This just shouldn’t have happened. It is not the way the world should work. No one should die at age 29 for no reason at all. Christopher and Jessica (sometimes called Jessima by her mom) was our neighbor when we moved to Harrisburg in 1992. He was then 8 years old. He was a tow headed ragamuffin, who used to drop by our house and sit and listen to Smothers Brothers records. His mom thought that I taught him bad words from the records.
Christopher Ryan (or Robin) was an easy going kind sort of kid who would never utter a bad word or complain about his lot in life. He was not a very studious boy, but was tremendously interested in the outdoors, especially geology. Since Carol and I had some old Indian arrowheads, and other interesting stuff, he would come down and take a look from time to time.
As he got older, his interests seemed to wane and become more involved with this peers. I suspect that he smoked, as did other kids. His visits became less frequent as time went by. At a point in his teenage years, his mom and dad decided that he and his sister were out of control. They were sent to a military school in Virginia for a year or so.
I am not sure that did the youngsters any good at all. Chris went to Shippensburg University for a while, but dropped out. I took him to Mansfield University to see if he liked it better. It was also a state school and far away from cities and their temptations.
Somehow, he got work in New York as a waiter and sometime bartender. He seemed to be doing well in that milieu. It was especially good for him, as he shared an apartment with this sister who was doing some modeling. They always got along well and this was no exception.
At some point a few years ago, Chris decided to open a Deli in Brooklyn. We never did see it in person, but saw it online. It looked like a winner. We were told that Chris had just sold his share of the business. He went out to Denver to visit with a friend, Tim. I do remember Tim as a nice young man who helped out Chris’s dad with garden work. Tim is the person who killed Chris.
Evidently there was some argument between the two young men. Chris walked out of the house and their argument continued. Tim shot Chris in the chest with a shotgun and killed him.
Carol and I have a picture of Chris and Jess when they were eight and six years old. We cannot forget Chris. He was a part of our lives for 15 years. We connected with his family the other day and they are decimated. Jess has all of the symptoms of severe grief. She is going to need some help. Carol is trying to help out in her way. Chris’s father cannot be comforted. His last act while we were leaving was to embrace both of us at one time and cry copiously. Chris’s mom spent most of the time in her bed when we were there. I wish that there was more that we could do. There probably isn’t.