In Memoriam: Christina Grimmie, My Friend

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Christina with my Grandmother at my wedding

My wedding reception had just finished and I was trying to get back to my room to change shoes. After hobbling up a flight of stairs with throbbing feet and a cumbersome dress I realized that I did not have a card key to access the lodge hallway where the bridal party rooms were located.  As I was debating if I could make it back downstairs on my own, and honestly starting to feel quite lonely, a graceful, quiet soul appeared on the landing where I was waiting.  I explained to Christina my predicament, she helped me get in, and then we walked together to our neighboring rooms.

I will never forget this moment.

She told me how beautiful I was. I told her how beautiful she sang.  I thanked her for coming to make my wedding so special.  She thanked me for the opportunity to be a part of our story.  And then I told her something that proved to be more true than ever in the following years. I told her that while we may not be related by blood, her family was our family and I couldn’t imagine celebrating that day without them.  Their family, as she reminded me in that moment, liked to tell everyone that my family are the nicest people they know. But in that moment I knew the truth of who the nicest among us truly was.  We hugged, and we went our own ways.

Yesterday, Christina Grimmie went from ushering others to worship at the throne of the Lord through her beautiful life to standing before Him in heaven at the age of 22.

For those who are left behind, for those experiencing a tremendous grief, for those trying to make sense of the senseless, for those wishing they could just do something, this one is for you.

This is the Story of the Son of God

Hanging on a cross for me*

She was loving.  Christina’s love was genuine.  She loved her family, her pets, and her fans.  She loved music.  In an age full of manipulation and image crafting, Christina was true to herself and how God made her.  She was determined to be faithful to who she was and who God was calling her to be.  She ignored voices telling her to be or do something she wasn’t because she knew her fans and she had a vision for how to love them and minister to them through pop music. She loved others and she loved herself for she knew that God loves us all.

The causes she supported with her celebrity weren’t publicity stunts, they were accurate reflections of her heart.  When she said she loved her fans, she really and truly meant it with her whole being.  She received her success with deep humility, and used it to tirelessly serve those whom she inspired.  Christina gave to her family, just as they gave to her.  She sacrificed for others, and she sacrificed for God.  To all of us who had the privilege of knowing her personally, we know the depth of the love she offered and modeled.  Christina Grimmie was loving.

But it ends with a Bride and Groom

Standing By a Glassy Sea

She was faithful.  Christina’s faith was real.  It truly permeated her life and influenced her decisions, even at a young age.  Through her knowledge of scripture to her prayer life, she privately practiced the faith she came so publicly to claim.  She faced plenty of challenges, disappointment, failures and deep pain in her young life, and yet she always turned to God for healing and guidance.  She might not have been recording “Christian” music or serving on a worship team, but no one who knew her could ever charge that she sought to use her gifts for anything other than the Glory of God.  Christina Grimmie was faithful.

Oh, Death Where is Your Sting 

Because I’ll Be there Singing

She had hope. I remember when she and her friend Sarah were very young and first spent a visit at our home writing songs that they asked to perform for us before leaving.  These mini concerts became a regular tradition for our get togethers with the Grimmie’s, long before Christina uploaded her first video to share with the world.  I can earnestly say that watching God’s hand unfold in her life story from early childhood until now has inspired me time and again in remarkable ways.  God gave her a vision and a dream early on in her life and she believed in it with abandon.

She believed in it so much that she kept working toward it, tirelessly, endlessly, passionately, even when she had no clear path for success.  She had hope that God meant what he was speaking over her heart and into her life.  She had hope that no matter the obstacles, He could bring it to pass and that He would not forget her and her dreams.  She had hope that no matter the number of closed doors she encountered along the way, there was still a future for her.  For those of us who saw that hope in a young girl from South Jersey singing from our balconies and in our living rooms, who was self-taught and self-driven, we saw hope in action.  Christina Grimmie had hope.

Holy, Holy, Holy Is the Lord Almighty

She transformed others for good.  As Christina was performing on The Voice, I heard God speak over her an anointing while we were watching her cover of Drake’s song, “Hold on. We’re going home.”  What I heard that night was a reminder that this, too, was a manifestation of the gospel.  What she had accomplished was an act of taking something that seems to be worldly and hollow at its core and transforming it into something truly beautiful and meaningful.  So many of her covers infused this love and beauty into whatever she chose to sing.

