Christopher Yasick: a son leaves the world too soon, a father reaches out from his distance

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Remembering an extraordinary young man, lost too soon, a year ago today.

With deepest love and affection for his family.

Sometimes I'd be sitting in Mike Yasick's office at Shire, a client company, and he'd get to talking about his family.

The phone would ring, and he'd lift one finger, check the number, and discover his son, Chris, on the line.

"Hold on," Mike would say to me.

"Hey," he'd say to his son, his face lighting up two additional degrees of bright, which was really something for a man already so fully illuminated. Maybe Chris had some news. Maybe Chris was hoping Mike would pick up some ingredient on the way home to complete the meal Chris was cooking. Whatever it was, Mike glowed. Whatever it was, afterward, Mike would sit, talking about Chris and the rest of his family. It was a favorite topic for a famous raconteur, because Mike may have been a super star in the pharma world, but more to the point, and through and through, he was a purely devoted family man.

The world lost Mike Yasick eight months ago to a rare genetic condition. He was with us, laughing one day, parading his bright red pants, and then—suddenly—he was gone. Imagine the largest Catholic church you've ever seen. Then imagine it filled, wall to wall, with friends and family—mourners—most of them wearing Mike's trademark red. Imagine a small blog tribute—mine—read by 15,000 people. That's how loved Mike was.

Yesterday, Chris, just twenty-five years old, was taken by the same terrible disease that took his father. Another sudden passing. Another terrible loss in the world, an unimaginable heartbreak for a beautiful family. I got the news in the dark hours of the morning that Chris was in the hospital. I got the news several hours later that he was gone. In between, I prayed—so many of us prayed—for some kind of miracle.

Chris was a civil engineer, a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. He was a young man on his way up in a job with Skyline Steel. At his father's funeral he was dignified, one of those people you really hoped you'd get a chance to personally know—his face so much like his dad's, that Yasick sparkle in his eyes. So this is Chris, I kept thinking. This is Chris.

Miracles are so hard to come by. Miracles aren't every day. The disease took Chris. But here are two things that all of us who loved Mike, who mourn with and for his family, will always see as miraculous. On the day that Chris grew so suddenly and terribly ill, Mike's best friends were in town. They had come to town specifically to see Chris, to take him out to dinner, to tell him some stories about his dad. They were there when it happened. They were there for Chris—all night in that hospital, they were there for Chris. They were present.

Just as another friend just so happened to land in Chicago, on his way to somewhere else. He checked his phone. He saw a text from Chris's sister, Katy, he changed his plans, he hurried to the hospital, he was there, too. There.

"I haven't connected on a flight in years," this friend, Matt Pauls, wrote to me. "Why last night? In Chicago? Why were his buddies in town? Because Mike made sure Chris was covered."

Mike made sure his son was covered. As other family rushed to town, as Chris's mom got there as fast as the plane could fly, as the doctors did all they could do, Mike, through his friends, was there for his son. A beautiful thing in a most tragic time, and the thing we will hold onto as we honor Chris.


K. M. Walton said...

That poor family. I will put them in my prayers, again.

city girl finds said...

My heart aches for the Yasicks and the loss of such a young talented man. Thank you again Beth for capturing the essence of this beautiful family.

Clara Klap said...
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Jason Poole said...

I'm so sorry.
Keeping everyone in thoughts and prayers.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Oh, no! I saw the name in the blog title and thought, "It can't be, not again, so soon, for this family!" I've never met them, but through your words it's obvious how big an impact they've had on the world. Sympathy, peace and comfort to all who mourn.

kelly said...

This is unbelievably sad for everyone who knows them. Sending hope and love.

Darlene Yasick said...

Beth thank you for the beautiful thought. You help bring some comfort. Darlene Yasick

Darlene Yasick said...

Beth thank you for the beautiful thought. You help bring some comfort. Darlene Yasick

Granny Stitch said...

Darlene, I remember the times we all laughed together over some silly thing our kids had done.....all you and Gene's work on the plays....the "Bondo Rat" (what a car that was.) To me knowing that you have not only lost your spouse but three of your four sons and now a grandson is overwhelming. I can't even begin to imagine what you must be going through. You are in our thoughts and prayers always.

E Tuck said...

