David Friedrich

(Given at the Funeral, Church of the Advent)

This place, this music, all of you gathered here are what and who Chris loved most. He appreciated the majestic, ethereal, and transcendent so it is fitting to celebrate his life here. Yet it is also true that Chris never wanted things to be about him. His first concern was others. He was a guy who simply loved to be with his friends and family. As someone posted online “Chris was the embodiment of kindness.”

My brother’s obituary, so beautifully written by Nadia, begins with the phrase that he was a man of strength and integrity. This is so true even though we come together today to wrestle with the fact that his strength was tested and he succumbed to powerful forces beyond himself. And while we cannot make sense of this now, we gather to remember and celebrate him knowing he is at peace.

As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face.

We take hope in the strength of God’s mercy and graceand lean into the promise that what we only know in part now we will know fully then. This world is a difficult, and at times, dark place, but Chris by his boundless curiosity, his care for others, and that irrepressible smile was, no IS, a radiant reflection for us of who God is.

As a family, we have been enveloped and bourn up by the love, prayer and support of so many. We cherish a lifetime of memories with Chris and have been privileged to see him through your eyes, through memories of the countless lives he has touched. And that is a lot! Whether it is someone who met him after a show or a dear friend, the accounts of who Chris is for us match up. He was so consistently and genuinely thoughtful, generous, and kind. As a friend recently wrote Chris “wisely chose to be obstinately joyous and grateful and full of wonder.” This consistency in his nature is a true sign of strength, integrity, and character; a way of living imparted to him (and me) by our parents and grandparents and grounded in a deep and abiding faith. As Chris’ big brother he may have looked up to me. Yet it is I who hope to be more like him.

While he has gone from us physically, his impact on our lives thunders on like the rumble of his bass lines.

I want to share a few thoughts with you from Chris’ wife Nadia.

There was a glow in Chris’ eye when he was ready for an adventure. His sarcasm was smart and subtle. He loved to correct my grammar and was the only American I knew who felt “peckish” when he needed food. Chris felt like home to me from the minute I met him, and he felt like I was home for him, too. Life with him felt like an Elizabeth Goudge novel, and I loved him for that.

Chris was an exceptional judge of character and integrity, who never gave up on someone over a disagreement. His friends span across the globe, and they could each could say they knew him after an evening with a beer at the bar. He once told me, “If you want to get to know somebody, ask them questions and listen to what they have to say. People like to talk about themselves.”

Being around Chris made you happy. Being around Chris made you feel loved. Being around Chris made you feel comfortable and gave you the freedom to be yourself. He exuded joy; the kind that people have when they are young, and often lose when they begin to grow up. He was a listener; a confidant; the bestfriend I ever had. He loved people, despite their negative qualities and judgmental tendencies; he led by example and thought that words were cheap.

Chris’ hunger for knowledge was insatiable. I once threatened that if he bought one more book from Manchester-by-the-Book, I would begin to secretly donate them to Beverly Bootstraps. He was one of the only people I knew who read Anna Karenina, in three days, and who read The Divine Comedy from cover to cover six times. The peace that Levin felt in nature and pureness of the love he shared with Kitty was something Chris desired and strove for in his own life. Yes, he was a passionate dreamer; but his passion, hope, and restful love of the simple life carried me through some of the greatest challenges and most stressful times in my life.

He gave so much to his job, to his friends, to his family, and to me. May we all keep his blue eyes and his contagious smile in our hearts, until the day we all see him again.

———

On behalf of Nadia and my family I want to express our gratitude for the outpouring of love, support, generosity, and kindness, all of which are fitting tributes by you to the man who embodied these things and whose life we celebrate today.

Thank you.

