Chris just made this her Facebook header photo recently. I smiled every time I saw it . It should be said that Chris’ had a fabulous sense of humor.

I “met” Chris through my Facebook page for my personal blog crazy dumbsaint of the mind and I in turn become a fan of her blog Adventures of a Thrifty Mama in the City ‘Stead, and then later we got to know each other outside of blogging. For those  who don’t know how online friendships work, they might be confused when I call Chris my friend. Online friendships are funny things and sometimes it happens that the people you trust online with your experiences  and thoughts are these people you’ve never even had so much as a cup of coffee with.

Chris & I had a lot in common. We were both struggling to feed our families real food on a food stamp budget and defied being stereotyped as “welfare mom living off the system”. We both were striving  to create a sustainable  and secure food sovereignty for ourselves that didn’t require the safety net of the system, yet both strongly felt that the safety net needed to be there for people who need it to eat. Just a couple months ago, she  was interviewed on a local TV station to talk about the November food stamp cuts and what it could mean to low income families. We both had a history of domestic abuse &  trauma. Beyond that, we had very similar parenting philosophies and were proud Mamas to our larger-than-average family.

It hurts to write these things in the past tense, knowing that that tense does not apply to me as I’m still very much alive and still those things and she is not.On December 5th, Chris and her 14 year old son Isaac were shot and killed by her estranged husband, who was given his guns back by police only one day before.

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.

I’ll put that discussion aside for now. When I talk about domestic violence issues in the future,I’ll be thinking of Chris. Right now, my thoughts are with her family & her three youngest children who are safe and being cared for by family. There is a memorial fund set up by Chris’ church. You can go here to make a contribution.

The church and family request that no more toys,clothing and gifts be donated. Monetary donations to the memorial fund are the most needed as Chris’ mom will need to remodel her house a little for the children to live with her and of course, both short term & long term care of the children.