The secret to her professional success in this world, beyond her talent, unique personality, and infectious joy, came in how she used her artistry to touch our hearts and remind us that there really is a Creator of this universe who is Love.  God used Christina’s life, as I believe He will continue to use her earthly legacy, every time she breathed His life, the life and freedom of Christ, into the music she performed.

As her family, her friends, her fans, we were all touched by her time walking along side us and we can honestly say that we are better off having known her.  She helped to transform our lives through her kindness, her testimony, and the work of her hands.  Christina Grimmie transformed others for good.

Who Was and Is and Is to Come

Her story is not over.  For those of you, like myself and my family, who have followed Christina’s journey from childhood on up, there is a particular pain to see her name so publicly renowned today.  We all prayed and hoped and believed a day would come when she would reach this level of recognition for her talents.  Never, never, never, could we have ever imagined that day would come because of how she died.  It is almost too much, too cruel.

It does not end like this.  It does not end in tragedy, just as it did not start in tragedy.  The headlines that now bring her story to the rest of the world are neither the beginning nor the end.  Much like the Savior she loved, the tragic and heedless nature of her death may call attention to her life, but it does not define who she was, is, and will be.

We will miss her here.  We will miss her so much.  We will miss her and all the things we will miss out sharing with her in this earthly life that ended so soon.  I recall on my wedding weekend talking to Christina and her mom at different times about how she was so inspired by the story of how my husband and I met through the divine hand of God.  I remember how she said our story gave her hope for what kind of man God had in store for her, in His timing, and the importance of waiting on God to fulfill these desires of your heart.

In so many ways, it hurts knowing that she never met that man on earth and that we will never have the joy of celebrating her wedding together, as she so powerfully helped me celebrate mine.  And yet – and yet – I know that Christina met her bridegroom last night while she stood all in white.

Her story has just begun.  Her life, her eternal life, began anew last night.  If we thought that she sang beautifully in this earth I can only imagine just how glorious she sounds today.  I know that her life and her heart is fulfilled.  I know that she is loved in ways we can only dream of.  I know that she is whole.

Each time we think of her life and the way that God used it, we continue her story here as well.  When we listen to her music, or watch her videos, or tell others about her, we continue the act of transformation she began.  When we think on how much she was and did in her 22 years and we choose to be and do even a fraction of that with our own, her story lives on.  When we choose to love, to be faithful, to hope, and to use our gifts to transform this world for good, we keep her life’s purpose alive and we point to the life that she now lives.  Christina Grimmie’s story is not over.

This is the Story of a Bride in White 

Singing on Her Wedding Day

Of the God who was and is to stand before a Bride who Sings

Holy, Holy, Holy, Is the Lord God Almighty

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* The words in Italics are the lyrics to the song “Holy (Wedding Day)” by City Harmonic.  This was one of the songs Christina sang at my wedding.  It is the song that she sang as I walked down the aisle on May 11th, 2013.  Never before has this song meant so much to me.  Our glassy sea was upon the shores of Lake Tahoe.  Hers are the glorious seas of Heaven.

16 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Christina Grimmie, My Friend

  1. Ashley JSG says:

    Thank you for such a beautifully loving nd accurate approach to such an awful situation. She was the most beautiful shining light I this dark and ugly world.

  2. Kate says:

    I am so grateful for every person who has taken the time to read this tribute to Christina. So far there are 3000 of you. I pray for each that you that you will be uplifted, given hope, comforted, and inspired. If you are looking for another way to help in the midst of this tragedy, please consider giving to this cause:

    https://www.gofundme.com/christinagrimmie

    I can testify to their humble gratitude, to the existence of a need, and to the immense help this effort will provide to the Grimmie family in the days and months ahead.

  3. Samantha says:

    Beautiful! I thought about you and your wonderful family all weekend! Your grandma (Glenda) is a living angel and or Saint and Christina possessed an amazing soul and voice!

    Thanks for writing this!

  4. Tears…What a beautiful tribute to your friend! What a hope we have that we will get to see her sing again someday. My prayers go up for all of her friends and family during this heartbreaking time.

    Cherilyn

  5. andrea411 says:

    Only Jesus brings life from death. In His death, she has eternal life. What a beautiful story of her as a person and as a child of our living God

  6. John Jackson says:

    Kate…what a beautiful and stirring tribute. Thanks so much for sharing this…it brings even more depth to the pain of this loss.

  7. Kate says:

    Thank you all for taking some time to remember Christina and for your encouraging words. As of this morning, this post has received over 4000 unique viewers from at least 29 different countries. It is a blessing to all who knew her to grasp just how many of you share in our grief and in our hope.