Nate Gaede

(In response to a conversation with Adam Caress)

I second everything about Chris feeling like a younger brother. Not only because Dave and he were clearly part of our Gloucester family and because he was my good friend’s kid brother, but because of who and how he was. He was a person with so much wonder and joy in every fiber of his being that you couldn’t help but be taken in by him in the best possible way. He had this childlike innocence that he somehow magically carried into adulthood when the rest of us felt and looked and acted like the world had kicked us around a little. And it wasn’t because he was 18 when I met him – that never stopped. All his life you could tell hime the sky was green and he would go “oh really? Wow!” and not tell you you were a moron even though he knew you were.

It always made me feel like I shouldn’t take things for granted, that being jaded was a choice, not a consequence of getting older and Chris was choosing wisely to remain obstinately joyous and grateful and full of wonder. You could tell him anything and he would give you this look like, “really? that’s amazing!” He didn’t have a snide, condescending or confrontational bone in his body, and never made people feel bad about what they had to say. If you wanted to talk about it, he was interested.

Long after he stopped being just this kid with a hot car with a loan he couldn’t possibly afford and a smile that he had no idea how to turn off who needed a place to stay, he was still a man with a smile that he had no idea how to turn off. Whenever I would go to Caspian shows there would be the whole band, up in the dark stage with mood lighting, playing dark soulful symphonic music and these serious looks on their faces, casing about for dramatic emotions. And then there was Chris in back with his bass, smiling from ear to ear. If you watched him long enough, you could see him think about it and decide that he should have a serious look on his face, so he would wear a serious mask for a couple of minutes. But then of course it would gradually crack, and the look of joy would creep back onto his face, and he would be up there, beaming away again as he played. You couldn’t contain who he was and he couldn’t fake it. Life never seemed to beat down, coach out, betray off, drink away, shout out or disappoint away his unbridled optimism and joy.

And for me that’s why his passing rips me in half. If feels particularly cruel to lose a friend, a family member, a brother in Christ, who had and was something really unique in my life – in all our lives. I know none of my friends is irreplaceable, but Chris seems to me particularly irreplaceable. He had qualities that defied the lies of this World about how we are supposed to look and act, and it had a massive impact on people around him. You didn’t have to know him well to know he was special, and to love him disproportionally to the time you had invested in him. He was a light in dark places, and I cannot believe that light is gone from us. For now, anyway. There is no doubt in my mind that as I walk my million billion miles, I will see that light in the distance, and in a far greener country I will find Chris again. Beaming from ear to ear. And when I see him I know exactly what he will say to me: “isn’t this cool?”

Rachael Leach – The Butter Dish

Chris

We gave you and Nadia a butter dish and marbled utensil holder.  What you chose to start your life together was just lovely, smart, and refreshing. I imagined you both sitting at the table, sipping morning coffee made from your french press, and asking one another to please pass the butter, to spread it over freshly baked french bread.  A butter dish. A utensil holder. Being settled in and snuggled in. Cooking with friends. Eating, drinking, and being merry. We were all ecstatic you moved back to the North Shore. We were all waiting for our lives to finally begin with you and Nadia. You always went together.  Now what?  Our lives will never be the same. I quit my job because life is too short.  I don’t feel like I can or want to do life the same. You and Nadia always seemed to be planning your next fun adventure and you made it happen. How did you do that? You never seemed afraid of anything Chris. You just lived, on the edge. You dared to open your heart to life, pursue your dreams, passions, and love.  You allowed yourself to enjoy life’s finest things, to explore life’s playground. I admired your spontaneity. Your contagious spirit gently prodded me to say, Why Not?, to take the step forward into what my heart has been beckoning me to do. Thank you for being an inspiration. It’s not the same here. An emptiness stills us, but yet there is one wild life to live, each day is a gift. How do we hold this gift? What do we do with it?  I don’t feel grounded. All that was familiar isn’t now. There isn’t anything to grab onto and hold tightly because this life is only temporary

Reading between the lines
The Butter Dish

“My dear”
the newspaper rustled
the last bit of crust on his plate
waiting
A sip of coffee left
“if you would please pass”
She glanced over her book
at him
Her hand slowly reached out
She already knew
A moment to savor,  hearts delighted
Life’s morning rays peeking in
Her pinky caressed the melted butter
on the edge
of the porcelain
and then his nose,
followed by a kiss.
“I love you, too”.

