Christopher Michael Mynheir
October 29, 1992 – July 11, 2017
Our Eulogy for Chris at his Celebration of Life Service
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We would like to thank all of our family and friends who are here today to help us celebrate the life of our son Christopher Michael Mynheir. Your love, support, and prayers have truly carried us through the dark days of this last week, and without it, I’m not sure how we would have managed. Writing a eulogy for our son was something we never thought we would have to do, but we feel it’s important to tell Chris’s story and to honor our son, his life, and his faith. Many of you know Chris through Covenant Christian School, University of Central Florida, Watermark Christian Book Store, or at his job at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but I’m not sure how many people are aware of Chris’s early years and the trials he faced prior to even being born.
Chris’s very earliest moments of life were marked for us by fear, uncertainty, and fervent prayer. While still in the womb, Chris was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in his head that ultimately crushes down on the brain. The doctors gave us the grim diagnosis with outcomes ranging from possible severe mental and physical disabilities to death. The situation drove us to our knees. Lori was always a strong Christian. I was not. But we prayed, and I did a lot of soul searching. We asked God to at least give Chris the capacity to know joy. If Chris could know joy, we could give him a good and loving home, no matter his condition.
The day of Chris’s birth was stressful and frightening for us. He was to be taken into neurosurgery as soon as he was born to have shunt placed into his head to drain the buildup of fluid, and we were looking at a potential lifetime of challenges for him. As soon as Chris was delivered, he was given an MRI prior to his scheduled surgery. But to everyone’s astonishment, all the signs of Hydrocephalus had miraculously disappeared, leaving his neurosurgeon speechless. Chris had been completely healed, and the doctors had no answers as to why or how. It was clearly evident to us that the hand of God had touched our son and answered our prayers.
After witnessing God heal my son, I gave my life to Jesus Christ. Little did we know then that God’s healing of Chris would set the trajectory for the faith and blessing in our family for many years to come.
As Chris grew, we could see that our earlier prayers for him were answered far above what we had even asked for. Not only did Chris know “joy,” but “Joyful” would be the one word that would describe him best.
Chris was easily the happiest kid we had ever seen, even as an infant. His joy and enthusiasm were contagious and brought hours upon hours of pleasure to our family. Everything was new and exciting to him, and he would jump up and down with delight at the slightest provocation. His early years were filled with an abundance of laughter in our home, and he was always such a happy-go-lucky person. Once, while on the basketball team, he was put in the game and stopped mid-court to smile and wave vigorously at us in the bleachers as the rest of the players sprinted past him toward the basket. That was Chris.
Chris cherished his time at Covenant Christian School and the life-long friendships formed there. He thanked us repeatedly through the years for enrolling him there, and we appreciate the effort of so many teachers who helped shape and mold him.
Chris was also fiercely loyal to his family and friends. He would protect Shannon and Justin with his life, if need be, and wouldn’t even defend himself when Shannon would be dragging him around the living room by his shirt. Chris loved, protected, and cared for his brother and sister in a way that would make any parent proud. Shannon and Justin have followed in the path forged by their brother and the example he set, and they have been rocks of strength for Lori and me this week.
Chris had a special relationship with his grandparents and our extended family as well. We had regular family get-togethers, and Lori and I were blessed to have so many people in our family pour wisdom, love, and guidance into Chris, Shannon, and Justin. We had what we termed as “JBS” (Jacuzzi Bible Study), in which Chris, his grandpa, and anyone else there would discuss the bible, politics, and life while relaxing in the hot tub. Some remarkable conversations and insights came out of those studies, and Chris’s inquisitive and strong mind dug ever deeper into issues of faith and life with an understanding that surpassed his age.
He was an amazing writer with a gifted, creative mind. He ran his own video game review blog and could read a 600-page novel in an afternoon sitting and remember every word. He belonged to several on-line writing groups and had writing friends all over the world. He was the keeper of obscure facts about every character and storyline in the Marvel Universe. He had such diverse interests from video games to novels to deep theological debates.
We are blessed with so many memories of trips across the country, cruises, camping excursions, school functions, writers’ conferences, and countless family times with our son that are forever etched into our spirits. We got to say everything we would want to say to him and to let him know how much he meant to us.
Like anyone, Chris certainly wasn’t perfect, but he was an amazing son who made us proud with everything that he did. He always sought to honor his mother and father and his commitments, and he had such a sweet, kind, and gentle spirit. Chris became a true man of character, and we so enjoyed our relationship with him as an adult.
Our son regularly spoke of his friends from college and those around him who did not have a relationship with God. He hoped that God would someday use him to reach them with the Gospel. We never imagined it could be under a circumstance like this, but we would not be honoring our son’s wishes if we didn’t talk about Chris’s faith. Jason gave the message today, and our family’s hope is that those of you here who do not know Jesus or understand the Christian faith have at least lent an attentive ear and an open heart to words about a God who loves us so much that he sent his only Son to die for us. Those words have taken on an entirely new meaning for our family this week far beyond a simple theological statement.
We don’t want to leave anyone with the impression that somehow because of our faith in Christ, we aren’t hurting and grieving our loss. We are. Chris’s death has blown a hole in our hearts and sent ripples of unbelievable anguish throughout our family and friends. At times the pain has been so excruciating we can barely stand it. But when those waves of grief wash over us, we are brought back to what we know is true and the promises of God. We know, WE KNOW, that because of our son’s faith in Christ, he walks with Jesus right now and is in Heaven where there is no pain, evil, or grief, and the troubles of this world are not welcome. Chris is in a place where there is only overwhelming joy, peace, and love in the presence of God Almighty Himself. Christopher Michael Mynheir has never been better than he is right now. We’re the ones left here, hurting and seeking answers and relief.
We never dreamed that we would have Chris with us for only twenty-four years. But so many years ago, we were unsure if he would even survive birth. God gave us this time with Chris as a gift. Chris was only on loan to us, as everyone is. While we grieve and can’t begin to understand everything that has happened, we choose to praise God and thank Him for the time he gave us with Chris and the blessing that he was to us all.
Chris, you have fought the good fight, you ran the race well, you kept the faith. Enter your rest, my son. We love you so very much.