The Angel Christopher Andrade
by Judi McLeod
December 19 - January 23, 2001
He was taken away at a time when family and friends least expected it, in November the month before Christmas. Just moments after talking to his mother on the telephone, Christopher drove onto the 407, his car crashing through a guardrail, killing him instantly. It must have been so difficult for the police who had to tell his Mom. Her beautiful son gone forever, at age 23.
Like his life, Christopher’s death touched so many, including the employees of Classicut Hair Studios, where his Aunt Sue works as a hairdresser and his godmother/aunt Mary is bookkeeper. The death of this young man, so vital in life, was heartbreaking beyond words. Bill, Leone, Franka, Mila and Marina worried about how Sue and Mary would ever survive the shock of their nephew's death. Still, within the first few days following Christopher's funeral, some things took place that brought solace where there had only been despair.
Strange, inexplicable but moving messages came first to Christopher's grief stricken young cousins. Sue, who had been inconsolable, was convinced the messages were sent by the newest and youngest of Heaven's angels, Christopher.
A few days after the ceremony, an uncle worrying about depression setting in, sent several of his nephews to spend an afternoon at the casino. The boys were playing poker when they heard Andrea Bocelli's rendition of Time to Say Goodbye, coming from the casino's sound system. A strange place to be hearing the poignant piece, which they had heard only days earlier at the funeral. One of the boys, who had picked up a pair of queens, already knew his third card would be another queen. "I knew Christopher was there with us," he said. When he turned over the dealer's card, it was, of course a queen.
Godmother/aunt Mary wrote a letter, "In memory of Christopher Andrade October 26, 1978-November 12, 2001."
"Dear Christopher; A great life is born in the soul, grown in the mind, and lived from the heart. People who are happiest in life seem to have mastered the art of living from the inside out. Instead of living as others think they should or as they are in the habit of living, they live a life that feels right. They passionately pursue what they re drawn to do, envision what they intend to accomplish, and live the life of their dreams. These are the people we envy because they seem so focused and
so good at what they do. It's as though they know a secret to living a fulfilling life--and they do. The secret is that a perfect life begins with a dream. In other words, 'Honey, if you can dream it, you can be it.' And the dream begins from within--with a reflection on what it is that you were meant to do and what is that you desire.
"Chris, this is what you did, you lived your life through your heart, to the fullest--A great life is born in the soul, grown in the mind and lived from the heart.
"Resurrection! Hence death is not terminal, not an end to be feared, but rather a crossing over to a new and eternal life. Without a departure there can be no arrival. This is our faith perception of death, a point of departure that mingles sadness with incredible hope for the point of new arrival.
"The wonder of the Cross is that Jesus includes us in His journey from death to life, a bridge initially frightening, but finally glorious."
In intervening weeks, Sue began to smile again. "I know in my heart that Christopher is an angel, and I know that you're the kind of person I can tell," she one day told me.
To me, the angelhood of Christopher is not so hard to believe. Sue's sister Mary, always helping other people, has been an angel for as long as anyone can remember. Sue works with the inspiring esthetician Leone, a special angel for certain.
For Christmas 2001, Sue's 11-year-old daughter Chantel has more than the angel on top of the tree, and in the coming year ahead, more than the pictures of angels in books. This little girl has her very own angel here and above, Angel Uncle Christopher Andrade.