Joe Vickers

(Paraphrased passage from CS Lewis’ book The Last Battle)

I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.

Come further up, come further in!

So they ran faster and faster till it was more like flying than running, and even the Eagle overhead was going no faster than they. And they went through winding valley after winding valley and up the steep sides of hills and, faster than ever, down the other side, following the river and sometimes crossing it and skimming across mountain lakes as if they were living speed-boats, till at last at the far end of one long lake which looked as blue as a turquoise, they saw a smooth green hill. Its sides were as steep as the sides of a pyramid and round the very top of it ran a green wall: but above the wall rose the branches of trees whose leaves looked like silver and their fruit like gold.

Further up and further in!

And no one held back. They charged straight at the foot of the hill and then found themselves running up it almost as water from a broken wave runs up a rock out at the point of some bay. Though the slope was nearly as steep as the roof of a house and the grass was smooth as a bowling green, no one slipped. Only when they had reached the very top did they slow up; that was because they found themselves facing great golden gates.

Erin Burke-Moran

For Chris

Chris
Freddy
Friend
Brother
Comrade

Today I will let you go as you have left
And left with me many things
Many pieces of you
Of your smile
And your heart

Forever will they remain
Now  and here
By me
Beside me
With me

But there is a warmth in my heart from you
A flame
Something still so very alive and burning
Something still here
Staying with me
as I continue
and press further in upon what it was we were chasing all those years

Stay with me now
And be still
I will miss you, friend
I will always honor you, my comrade

Ryan Leach

I’m one of the older dudes that Chris used to hang out with. Adam Caress and I were roommates with Dave, and I have known Chris since the first time he came up to visit Dave at Gordon.

To be honest, I felt a bit scared when I got the ask from Nadia to share, mostly because I don’t have a ton of old “Chris stories”, as my real closer friendship with him has been more recent, and I have a dreadful memory. I woke up thinking about him at 4am this morning and I realized that my discomfort was more due to the hole that I feel created by the now never to be filled longing only to know him so much better. I was so looking forward to hanging out with he and Nadia this summer as I knew they were moving back to Beverly. The last time I hung out with him was grilling on my back deck the night after the Beverly block party Caspian show. I thought that would be the first of many this summer. It turned out to be the only one. I think so much of my grief surrounds that horrendously massive loss of potential. I wanted more Chris in my life.

He came over a bunch of times over the last few years to hang out, randomly- grilling on the back deck or drinking beers with the boys in the garage. He was such an easy hang out. I don’t really know how to say this, but he always brought so much to any gathering without ever detracting. I guess what I’m thinking there is that he could have been a real arrogant ass. He was a very “cool” guy, but never ever brought anything but sweetness and appreciation for you and the others around him to the party. I think I can safely say that I have never heard him name drop or self promote. I am shocked at that realization as I write it. I think I dropped his name in my own self-promotions more than he ever promoted himself. (How many of us were living vicariously through Chris?) But, you knew about the cool things in Chris’s life by his fascinated presentation of them, or by a sheepish inclusion into one of his enjoyments or good fortunes: like his Audi or a good Scotch, or his band and their adventures.

Chris, in my experience, was living life and loving people in so many ways that I really respected. I saw him infecting people around him and bringing them up. He brought more life, more love, more interest, more enthusiasm, more engagement, more hope to everyone he met and touched. You felt like life was more doable from his example and through his presence. Why not just smile and let it roll? Why not drive the car you really want to drive or drink the scotch you really want to drink, and share it with a friend? Why not let the other person speak about themselves and learn about what makes their experience of life interesting? Why not seek to glorify God and others over and above oneself?

