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June
18
2018

Details for Memorial Service

The celebration of Bill's life will be on Friday, June 29 starting at 5:30 p.m.

Bunker Hills Regional Park
550 Bunker Lake Blvd. NW
Andover, MN 55304
Pavilion #3 (the yellow circle on the map)
Restrooms and a playground are close to the area. 
There is adequate parking near the pavilion. 


Entry into the park is $6 per vehicle.
Potluck meal - hot dogs, sloppy joes and bottled water will be provided along with paper plates, etc. Please bring something to share and a beverage if you would like something other than water. No alcoholic beverages.
Casual dress (i.e. as per what Bill would have liked:  t-shirts/shorts & jeans - please, no tank tops or immodest clothing)

There will be some time where we will share memories if you care to do so. Or, if you would like to write something out, you can do that and bring it along, or write it out there as materials will be provided. If you have photos that would be appreciated, too. We thought it would be nice to put together a booklet for his grandchildren, both present and those to come in the future.

If you have any questions you can call Laurie at 763-434-8436 or 612-384-4697 or email at lauriejcrist@gmail.com. We have been asked for our mailing address, too, so that is: 20621 Sleepy Hollow Drive NW, Cedar, MN 55011.  

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June
14
2018

Memorial Service

We have a site for Bill's memorial service. It will be at Bunker Hills Regional Park at 550 Bunker Lake Blvd NW, Andover, MN 55304 on Friday, June 29. The time hasn't been set yet but somewhere around 5:30 or 6:00. We will know next week for sure. I tried to get a Saturday or Sunday but this is the worst time of year to look for a reservation. However, I hoped Friday evening would be a little easier for everyone. Details below.

The burial service was just perfect yesterday. I honestly can say that there was nothing I would have changed. The weather was wonderful, the funeral company had mowed a path to the area and sprayed as we were not eaten by mosquitoes or covered with ticks. Bill was wrapped in just a shroud while wearing his jeans and a t-shirt he loved that I had bought as a Christmas gift. Luke placed his rosary and a lovely cross Geordie brought back from Colombia in his hand. Our friend, Pastor Hollis Kim, prayed and we shared stories about Bill which brought about tears and laughter. (The boys love hearing his brothers call him Billy and hearing those stories.) He was then placed into the ground, roses were thrown onto his body and then everyone took turns shoveling soil onto him. The funeral company will finish up and plant a tree there. A small marker will be placed once I decide on an epitaph. Everyone agreed it was just what he would have wanted (if he couldn't have his Viking funeral!) This site is just so pretty and peaceful. Much better than a cemetery for the person he was. 

DETAILS

Dress is very casual. No tank tops or clothing that show too much, please,  but nice t-shirts and shorts or jeans are fine. No suits or black clothing. This is a celebration of his life. We are trying to keep things the way Bill would have approved of. 

There is, unfortunately, a $6 fee to get into the park so please be aware of that. I am sorry about that but we wanted an outdoor spot and the pavilions are so ideal. I was assured there is a lot of parking, there are restrooms nearby, and a playground plus enough seating for everyone. 

We would like to have this be a potluck meal. We will provide hot dogs and sloppy joes along with bottled water, and things like plates and napkins, etc. Entree type meals are okay, though, because it is hard to determine how much to bring so additional main dishes would be great. And salads and desserts. If you are coming from out of town or work perhaps you could bring pickles, chips, packaged cookies, etc. We really appreciate you helping with this. If you would like something more than water please provide your own although no alcohol is permitted. 

We are going to put together a booklet of some memories so if you have something you think is especially worth sharing let us know. Or there will be time to share at the memorial, too, and we would love to hear lots of Bill stories. 

Please come and share this time with us. Hearing your stories about how you knew Bill and what you thought about him really helps us. We know he is somewhere and we are sure he hears us. I don't really believe he understood how much others thought of him so this is our last chance to tell him. 

If you have any questions or anything at all please feel free to email. lauriejcrist@gmail.com One of us will get back to you. We are splitting up all the tasks at present. 

Thank you for everything you are doing to support us through this. 


June
12
2018

Arrangements

Bill will be buried on Wednesday in a private family gathering. It is what is termed a "green burial" where everything is as natural as is possible. No embalming or other methods designed to make the body look natural will be used. He will be wrapped in a shroud and placed directly into the earth. The setting is lovely. Trees, grass, birds singing. He would have approved. His corneas were donated. Unfortunately, his organs could not be used. We will hear at a later point if the corneas were given to a live donor.

A memorial service is being planned by the boys and I. Details will be forthcoming but it won't be for at least a couple of weeks. We simply need time to grieve and process. It will be an informal gathering, though, where we will celebrate his life and the man he was. 