    Her brother Marcus is asking for those touched by her life to share their memories of her in some forum the family will be able to see (such as the gofundme page I noted above – no donations expected or required to share), as well as to sign this petition for Christina to be included in one of the video games she loved:

    https://www.change.org/p/nintendo-name-a-npc-in-a-legend-of-zelda-game-after-christina-grimmie?recruiter=556884068&utm_source=petitions_share&utm_medium=copylink

  8. Candy Parnell says:

    Thank You For Your Memoriam And Tribute To Christina…I’ve Said It Before But This World Seems A Little More Empty Without Her…We Need People Here Like Her, The One’s That Bring, Give, Share, And That Have A Light So Bright That It Can Light The Darkest Room…I Loved Her Like I Knew Her, I Loved Her Music, Her Inspiration, Her Positivity, And Because She Also Was A Sister In Christ!!! It Seems So Unbarable At Times, But The One Thing I Can Grasp Is That GOD Needed Her In Heaven As A Gurdian Angle To Help Him!! I Will Never Forget Her, Her Music Will Live On In My Life…While The Tears Of Sadness Flow Down My Cheeks, There Are Also Tears Of Joy Knowing All That Loved Her Will See Her One Sweet Day!! Love You Always Christina….Your Fan Candy From Tennessee!!!!

  9. mike haddad says:

    BLESS YOU!! ALWAYS , The human experience is so wonderful,..just emagine the wonders after the human experience! this is a song i did with my native woodland flute, called we are spirit ,, and oh how stronger her spirit is now here is the video url , copy and paste and will got strait to the song , bless you and Bless christina our love ❤ https://youtu.be/zVbH2NFM30w

  10. Micheal says:

    I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Christina personally but I was a fan for 6 years and had the pleasure of talking to her online for 4 years and meeting her in person 3 times. I first met Christina in 2013 back on the Stars Dance tour when she opened for Selena. She was very sick with what I think was food poisoning but she decided to continue with the meet & greet. She was so kind to each and every person there, walking up and hugging everyone there. I had forgot to tell her my Twitter name but my mom remembered to tell her. When she found out who I was, her face lit up. I’ll never forget when she said “It’s very nice to finally to meet you.” She mentioned several times that she knew me from Twitter and always saw my tweets. As I was leaving she told me that she would see me again on Twitter. I also gave her a little bag of gifts. One of the things I gave her was a replica of The One Ring from the Lord of the Rings on a chain like Frodo wears it. She wore it on stage that night and at 5 other shows. After that she told me on Twitter that she loved it. I was at The Voice Tour but unfortunately wasn’t able to meet her. I just seen her a few months ago when she opened for Rachel Platten. She noticed me in the audience and pointed to me. She sang to me during most of her songs. After her set she did a short meet & greet. She was so excited to see me again. I gave her another bag of gifts. Her favorite was a keychain of Katarina’s sword from League of Legends. We talked for about a minute and took a picture. She teased a special appearance during Rachel’s set. She later sang Stand By You with Rachel. She told me to come back after Rachel’s set and we could talk more. I went and got an autograph and we talked about how much she loved the gifts and how I had Mark help me surprise her with them. She told me that she wanted to talk again and asked me to stay until after the meet & greet had ended. After it ended she walked into another room and Mark waved me over. We talked for a few minutes. told her that I found her through Selena Gomez’ acoustic UNICEF concert. She was so excited because that was her first concert. She noticed I was wearing a Legend of Zelda T-shirt and I told her that I started playing because of her. I’ve played almost all of the games now. We talked about how she hadn’t finished A Link Between Worlds and how Majora’s Mask was her favorite game. We said our goodbyes and I thanked Mark for everything he did for me that night. The last time I seen Christina was last Friday night. I was blessed enough to win a Before You Exit contest so I could meet them and go to their soundcheck. My sister’s a huge fan of their’s so I wanted to surprise her. They seemed like great guys. Before the show started I went to Mark at the merchandise table. He recognized me and we shook hands. I gave him my bag of gifts, like I had before. I got back to the stage and got second row, which was the closest I’d ever been for one of her shows. When she came on stage and started singing One Dance, she immediately focused on me. She always loved seeing me singing along to her music and she had the biggest smile on her face. During Tell My Mama, she pointed at me. I waved at her and she waved back. Just before she started singing Must Be Love she started right at me, waved and said “Hi Micheal!” She left the stage but came back to sing Let It Go by James Bay with Before You Exit. As she was walking on stage, she waved at me again. During the song, as she was singing “Why don’t you be you,” she a little gesture with her hand towards me. A few of the audience members asked how we knew each other. After the show, I went over to the meet & greet line. I wanted to wait until the end of the line to be the last person she talked to but I got impatient and got in line. When she seen me, she ran up to me and shouted “Micheal!” We hugged and it was so nice. I had her sign Side A for me, completing my collection of her CDs. Mark gave her the gift bag and she told me that he told her that I came and brought more gifts. She always told me not to but I know she loved them. We talked for a few minutes about League of Legends and Tokyo Ghoul. She told me she was disappointed in the ended. I told her I had already started reading the sequel Tokyo Ghoul: re. She was supposed to start reading it on the plane home. She asked me to stay until after the meet & greet. My little sister Hannah also got to meet her for the first time. I was in the room when the tragedy occurred. I’m not going to talk about it though because that’s not the point of this post. Through the internet and her meet & greets, I formed a sort of friendship with Christina. We talked so much online and even played video games together. The events of that night have left me devastated but I’m glad i was there. To see her one last time and to make sure she knew how much her fans loved her. I know she loved me back. The crowd was amazing and some of the fans had memorized her Liar Liar introduction and she let them help her tell the story. I will never forget that night. The good or the bad. I will never forget Christina. She was a friend to me when I needed one and she was always there for me. She changed my life. She made me a better person.
    I’m sorry this post is so long but I want everyone to know about her relationship and how she affected me. I will never be the same because of her and I know she’s looking down on me and everyone she loved.

