The arrival of Sister Morphine

Note: Chris dictated this post to Linda this morning.

These things always get here sooner than we think they will. Planning ahead has not been our strong suit. We’ve gotten equipment in too late – case in point the assistive poles that arrived months after they could have been really useful.

Two nights ago, we started small doses of morphine which we probably should have started earlier (as the hospice nurse suggested) given back pain and other discomforts. I think Linda and I were both in denial that we were here so soon, realizing that starting morphine is one of the final steps in the dying process.

So now we’re here and discovering like most other things, it’s not a silver bullet (although the dose has just been increased). Even on morphine, we’re still miserable.

Heidi was here last Thursday and told Linda that I’d managed to fall off one cliff – that cliff being the dying cliff – and needed to fall off one more. I keep looking for the map to the next cliff. I keep looking for the “let go button” and can’t quite find it.

Linda thinks maybe I have gone off the next cliff, that my condition as deteriorated since Heidi was here. I hope she’s right. I’m so ready to fade to black.

My good friend and retired priest David Perry is arriving today. Among other things, he’ll administer last rites, which I’m hoping is the nudge I need to take the last step in departing this earth. I certainly feel I’m fading out…


About Chris Gulker

Chris Gulker, a self-described Infuential Blogger, lived in Menlo Park, California with spouse Linda. He passed away in late October 2010.
This entry was posted in My Brain, Taking Faith. Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to The arrival of Sister Morphine

  1. John says:

    We will miss you, Chris.

  2. Lynn Pieron says:

    Dearest Chris, You know, planning ahead ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Besides, the “one day at a time” plan seems to have served you and Linda marvelously well for years now. I hope Sister Morphine delivers her sweets soon for you, although rumor has it you still have a nose at least for the finer things — like coq au vin. Thanks for sharing your life, your grace and your love with your friends at Trinity and around the world. Much love, Lynn

  3. Rhonda Smith says:

    Dearest Chris and Linda,
    May love and the gift of God always be with you. I am thinking of both of you often. Your life and your messages on your blog have been a powerful platform of love, understanding and caring. Thank you! I love you both. Love, Rhonda

  4. Jeannie says:

    Dearest Chris,
    Example extraordinaire and treasure that you are, thank you for sharing your journey. We are grateful that our journeys have intersected with yours.
    May Morpheus send you dreams of sweet wonder.

  5. Shirley says:

    Dear Chris and Linda, you are a gift and inspiration to everyone with whom you come in contact. Your photos, writings and your joy in life have aided you in transitioning to the next journey. With prayers and love you abide within me. Love, Shirley

  6. Rick Hammond says:


    I hope the peace you seek finds you soon. Thank you for continuing to be such an inspiration!


  7. Natalie says:

    Chris, I hope you can hear my far-away voice, even though I never met you. I feel that your goodness, integrity and joie de vivre have resonated far and wide. You may be leaving this place now but you will not fade, I’m sure you’ll burn bright in that other dimension. God bless you and Linda and all your family.

  8. Mike Ridey says:


    Goodbye, my friend. May God care for you, and watch over Linda and your family.


  9. Dear Chris and Lovely Linda,
    I can hardly type this because my eyes are dripping and swollen. You both are such amazing folks and I am in awe of you both.

    I’m so sorry the end is nearing. I feel like a traitor to even say “the end”. I thought that somehow you would beat this horrible beast in your head and triumph over it. But perhaps, in truth, you actually have.

    You’ve kept your humor, your talent, your wisdom, your grace (small g), and your belief. You have bravely shared all the stages of this journey with us and I hope that I, at least, have profited from it all.

    I pray that all of your posts will remain available to us who are still bound to this earth so we can reread and remember and learn.

    You will not ever be forgotten. Your photography has told so many stories in such meaningful ways. But even better than that you have reached out and touched us all personally. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    You are a blessing to us all.

    Step bravely down this last little bit of your path to our Creator’s loving arms. Give us a wave once in a while and we will wave back.

    My love to you both.

  10. David Daye says:

    You’re both in our thoughts and prayers. Peace, and the gentlest possible ride to you Chris.

  11. Dana Rasmussen says:

    God speed my friend.
    It’s been a lifetime since we worked together at Frank’s, but you were one of the bright spots there.
    It has been a honor to know you.

  12. Judy says:

    Chris and Linda: The dawn community is sad to lose a member. I’ll not be able to run around Lake Lagunita without thinking of you, Chris. So many memories of morning encounters, first with our dogs, now both gone. Thank you for sharing your life’s travels with me – travels in years past to destinations far away and your current travel to a place of peace, comfort and joy.

    Warmly – Judy Mohr

  13. Barb Slaton says:

    Goodnight, my magnificent friend. How well you have lived and loved!

  14. dear Chris and Linda,
    Even though we are far away, we are thinking of both of you with gratitude for the very short period wo got to know each other.