Chris was generally awesome at those things, and I appreciate what he was able to pull out of me. He was an enrichment and a blessing. His smile and love brought God’s kingdom with it, and man was that beautiful.

Josh MacQuarrie

Many of you know that Chris came to work for me about 10 years ago. Dave had been my employee prior to Chris but when he went on to better things I traded him in for a newer Friedrich model. “Friedrich the Younger” we called him for a time. It was there that our bonds of friendship began to grow. Along with Anthony, we got to know this special kid and fed off his youthful energy. With Caspian, were there for early band practices, some of the recording sessions in Annisquam and the first dozen or so shows. It was great to see such passion and creativity in our friend. I know Anthony and he spent time discussing the “painterly aspects” of Caspian’s music on several occasions. We could always count on each other for long drives involving deep conversation or to share music we were excited about.

In recent years, Chris and Nadia have become family. We have an annual weekend gathering at our family lake house every summer. We have the fondest memories of Chris and Nadia being very involved in our kid’s lives. I have many pictures and videos of Uncle Chris tossing the kids high in the air on the lake, tirelessly pulling them around the lawn in a wagon, reading them stories and, most recently, judging toy house building contests with Nadia.

What sticks best in my mind about his selfless love comes from the Beverly Main Streets Show Caspian just did. My 8 year old son Jonathan has become a big fan and this was his first show. He was hoping that his favorite songs Further Up/Further In would be part of the set list. Before the show, Chris gave him assurances that he would hear it. Because of some technical problems and time constraints they were not able to play Jonathan’s request and he was visibly upset. Hundreds of fans cheered at the end of the show but Chris’ immediate action was to get down of f the stage and come to this 8 year old boy that he loved. He apologized up and down to Jonathan and said he owed him. Jonathan and I will always remember that moment.

My family loved him dearly.

Obituary

Born in Savannah, Georgia and raised in New England, Christopher Michael Friedrich was a man of integrity and strength, who believed his actions spoke louder than words.

Both kind and generous, he always thought of others before himself; whether it be letting a friend use his car, offering to pay for a meal, traveling to Africa to deliver medical supplies, or leaving a $2 tip for his $1.70 coffee.

Having attended Laconia Christian High School, he continued his education at Gordon College. It was there that he met the love of his life, Nadia. Fascinated and attracted to both their similarities and differences, he continued to pursue her; and eventually, after many years, he won her heart and married his love.

Having traveled the globe, there was nothing better to Chris then a drive in his car along the “Cape Ann 500”, or a Sunday outdoor adventure at Appleton Farms. For Chris, nature was peace; and though plagued with frequent bouts of poison ivy, Chris never missed the opportunity to be in the outdoors. Chris had a passion for music, inspired in him as a young boy by the church, his older brother, and his parents. As a bass player for Caspian, he traveled to over 40 countries, and combined his passion for music with his love for the church to plan various benefit shows, including an Amirah fundraiser at the Old South Church.

At the core, Chris loved his family, and loved the community he was a part of. An incredible husband, loving son, loyal brother, uncle, cousin, nephew, and friend, Chris will be truly missed and celebrated by those who knew and loved him. He is remembered dearly by his wife, Nadia, his parents Robert and Sandra, his brother David and sister-in-law Brooke, and his grandmother, Ruth Barton.

In an effort to support Chris’ wife, Nadia, during this time and in lieu of flowers, we welcome donations to the “Christopher Friedrich Memorial Fund”. Checks may be made out to “Christ Church” with “Christopher Friedrich Memorial Fund” in the memo line, sent to 149 Asbury St, South Hamilton, Ma 01982.

A celebration of the life of Christopher Friedrich held at the Church of the Advent, 30 Brimmer Street, Beacon Hill, Boston on Saturday, August 31 at 10am. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Visiting hours and Community Remembrance will be held in the courtyard of Christ Church, 149 Asbury Street, Hamilton on Friday, August 30 from 4 to 8pm. Information, directions, condolences at www.campbellfuneral.com