    • Kate says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Michael. Thank you for supporting her so well in life and death. I will be praying for you.

  11. […] believe the Holy Spirit gave me words to remember Christina Grimmie, just as he gave Davey Blackburn the words to remember his wife, so that He could […]

  12. Velasco Family says:

    We found Christina on youtube through her cover of Just A Dream with Sam Tsui. From myself (dad, at the time age 42) through to our youngest Emma, at the time age 4, we fell in love with her music, her love, her witness, and her personality.

    She’s been a part of our family since, and we have always purchased all of her music and watched all of her videos, whether on her own channel or elsewhere on youtube or other internet sites.

    We met her on tour once, and she was just wonderful in person too. We deeply appreciated her authentic faith and how she spread the gospel through her actions and love, while holding firmly to herself despite the pressures of a professional music career.

    Thanks for writing this, as it confirms even more of what we already knew about her, and makes us eager to one day sing and dance with her in Heaven!

  13. johnjanaro says:

    I seem to be later than most people in discovering this beautiful tribute, but I am glad that I did. You expressed so well the quality of Christina’s music, the striking manner in which the beauty of her faith and her love for Jesus were able to shine through her covers of mainstream pop hits. As you said, she was “taking something that seems to be worldly and hollow at its core and transforming it into something truly beautiful and meaningful. So many of her covers infused this love and beauty into whatever she chose to sing.” When I read these words I said, ‘yes, that’s it. That’s the charism she had!’ For her music especially, but also for the whole way she loved and related to people in the celebrity world and especially with 21st century kids (and I’ve got five of my own, ages 9-19) by letting Jesus transform her even within all her 21st century kid life-and-interests. She once said on YouTube that her life was something like “music, food, and video games… all drawn up into one in Jesus.” The Lord is indeed working in such ways, and I agree that Christina’s story is not over.

    I am also glad to have discovered your blog, and that you are here writing with faith and intelligence on the issues of our time. Your voice is much needed. Thank you and God bless you!

  14. don says:

    what a wonderful angel……

  15. apollinaria25 says:

    I, unfortunately, discovered Christina after the tragedy.
    I had a couple of her songs before and I really loved them but somehow, I’ve never searched about her. Until that day.
    Beside the pain that comes with knowing her I am very, Very Thankful that I discovered her.
    I never thought a person that I don’t even personally know can impact this way on my life. And this is probably one of the most importat thing. She seemed to make friendship with everyone, she didn’t know what prejudice is and wanted the good for everyone.
    She shared her beautiful gift of the voice and her Faith. She inspired.
    I am sorry for not have the opportunity to support her, because she did so much for me! But I am proud that Family, Friends and TEAM GRIMMIE did. This team that she created and guided is something very special. It can be not seen but it is a very strong and serious bound between people. We’ll never forget her and her story. Her legacy is in our hearts forever and I’ll try to spread the word because Christina is a person that everyone should know. Thank you KATE for sharing this beautiful memories and please be forever proud of know this beautiful soul, it is a honor.

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