  15. heidi engel says:

    dear chris, there is no map or straight path from one stage to the next in this process. it is a laborious, arduous, difficult path- you recognize that. there is nothing left you can control or plan for in any way other than you already have. your path in life was good, and strong, insipiring, and loving to the people around you; with that in mind, i know you will find peace within it all before you depart.
    with love and friendship, heidi

  16. Corrie Lassen says:

    Dearest Chris, I have arrived in this process much later than I wish I had (my fault). Sally Mancini shared your last journey with me tonight. I am very sad about your going. You are such a wonderful human being, and I think have become more wonderful over the last four years. I hope your prayers are answered and you find a good and gentle end very soon. Thank you for the chance to get to know you when I was at Trinity. Many, many blessings to both you and Linda. You are in my prayers. Love, Corrie

  17. Richard Geraghty says:

    Chris, as one of my favorite hymns says, ‘Be not afraid, I go before you always, Come follow Me, and I shall give you rest’. I’m happy we got to work together, you always brought passion and insight beyond the day to day work stuff. Thanks for sharing on this blog, its an inspiration.

  18. Brendan says:

    Though we’ve never met, I’ve been reading your blog for 11 years. You and your family have my best wishes for peace and comfort during these trying times. Godspeed.

  19. God bless you and your family, Mr. Gulker.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, ideas, and experiences through your blog.

  20. Karen says:

    Chris, we love you and have loved having you be a part of our lives and family for so many years. The kindness you have showed us and our children will always be remembered. You truly fought the good fight. Much love, Karen, Dave, Tyler and Thomas

  21. Katie says:

    Dear Chris, I will miss seeing you at our Trinity Taize services, but I’m fairly certain that I will always feel your presence there, and I will think of you every time I tune up my violin and play “Veni Sancte Spiritus.”

    I am praying for peace and comfort for you and Linda. May your future be radiant with perpetual light.

  22. Amy Bayersdorer says:

    Dear Chris and Linda,

    Seems no matter how much preparation we get, the final goodbyes are too soon. Know that you both have had a huge impact on the people around you — both those you know well, and those that watch from afar. Your grace and humor through these oh-so-challenging times are amazing, and an inspiration to everyone.

    Chris, know you will be missed. Know that your legacy lives on, both through these pages, and through the people you have touched across geographies, industries, and experiences.

    Linda, may you find the support you need now and in the future.

    Wishing you both safe, easy journeys.

  23. Mike Anderson says:

    Chris- You are my inspiration. I would hope to be half the man and person that you are when it comes my turn to leave this mortal coil.. The YMCA misses you and your ever ready smile and I miss seeing you there.. God Bless You Mike

  24. Alice says:

    Left a message on G & G. Don’t know if you are checking there, so here I am! Some people never know how much they are loved and what a difference they have made in the lives of others. You, my friend, are well loved, and I’m so glad you are being carried along with that tide. Thanks for modeling bravery for us! Lots of love, LPP

  25. Lynne says:

    Godspeed Chris, I’ll see you on the other side.
    I pray for you a peaceful passing.
    Much love, you will be missed.

  26. Thomas Rockel says:

    Dear Chris, Thank you for everything, you are truly the best role-model I could ever have hoped for
    Love Thomas

  27. Dean Musgrove says:

    Chris, Thank you so much for the quality time you shared with all of us. Please give a hug to Steve Grayson and Jim Roark for me. God Bless you on this journey.

  28. Tyler Rockel says:

    Chris- Thank you for all you have done over the years, you have taught so much in so many ways, you will always be remembered,
    Love Tyler

  29. Marianne Deaton says:

    Dearest Chris,
    You were always one of my favorite people to work with and happen to see after we didn’t work together on the same team but I have thought of you nearly daily. You will continue to be an amazing inspiration for your grace, compassion, humor, insights and I miss you. Peaceful journey to you, my friend and love and strength to you and your wonderful family.

  30. Frannie says:

    Oh Chris, so much has been said that I want also to say – we will NEVER forget you and are so grateful for the words that you have given to your journey and your humor and honesty that remain even now! I was thinking of your wanting to depart this life and your saying that you feel like you are fading out and it reminded me of that image of dying from Van Dyke – here it is -“I am standing upon the seashore.
    A ship at my side spreads her whitesails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
    I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
    Then, someone at my side says;”There, she is gone!” “Gone where?”
    Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull
    and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone
    at my side says, “There, she is gone!” There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad
    shout; “Here she comes!” And that is dying.” Lucky heaven! Frannie

  31. Christy says:

    Chris, Thank you for sharing your journey and amazing example of grace with me, thank you for your humor in suffering and gorgeous photos. You have left handprints on my heart.
    Linda, wishing you strength for the journey.
    Love to you both!

