Eulogy by Michelle Restaino (Mom)
(With a heart so broken, so torn -- she was so gallant, so brave)
Christopher Michael Restaino:
Over the past several days, I have seen such an outpouring of love and support from all of you here, as well as throughout the country and even the world as we struggle with the loss of our precious Christopher. This love, this support, this activation of prayer and spiritual energy is a major part of what is helping us to go on; additionally, it reaffirms my faith in the divine flow of life that connects us all.
The beginning words of a song we sing here at Christ Unity have been returning to my mind over and over again as we have been struck with this tragedy. I release and I let go, I let the spirit heal my life. And my heart is open wide; yes, I open up to God. No more trouble, no more strife. With my faith I see the light. I am free (and Chris is free) in the Spirit, yes, I open up to God.
Chris, our dear, darling, Chris….I had a very difficult labor and delivery as Chris was making his entrance into this world. As you can imagine, when they first showed him to me his little head was misshapen and he was not really very pretty. But I can still remember my first words, I can still feel the emotions of those first words…”He is so Beautiful!” As you can see by looking at the picture boards, Chris radiated joy and gentleness. I can remember so many times that another would be in need and Chris would step forward to fill the gap. Once when Chris was a sophomore, a friend’s older sister was going to be evicted from her apartment because she could not pay the rent. Chris stepped forward and loaned her $100. This type of reaching out happened with Chris time and time again. He would give you the shirt off of his back. He was so trusting and confident in the goodness of life and of other people, that he pretty much had the draw bridge of himself open most of the time, you could come in and take or give anything you wanted in Chris’s world.
My dear Christopher was so open. One of the last conversations I had with him was about people speaking honestly and not masking what they really meant. Additionally, he would share so much of his life with me, that my friends marveled as his candidness – he was so unguarded. He shared so many stories about his daily life, I feel like I know, not only his good friends, but so many of his classmates and acquaintances. For most of his life he was so honest, that he would even tell on himself. I remember when he was 10 years old and he and some other kids were playing basketball outside Celina Westerphal’s grandmother’s house. Chris threw the ball too hard and it hit and broke the grandmother’s outside light. She came out to see what was going on. Chris immediately stepped forward, admitted his guilt and promised to pay for the damage.
Christopher was also a master of sleeping and kicking back. I have never seen anyone who grasped the concept so well. Sometimes it would drive me crazy, but he definitely wasn’t stressed. As a teenager, he would regularly tell me “You need to relax”. On the other hand, when a job needed to be done, Chris would really put his mind to it with great attention to detail and pride in his work. Whenever he would finish a job for me, he would have me come check it out. It was obvious that he was truly proud of his work.
He was a great big brother. I can remember so many times that he was teaching Alex about life and how to live it in the best way – all the way from soccer skills to home work to the difference between right and wrong. Sometimes he took his big brother duties too seriously and would tell me it was his responsibility to harass Alex and tackle him and rough him up so that he wouldn’t be taken by surprise by the unkindness of some people when he got out in the world.
As a son and a brother, he was always ready with a hug or an “I love you”. So free and open.
Well as you can see I could go on and on telling you about my darling boy.
I have seen in these past days that many of you feel remorse or have regrets about Chris’s early and unexpected departure from our lives. Even I have such thoughts on occasion. I would encourage you to do what Chris would have done – Chris would have forgiven you or Chris would have said there is no fault. Forgive yourselves, release your anguish and know that “All is Well!”
As we say goodbye to Christopher as we knew him in this world, I beseech all of you to honor his life and his passing with your own lives. Remember the blessing of his times with us, learn from his life, make a difference for yourselves and others, examine who you are and ask “what is God’s will for my life?” “Am I on the right path?” God is a God of Love and he wants the greatest good every one of us. Open up your hearts and minds to God’s pure and never ending love. Give of yourselves, hold out a helping hand, mend a broken relationship, push yourself to live beyond the obvious and reach for God’s greatest good for you and for those around you. And know that no matter how things appear, “All is well!” As you do this, Chris’s early transition from this plane will have meaning, will be just a little bit less painful.
And remember that Chris lives on in Spirit and in True Life…He is free from the limitations of his body and he is whole. He is with us and he is reaching out his hand to help us know that, “All is well!”