Honor

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

March 8, 2009

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Categories: Family

GVSU Women’s Center has a Silent Witness Project where they honor DV victim’s with a short bio and a call to remember the victim’s name.

My sister, Cristi Curtis was placed on this list.  When I saw this, just a few moments ago, I felt anger and rage that my sister would be honored in such a shallow manner.

Sure, I understand the point that Domestic Violence victims span ethnicity, race, color, religion, and economic backgrounds.  Cristi was a teacher, a sister, a friend, a coach, an all-star athlete, an exceptional student.  Her boyfriend, who killed her, held similar credentials.  But is this the way to honor their spirit with 3 sentences that shallowly describe their accomplishments with a weak plea to remember their name?

I don’t know who submitted Cristi’s name to this list.  It feels like someone from the Women’s Center was trying to do a favor to our family and her friends, and the other victims on the list, by creating this call to remember her name, Cristi Curtis.  But, for something so impersonal?

The two sentences used to describe my sister, Cristi Curtis, sound like they were excerpted directly from the newspaper articles that splattered the news when she was killed, July 19, 2007.  It’s impersonal and shallow, which in my opinion only serves to dishonor my sister’s name, Cristi Curtis.

Let me tell you, whomever is reading this, who Cristi was.

Cristi was an individual who had a very big heart.  She wanted to please everyone all the time, and often stretched herself quite thin to accomplish that task.  She was a part of a large family that required split holidays to spend time with her parents and siblings.  Cristi had a drive and ambition to succeed I have seen in few people.  She excelled in school, a 4.0 student in high school and college.  She was a three-sport athlete, earning a scholarship to Winthrop University, where she graduated in 2000.  She always desired to teach kids with special needs, and as her sister, I have no idea where that desire came from.  She spent most of her time giving to others.  At Winthrop, she was the first recipient of a humanitarian award.  At Winthrop, she was recently inducted, posthumously, into the Athletic Hall of Fame.

At her job, she not only taught kids valuable school lessons, but valuable life lessons.  She stayed up helping girls write papers and even talking some students into the value of living.

If we want to remember Cristi’s name, we’d do better to honor her spirit.  Her spirit was giving back, time and time again, and by really valuing life and living life to the fullfest.  We’d do better to remember more than a few impersonal newspaper articles and shallow snippets at that.  We’d do better to remember her name, and her spirit.  So give back, and when you give back, remember Cristi Curtis.

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One Year

One Year

Peter and I were barely working between the two of us, he had been laid off and with struggles feeding Levi I was barely pulling 5 hours a week. We were at the DHS office applying for food stamps when Peter got the call that yes indeed TriMet was offering him a job. We had been at the DHS office since 7:20 am and we finally got home close to 10:30 am. We barely set our things down, relieved that there was more money in our future and we could at least buy food for our small family when the phone rang. It was my mother. It was one of those phone calls where you just know something is wrong, and how wrong it was. She asked if I was sitting down, and I think I sat down. She didn’t wait to tell me and simply said, “Cristi is dead.”

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