His passing was peaceful. He had a great deal of congestion after the ventilator was removed. He was given pain meds to keep him comfortable. Eventually his breathing slowed, he became quiet, and then he was gone. Luke was with me the entire time. We hugged, cried, and held Bill's hand. I am so grateful to him for being there with me. His dad would be proud of him for being there so I wasn't alone. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Birthright of Coon Rapids.  Bill worked with me helping where he could which is a pro-life pregnancy resource center. Birthright is a 501 3c so you will receive a receipt for tax purposes.  I am the current director and he was very supportive with all my endeavors there. He put up shelves for me, helped me get a storage cupboard, and would come sit with me when I didn't have a companion in the evenings (we require two people to be there at night). He often said he wished he could do more but his support with my work there was so great. Link to Birthright of Coon Rapids You can see what it is all about if you are interested by going to the page. The information needed is:

Birthright of Coon Rapids
11464 Robinson Drive NW
Coon Rapids, MN 55433

We are not okay but we can't be expected to be under these circumstances. However, we are doing the best that we can. It is just overwhelming and exhausting.

June
11
2018

Goodbye Dad

My brother Luke just called and let me know my Dad is now at peace. Thanks to everyone for their support and understanding in this difficult time. 

June
11
2018

Time to rest...

My dad was taken off life support this afternoon in the company of my brothers, their spouses and children. He is in no pain now and his body will soon be able to rest. His mind has already been at peace this week, so though friends and family are hurting and have been worried, he has already done with suffering and is at peace. 

I realize this is a small silver lining in a trying time, but it sometimes helps to look for anything good even when it seems nothing is good.... I am really humbled by the stories of the people saying what Dad meant to them. The support of friends and families has also been so great and I know that is extremely important to my Dad. He, regardless of his faults, was one of those people that truly did want everyone to get along and help each other.

His suffering is over, and together let's help each other heal.

June
10
2018

Sunday

Bill will be taken off life support this afternoon once the kids are all here. It will most likely be a few days until he takes his last breath. In the meantime we are making the appropriate arrangements and we will post it here when we have them completed.

June
9
2018

Saying Goodbye

When a person has a brain injury it affects various spots in the brain. For instance, when I had a subarachnoid hemorrhage eleven years ago the MRI showed a spot on the back of my brain. However, when the brain is deprived of oxygen it affects the entire area. Bill's MRI showed his entire brain surrounded by a light gray area which shows. I found a picture similar to what his looked like. The light area is where the brain cells have died. There have been signs of brain damage which is what made them do an MRI in the first place. The doctors have said he will never awaken due to this. So we will be taking him off life support and letting him go. Our youngest son will be here tonight and we will determine when this will happen. It is likely that it will take several days until he dies but I did approve a DNR in case something happens. 

We are all in shock. Bill had been losing weight, eating much better, and hitting the health club more days than not along with working with a trainer. To see this happen now after his success in losing weight is just inconceivable to us. He was feeling so much better these days and told me he hadn't felt so energetic and strong since his twenties. Between that and seeing the longevity of his parents' lives, I believed he would live so many more years. 

Many friends and family members have been by to say goodbye to him. They all have stories to share and each shows Bill's compassion for other people. The sorrow is genuine and heartfelt and shows what he leaves behind. We are making plans and arrangements for a memorial service and we will post it on here as soon as we know the final details. It will be planned by all five boys and myself with the intention to honor Bill's life rather than just say goodbye. 

One small bit of comfort to me is knowing he will be with Shawn again. We have missed him so much over the years and knowing Bill is with him again - well, there are no words. He also missed his parents so badly and there are others he said goodbye to over the years. And if "all dogs go to heaven" he will be with Sam and Ted again. 

Please don't stop praying for us. Bill drove me crazy at times but I have been with him since I was 18 and he was 21. I simply don't know how to live my life without him there, for better or for worse. The boys are being an unbelievably enormous help giving me a lot of support and strength. Seeing them helping each other through is just wonderful but seeing them sob in pain breaks my heart. Moms should be able to "make it all better" and this time I can't. But we have each other and that is everything. There are many, many issues to deal with and it seems overwhelming at this point. Bill was not perfect and he was a procrastinator so there are big issues to deal with, especially with our house. But those are just tangible things which can be handled over time. They cease to be important when compared to losing a loved one. 

I tell people two things when we discuss death: one is that however many years you have left on this earth, it is a drop in the bucket compared to an eternity in whatever sort of manner we exist after death. Whether that is heaven or we become energy or what I don't know but I do know 100% in my heart that we are with the people we loved and lost again. The other thing is if the person has the same belief then it stands to reason that they also believe that this is the best place anyone could be. No facing deaths of people they love, no dealing with money issues, car repairs, relationship issues, and physical problems. They are at peace. So what more could you want for someone you love? So grief is selfish because we want them here with us despite all those bad things that happen to all of us. And, if you look at it that way, it at least gives you peace about that person. 

We so appreciate the prayers and love coming from all of you. Keep it coming. The hardest part comes after the burial and service. 

June
6
2018

Still waiting to learn more

Bill had an MRI today.  The results of that show that he does have signs of brain damage due to blood and oxygen deprivation.  We did not get to talk to the neurologist about that, just the ICU doctor and he said that seeing damage doesn't necessarily mean long term effects. We will speak to the neurologist tomorrow and will give us more specifics about where in the brain we are seeing damage and what that may mean for Bill.

The ICU doctor said that one of his main concerns was the fact that Bill was not reacting when they tried to get him to gag/cough.

The doctor has put Bill on a lighter sedation medication (taken off propofol, put on precedex) that should allow them to partially wake him up while still on the meds in order to do neurological assessments.  

Bill is breathing on his own with the cpap assist on the ventilator machine.