thank you friend.

This afternoon I will be on my way to the visitation for my friend Chris. He died on Saturday, a month before his 56th birthday. He died from a pulmonary embolism. There was nothing that could stop it.

jon-chris-kidWe met just before fourth grade, when we moved into a house across the street and three doors down. We played street football and backyard snow football and Stratego and Dogfight. He taught me poker. I took him to work at a camp. He was my Catholic friend. I was his evangelical friend. He was the high school choir president. I was the band president.

We went to different schools, different grad schools. We met for coffee between terms at JoJos. I had the peasant lunch: French onion soup, cheddar cheese, apple slices. I can’t remember what Chris had. I just can’t see it.

wedding-2In 1982, Chris and Nancy and I went out to JoJos. It was the first time she met him. Chris and I talked with our usual stream of consciousness. Nancy was a little scared, not of Chris, but of a side of me she had never seen. But she stayed. Chris was my best man. I was his.

A few years later we visited Chris and Mary. I talked about my dissertation. I told him that I really liked the Vatican II documents I’d studied. He smiled.

My friends know I’m not good at staying current. Even in a Facebook age, we didn’t stay in touch more than every couple years. You know how it is. And I’m not sure that it’s wrong. Our lives change.

But I know that it would be wrong to let him go without telling someone that my life was changed by Chris Coulomb. Because it means yours has been, too.



About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

4 thoughts on “thank you friend.

  1. Your paragraph beginning My friends know . . . is powerful! You and Chris had a for sure to-be-cherished friendship.


  2. Jon, thank you so much for posting this. I have great memories of Chris from High School, but have had no personal contact with him since. I appreciate you acknowledging him, and remembering your friendship. I remember the good friendhip and comradery the two of you had.


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