The beginning of the article by James Lam On December 8, 2013 reads
"Three people died in a double murder-suicide that happened Thursday night. Lansing police identified the individuals involved as Chris Keith, 37, a member of a local church, her son Isaac Miller, 14 and Randy Keith, 53"
Those words represent the tragic events that took place on a single day, in a single space of time, in their lives. But it does not define who they were, what they felt, and how their lives touched so many.
Some of you may know of Chris better from her blog "Adventures of a Thrifty Mama in the City ‘Stead". Her wit and wisdom has touched thousands of folk, as she took us through her insights and ideas, sharing her Journey with the world.
Some of us knew her as friend, acquaintance, sister, confidant, Pagan, and myriad other titles. This author only would meet her seasonally at ConVocation, yet I always looked forward to her energy and note the absence of her feel in my life. One never knows how those connections touch us, or how deeply, until they are severed.
Her son, a child of light and promise, was also taken from us that day. Isaac was only 14 years old, on the beginnings of young manhood. What he meant to the world on his Path will not be known now. The end of a child as he is Gathered into the arms of the Lord is an echoing thing through our hearts.
This is a story not only of domestic violence, but of tragedy. She sought help many times, but somehow the system failed her. Many times she sought help, but at the end of the day, we are left with the sadness of loss and the anger at this instance of a failure in the system of those we look to to protect us being able to do it. This is not finger pointing. It is reality.
She did what she was supposed to do. She filed the papers, and took the steps. Somewhere, we all failed Chris and her children.
If you are in a domestic violence situation, remember there is help. Talk to someone, anyone. Make a plan. Get some help. You are not alone. Use the laws to protect yourself, as well as positive actions.
In the hopes of spreading the word of where those who so wish may gather to mark this passage with their families, this author presents the following information frgm the Crossroads Tabernacle Church site:
"The Universalist Unitarian Church of East Lansing will be honoring Chris Keith on Sunday 9 December:
The Universalist Unitarian Church of East Liberty will be having a special time during this Sunday's service at 11:00 for honoring our former members, Chris Keith and Isaac Miller. The Sunday service will feature a holiday children's program for the bulk of the service, based on a Lemony Snicket story. The children will be dismissed from the service, unless parents wish for their children to stay, and then we will have a brief time which will feature a candle-lighting, a time of silence, and a special collection for the memorial fund that has been set up to help support Chris Keith's three surviving children, age 4, 6, and 8. We will have literature on hand about how to talk to children, about tragedy, and other related literature."
There is a memorial fund for Chris, as three children survive and are being placed with the Grandparents. The Circle that embraces us must embrace them now. It is the Chris Keith Memorial Fund. You can find more information on this at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing.
As Jupiter Sinclair, a friend of Chris' wrote
"I don’t want this to be Chris’ story. She was a survivor and now she isn’t. It’s murky territory to presume to speak for the dead but I think Chris would want it said that even though domestic violence can affect all different kinds of women (and men), the fear of poverty is what prevents many mothers from leaving and if they do find the courage to leave, they do indeed find themselves subjected to poverty. Photo: Eaton Rapids High School Class of 1994 Lost a great friend, daughter and mother yesterday in an act of violence that I can't even fathom. Please keep Chris Keith's children and family in your thoughts and prayers in this very difficult time. If anyone you know is struggling with an unhealthy relationship and you can help please do not hesitate.There is a clear need to address the way families are affected by domestic violence and the part poverty can play on it"
This is not acceptable. This is not okay. This is wrong. This is not how we live our lives together. We must come together to say no more.
Be good to each other, and yourself.
For help in Michigan if you are in a Domestic Violence Situation, please go to Michigan Resource Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.
There is also the group Pagans Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
If you are in Detroit, there is also YWCA Interim House. Don't wait.