I started this journal section for my sister, Charis Phillips-Gohil, who is loved dearly by myself, my parents, and her husband. She passed away December 11, 2003, yet she lives on in our hearts and minds. She taught and still teaches us about life and what it means to be alive. I miss her so much and I dedicate my life to honoring her.
This is meant to be read from this oldest post to the newest post.
Visitation and Services in honor of Charis
As many of you know, my sister Charis passed away on Thursday morning, Dec 11. She had been fighting kidney cancer for six years, and lived a strong and complete life in her 26 years. She is the bravest person I know–my best friend.
My family has made arrangements for her visitation on Saturday, December 13 from 6-9 PM at Christian Fellowship Church of Columbia, MO. The funeral will be held on Sunday, December 14, 2 PM, with a processional to the burial at Perche Baptist Church after the funeral service. A meal will be provided after the burial back at Christian Fellowship at approximately 5:30 PM, in Columbia.
I promised many of you that I would get the contact info for my parents and various information out to you all. Sorry that it is coming late here on the day of the visitation, but most all of you are far apart and in different states and countries. I don’t expect you all to attend. I want more for you all to feel connected to what is happening.
I’ve been keeping a journal of her last days on earth at:
If you would like to send anything for the funeral or to the family, we are encouraging people to make donations to:
The Charis Memorial Fund
1416 W. Georgetown Loop
Columbia, MO 65203
It is my family’s hope to set-up something to help students with similar goals to our dear Charis. The specifics of this will be decided later on.
Thank you to everyone for the notes and thoughts right now. My family and I truly appreciate and thank all of our friends and family who have helped and been with us during this struggle. We truly believe Charis is in a much better place now
The Peace She Knows
I just want everyone to know that my sister passed away today early in the
morning, at 3 AM. My Dad and Mom, Jit (Charis’ husband), myself and our
family friend, Dr. Brown were all there while Charis took her last
breaths. She is an amazing person that has changed so many lives. I love
her so much. I’m glad that she is not in pain anymore, but do already miss
her very much.
I will post more details of the arrangements on Friday.
The Best Day
Today was the day that I’ve been wanting to be apart of since I’ve been here. Charis, my Mom,
my Dad, and I spent almost the entire afternoon talking about everything under the sun.
Her state is declining fast, and she realizes that. We covered everything I hoped
that we would and more. It was really great for my parents.
Also, there was good time at the end of the day so that Jit, my Dad,
Mom and I all got to talk about the future and plans. There is much more, but
I haven’t really processed it and don’t really want to open it up (yet).
I have to admit that each day is getting a little tougher with my sister’s
health status declining. One real problem is that she is swelling very badly.
As one gets closer to passing away, the body swells because one’s heart can’t
keep up and gravity takes over and fluids stand in the body. My sister’s
feet, left/right arms and face are very swollen!
With all other surgeries and procedures for my sister, she has gotten better.
It is the most difficult now because she looks different and is being affected
by cancer both internally and externally.
It is getting harder with each day, but it really forces us each individually
(Mom, Dad, myself and Jit – Charis’ husband) to pull it together.
It is all about the day-to-day struggle. Unfortunately, we are getting into the
situation where the dealings are more hour-to-hour.
Charis’ surgery went off without a hitch. She is majorly tired though,
and will probably be in mucho pain for a few days. She now has an IV that
gives “access” to her bloodstream through her aorta. That is very good, as
her veins in her left arm kept blowing because of all the trauma to them over
The ironic part of today is that about (almost exactly) 6 years ago was
Charis’ first surgery related to her diagnosis of kidney cancer at the
same hospital–in the same waiting room. It was a
pretty stressful time, but she pulled through it like a soldier.
It was decided today by Charis’ doctor, Doc Brown, that we need to put
a porta-cath into Charis’ left chest area (below shoulder) to repair the
situation where her normal pik-line IV came out, a few days ago. She will be
heading into a small surgery tomorrow (THURSDAY) morning. Please be
praying/thinking/wishing well for her tomorrow.
Any surgery for her is major because of her worsened state.
It is hard to think it is almost xmas time, and we are getting ready to
put up Christmas decoration and do the traditional “watch scrooge everyday
I don’t want to give the impression that everyday is a bad day in
this struggle. It is actually pretty amazing how much new “stuff” we
get into. In many ways, we are talking about and doing things that many
people never get to do, nor take the time. Being here is more about
listening, waiting and being flexible, rather than solving a problem with
direct confrontation and manipulation (as we are all used to in trying to
get from point A to B). I’ve found that when people get around Charis they
usually try too hard, start crying, or try to say some mysterious sublime
statement, rather than just simply supporting her through being with her.
In many ways, the initial reaction by people is very much a selfish one
of trying to comfort her, thus in turn needing comfort from her (which she
gives quite selflessly). This is quite
taxing on my sister, but if one stays around her long enough, they usually
learn what is necessary.
Her IV Line Popped Out
Today was fairly stressful as Charis’ pic line (IV in arm) somehow came out
of her upper left arm. There was no blood and we just noticed it. Anyway, the
great nurses at hospice came over and put in temporary IV until our family
doctor, Doc Brown, can come up with a better solution. WHEW! My mom is
very stressed today. I’m doing better after some downtime on the weekend.
Charis and I had a really great conversation about the big picture and
what is happening in her life. It is important to let her know how much her life
has influenced me and others. She is totally amazing. She makes me want to be
better at everything I do.