On July 31st, I lost my best friend. She died, unexpectedly, of a blood clot after battling breast cancer and undergoing reconstructive surgery.
Christine’s been my best friend since I moved to San Diego in 2000. Before her, friendships for me were fleeting. They came, they went, and that was life. But Christine… she was a different story.
I could fill this blog with stories about our friendship. Stories about us learning hip hop dancing – okay, failing to learn hip hop dancing. Although we could do the sprinkler and the lawn mower better than anyone… just ask our 8th grade students!
Or about the time we hauled the new kayak into the middle of her cul-de-sac and pretended to row the open ocean, all the time yelling, “Are we there yet?” for a yearbook video.
There are stories from our 14 hour bus trip to Reno that we thought was going to be on a train.
And stories about our attempt to start our own greeting card company.
Like I said, so many stories!
A couple years into our friendship, we were talking about growing old and Christine mentioned all the trouble we’d get into at the nursing home. I remember saying to her, “I won’t know you when I’m 80.” I’ll never forget the look on her face. In total seriousness, she said to me, “That’s the meanest thing you could ever say to me. Of course we’ll know each other. We’re besties.”
That day, she changed my perspective on not only friendship, but on life.
A few years later, we sat beside her mom Jean’s bed as her mom’s fight with cancer was coming to an end … we had been chatting light-heartedly while Jean slept when Christine’s brother Eric noticed that Jean had quietly passed away. I remember us talking about how she was able to finally let go because she knew we were all going to be okay.
Even though Christine may not be around when I’m 80 to perform all those old folk home antics, I have to believe that, like Jean, Christine knew everyone she loved was going to be okay because she made everyone better by knowing her.
They say the body is 70% water, but for Christine Fax-Huckaby, it was all heart. She was a passionate educator; a passionate animal advocate; a passionate fighter for equity; and a passionate wife, friend, and colleague. For 23 years, Christine touched the lives of students and staff as a public school teacher and mentor in both Lemon Grove and Sweetwater.
She believed in the ability of each student to achieve his/her inner greatness, and never let them settle for less. She had just as much love for animals. Whether they were hers or not, Christine loved every fur baby she ever saw. She was constantly rescuing dogs and cats, finding them their fur-ever home. Although truth be told, a lot of times that home ended up being her own!
I’m sad without her in my physical life. Sad without her laughter, her jokes, and her unconditional love.
Winnie the Pooh said it best: If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together there is something you must always remember… You are braver than you believe. Stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is even if we are apart I’ll always be with you.