Again my heart sinks as when Mike passed, a man and BROTHER I had never met, I called Tony who I had not spoken with since he left WMU. We talked, we laughed, we cried and we prayed. So again today, I lift your family up in prayer. God must obviously have a special place in Heaven specifically for your family. God be with all of you today and always and know friends, family as and brothers are praying from coast to coast and beyond for loved ones we have never met but still consider to be our own flesh and blood. Today, they all walk TOGETHER IN PARADISE. GOD IS FAITHFUL. PRAYERS TO ALL. Godspeed... Eric Tucker
Sigma Chi Winter 1987-the day the lord takes me home.... God Bless.
Thx Mike for making us aware. I love you Tony! Tucks

Michelle M said...

I don't know what else to say. We all have stories of the Yasick's. Steve was one of my very best friends in high school and I miss him every day. I'm so sorry to hear of Chris's passing. Beth, I read your blog after Mike's passing. Thank you for your kind words and truly expressing what we all feel for the Yasick family. Anyone who knows a Yasick is blessed. Prayers to the family.

Dawn GILL said...

What beautiful words during such a tragedy...Mike and I started with Shire at the same time and I still feel his presence there and I always do. So sad to hear of his son's passing too. Keeping his family in my thoughts and prayers as they deal with another loved one gone too soon.

Lawson said...

Beth - thank you. Not just for what you wrote, which was absolutely perfect on so many levels as it was when you wrote about Mike last March. But also for creating a space where family/friends of the Yasick's and Green's can get a measure of comfort from seeing/reading the outpouring of love that we all have for them and the ones we lost way too soon.

Losing Mike in March left a huge void in the lives of many. I feel it every day and our annual ice fishing trip lost one of its' most beloved members. We were gathering this past weekend to take Chris out Saturday to share stories of his father over dinner and a few drinks. Everyone was prepared with a few stories from our college days, the ice fishing trips, one of our weddings, etc. that without doubt would be illustrations of the love and respect we had for his father, our friend/brother. We did not get the chance to share those stories with Chris, but I'm sure Mike is holding him right now telling him his version.

There was definitely a miracle in that we were there when this happened. I am certain that Mike had a hand in this and was there through us, his ice fishing buddies and Matt Pauls. But as the news of this traveled Friday night and Saturday I also know that many who couldn't be there physically were there in thought/prayer. You just felt it in some way. And I hope that feeling is shared here and felt by Jennifer, Katy, Emma, Tony and the rest of the family. We love you all and there are strong arms around you, always.

Mike Lawson

Luci said...

Beth, you have a beautiful way of expressing what so many of us simply have no words for. Our hearts are heavy and our prayers are with all those who had the sheer joy (and honor) to call Mike and his family "friends," but especially with Jennifer, Katy, and Emma, as well as Mike's mother, brothers and sisters. May God wrap his loving arms around you and bring you comfort.

All our love,
Henry, Linda, Jacqueline and Andrew, Thomas, and Kristine

SamanthaJanay said...

Beth - I'm one of Chris' college friends. A group of us visited Michigan in March to be with Chris when Mike passed and were absolutely stunned at the graciousness and love we felt from the entire Yasick extended family. They were all honestly the kindest and most loving group of people I've ever been around.

We are spread across the country and unfortunately none of us were close enough to get to Chicago over the weekend, but are ever so grateful Mike's buddies were there to be with Jennifer, Katy, and Emma.

Thank you for the beautifully crafted words about Mike in March, which I know helped Chris to cope, and about Chris now. As awful as it is to be shocked with losing yet another great Yasick man, we know that he enjoyed every second on this earth and will now be in our hearts for the rest of our lives.

Love to all people the Yasicks have considered friends and family,

Samantha & the rest of the Texas gang

Jude Kirkner said...

Always in my thoughts and in my prayers now as they suffer another disheartening loss ... while leaving us with the illumination you spoke of, Beth. I am grateful for your blog.

Beth Kephart said...

I am so moved by all of your comments and stories and kindnesses. Humbled, really. This is what the Yasicks do for us—they bring us together, they hold us together.

Thank you—all.

Janine Fromm said...

This is so beautifully written. I was one of the nurses in the Emergency Room when Christopher came to us. We did everything we could do mentally, physically using all that modern medicine offers us. So many doctors and nurses fighting along with Christopher. He is someone none of us will forget. My heart aches for the Yasick family for being stricken with such a horrible disease. Thank you for sharing this. I have shared it with the staff and we have all had our times of thoughts and tears about Christopher. Wishing the Yasick Family prayers and peace during this time.

Janine Fromm said...
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