One of the most charismatic people I’ve ever known passed away on November 22, 2014. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the world has lost such a kind loving soul as Christine “Chrissy” Ratkai.
I’ll never again hear her sweet laughter or her soft voice as she tells a story. We had many stories to share over the years. We’d been friends as teenagers then we both moved in opposite directions through our twenties, but in our thirties we reconnected after we’d both returned to Lethbridge. Chrissy was one of those friends that no matter how many years had passed we could still connect and have a great time.
Chrissy and I had many things in common and just as many that were uncommon. We were both social butterflies and as our types do, we float from group to group sometimes overlapping while at other times missing each other by months or years. Even though we didn’t see each other in our twenties, our lives overlapped with mutual friends that we’d both hung out with at different times during those years.
Chrissy had a vibrant personality and she could light up any room she entered. There were so many people from all walks of life who loved her.
She celebrated her roots in the Hungarian community. When she was younger she danced at many Hungarian festivals and events. Someone from that community created this lovely video, which shows Chrissy at some of those events.
I felt lucky when she asked if I wanted to spend the weekend writing at her cabin in Montana. Instead of writing, I spent my time by the water meeting her cabin crowd — a fun bunch of people whom she considered like a second family having grown up there in the summers of her youth.
Her kindness was well known by her friends and coworkers. Chrissy helped many young people in her work in child and youth care. She once proudly showed me a painting one of the kids made for her.
Chrissy’s love for animals was like no other. Her loving dog, Akasha, was always by her side, and later Aurora. Her Alaskan Huskies meant the world to her. Chrissy was often seen walking her dogs at the dog park as well as volunteering to help clean up the area.
She was talented at creating natural products such as body lotions and pet-friendly cleaning products. She was also a stellar baker (I shall miss her zucchini bread and soft delectable cookies). It was fun going to the Farmers’ Market with her picking out ingredients for her creations. Sadly, I wish I had asked her for her recipes because the body lotions she made were better than anything that could be bought in a store.
She had an eye for fashion and she was always finding bargains. For special events she often wore cute dresses and high heels that gave her somewhat equal footing with everyone else in this overly tall world! Chrissy was short but adorable and she rocked heels like no other lady!
Chrissy is missed by many people. She had a kind sweet soul; with her gone, this world has lost someone very special. For those of us who were lucky enough to have known her, we can hang on to our memories of her. For me, I will especially hold on to the laughter because that’s what brought us together as friends in the first place.
Rest in peace my friend.