is so heroic.
I love to tell people a story from his initial surgery at Duke in 2008. He had what’s called an awake craniotomy, which, in a nutshell, means the doctors wake you up in the middle of the procedure and ask you to recite objects on flash cards. As the surgeon himself tells it, they were going through the cards and Chris was doing great until they got to a picture of a duck, which, he mistakenly called a goose. Just a slight misstep, but it was enough to merit caution and the surgeon began wrapping things up. Chis, however, was not having this, and promptly told the doctor to, "keep going." The dumbfounded surgeon replies "excuse me" and again Chris says "take more, I'm fine… its a duck, i know its an effing duck, I just called it a goose" And so, as the surgeon says, he went back in. That is Toughness and that is Courage.
A master is defined as "a person eminently skilled in something with the ability or power to use, control, or dispose of it." Chris was a MASTER of the craft of humor. He was brilliant. Brogann unknowingly described this to me yesterday saying, "He was always the one I wanted to be around. He just saw the world in such a unique way and found humor in things that nobody else saw. It made him so fun to be around." Chris used his humor as a tool; to relieve tension / to bring a team together / to teach / to coach / to find common ground / and sometimes just to make a boring situation, more fun. It ranged from borderline inappropriate to completely inappropriate but the true genius was in the delivery. Little nuances, so subtle, so affable, and so witty that he somehow was able to simultaneously make fun of a person and get them to laugh at the same time.
Sam reminded me of a story when our family was at the airport going on a vacation together for the first time after Stevie was born. Stress levels were high, as they always are to a certain degree when our family travels and this just compounded the stress of traveling with a new baby, the gear, Brogann's schedule, etc… At one point Brogann darted ahead to deal with seats for the flight or something and hesitantly gave Chris the duty of "quickly changing Stevie's dirty diaper and meeting her down the terminal at the gate". Sam and I made the easy choice of waiting for Chris outside of the men’s room. A few minutes go bye… and a few more ... (at this point, Sam and I, who previously had been calm observers of the airport chaos, starting to get anxious, wondering if he might need some help but not really having much to offer.) Finally, we spot Chris on his way out of the bathroom with a freshly powdered Stevie in one hand and a tightly rolled dirty diaper in the other. He looks across the walkway at us gave us a little head nod and then flips the diaper into the air in the direction of two unsuspecting young guys walking into the bathroom and said, "catch," And just kept walking.
I think partly what made Chris so magnetic / what made his humor so funny / made his leadership so undeniable / and his battle so relatable, was the presence of humility, self deprecation and vulnerability. He had these superhuman abilities, that everyone envied, paired with the most basic and relatable human qualities and experiences. Although I wouldn't say he "talked" about things that made him this way, he didn't hide it from people either. His heart was on his sleeve and for me, this side of Chris defines his legacy more than anything. These human traits are what led him to Brogann and helped create a bond so intense between them we as observers can only aspired to attain it someday. These are things that that made him such an amazing father and they are the reasons why our family and others embraced him so quickly and so completely.
I remember the first time Chris came to meet the extended family in South Carolina. He had just gotten back from his first quail hunt. I don't think he had ever shot a gun before, but it was the perfect sport for him. (You need Quickness, precise hand eye coordination and the ability to make real-time critical decisions. Of course, he was ab-surd-ly good at it.) Anyway, my mother, as she does, was trying to help him feel comfortable in his new environment and make sure that he was having a good time, so she was running through the complete list of activities he could participate in that day.. She said "so this morning you can quail hunt again or turkey hunt. Then there is more quail shooting in the afternoon, or we might have a dove shoot, and then some people go deer hunting later in the evening. If you don't feel like doing any of that, you can forget it all and just come fishing with me?" Chris raised his eyebrows and smiled a little and said, "you can shoot the fish?"
Stevie and Clementine: YOU two gave your dad purpose. Trust me when I tell you, he loves you both more than anything in this whole world. You, after all, introduced him to the greatest and most unconditional love of all. You both, however, are also his greatest gift to us and his greatest legacy. All the things we all love so much about your dad and everything that made him such an amazing father to you, all these things live on through the two of you.
Stevie - You represent his silent strength / his courage / is patience / his wit / his shyness / his leadership / and his intense love of home and family. You are the best big sister just as he was the best big brother. We look at you and are reminded why your dad was able to achieve all the amazing things he achieved in life.
Clementine - As grandma sue says, "you are Chris in a dress." Just like your dad, you are full of joy. You represent his charm / His warmth / His love of clothing / His toughness / And his silly, but undeniably endearing humor. Just like your dad, you are down right infectious. We look at you and are reminded of all the things that made him such a great guy to be around.
He was and will continue to be, so proud of you girls.
Brogann - The love you have given to Chris is the stuff of legend. What was created from the relationship between you two, long before his diagnosis or caring bridge, was much much greater than the sum of two parts. It had depth, it was insular, it was nuanced, and it was a well oiled machine (That ALWAYS ran on time) You were, as others have said, a force to reckoned with. As you digest the magnitude of this loss in the weeks and months ahead, remember the legacy that Chris has left to us: Toughness and courage through adversity / laughing in times of discomfort / Purpose and meaning through those beautiful girls and Loving as completely as you can. These are the things that make up a full life and they will lead you through the hard days ahead.
I will leave you with a story from the early morning the night Chris passed. Lots of tears and full of exhaustion, the family's were reminiscing and sharing stories about Chris. Someone said "I bet he's up there playing in net for team heaven right now" and another responded, "Yeah, they finally got a goalie!"
I am proud of you Chris. We are going to miss you.