  32. Debbie says:

    Chris, Your smile, your strength,your warmth, your humor,your talent, your life has been a blessing to so many of us. Thank you for sharing some of this with Kara, me, and certainly Stuart. Thank you for teaching all of us to appreciate life and to approach dying with integrity and grace. You have been an inspiration and will be missed. Love and peace to you and Linda. XO

  33. Kurt Foss says:

    Chris — May you soon get your well-deserved wings …

  34. Jason Perlow says:

    Goodbye Chris. It’s hard for me to find words for this. I hope that your passing is peaceful and that your suffering ends soon. I’ll miss your wonderful photographs and your writing, and I am sure many people will speak of your bravery in the face of such despair. I for one certainly will.

  35. Saul Daniels says:

    I’ve been remiss by failing to check your blog the last few weeks as I’ve been embroiled in launching a site. And now I read the latest entry in your travelogue. It has been quite a journey since we first worked together at the HerEx. I remember when when you brought your first Apple II into the office to show off a program you had written to catalog photos. I thought I could apply it to an index of file-cabinet stored graphics. But even then you were way ahead of me in the world of technology. You still are. And now your travels have brought you to this place. Your generosity, your talent, your family are a legacy. Sleep well my friend.

  36. Tim Warner says:

    Chris — I feel fortunate to have visited with you just last week. You are a remarkable guy. Thank you for your friendship.

  37. Tom Seligson says:


    I’m keeping you in my thoughts.

    Thanks for your friendship.

  38. Raleigh Souther says:

    Chris, I just wanted to say how inspirational you’ve been. You were great with helping me host my first website on, raleighs’ earth. Your help with html and the emerging internet really gave me a chance to enjoy and grow with the technology.
    I can remember years ago when we were covering a building fire in Pasadena and shooting over each others shoulder, we were almost too close to the fire, just trying to get a good picture. Fortunately we both got alittle singed, but we also got great photos.
    Not to long after that we organized the photographers to march in the DooDah parade, what fun that was. Providing an instant press mob for the visitors viewing the parade. That was an amazing event you helped organize.
    I’ve followed your long and wonderful career with some jealousy. What cool things you’ve done and places you’ve gone. I’ve made a point to install this in my students and friends alike. To explore, create, and inspire.
    Thanks for your wonderful kindness and help. Your brillance will always shine.
    Raleigh Souther

  39. Roger Ridey says:

    Goodbye, Chris. Go knowing that you made this world a much better place for so many people. You have been a good friend, an inspiration and a hero to me and I will miss you very much.

  40. Pamela and Kevin McKean says:

    Go gently, good friend. If there is another side, I hope someday to join you there, and find you happy and relaxed and fully engaged as always. With love …

    Kevin & Pamela

  41. Patty says:

    Dear Gulker family,

    Although I have never met you Chris, my thoughts and prayers are with you, Linda and your family.

    Patty Mimmack (daughter of Bill Reid)

  42. Jared Ackley says:

    Thank you Chris. Peace be with you.


  43. Rip says:

    Chris, when morphine did not work for me (shoulder injury), they gave me Dilaudid (morphine times ten.) It worked.

    You’re a great human being. I am privileged to know you. As you once wrote to me, “See you on the other side of this thing.”



  44. Mary says:

    Love and peace. It’s been an honor to know you. And a hell of a lot of fun.

  45. Jared Ackley says:

    Thank you Chris. Peace be with you and your wife, family and friends.

  46. Mark Loundy says:


    You’ve helped push all of us into the future. I’ll miss knowing that you’re on the other end of the cyber-link. Godspeed buddy.


  47. Carol Gulotta says:

    Godspeed Chris. Our days at the HerEx seem so long ago, and yet so near. Time is strange that way. We’ll see you in the next realm.

  48. John Hollon says:

    Chris —

    I don’t know if you remember me, but I very much remember you. I worked at the HerEx from 1978 through the spring of 1981, first in the editorial pages for Tom Plate, then as Systems Editor for Ted Warmbold helping to install and train everyone on the SII system, and then on the news desk as an asst. news editor for John Lindsay.

    I remember you as a vibrant and sharp guy who always seemed to know what was going on. The entire photo team under Jim Roark was one of the sharpest groups top to bottom in the HerEx, and you did a lot of great work I remember well.

    There is not much I can say except that I thought it would be wrong not to salute you and your life with a brief note and to let you know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    The Herald Examiner was a great place, and it was great because of people like you. Stay well, travel safe, and vaya con dios …

    John Hollon

  49. Anonymous says:

    Hello Chris

    A big hug and fond greetings from Ireland. I know you have many friends here, and that you enjoyed your visits, although I only ever met you in and around your home. You and Bahman were welcoming and supportive to an early Rhapsody app back in 1998, and I appreciated your interest and advice when I relaunched that effort and we met again in 2004.

    Less happily, we’ve also shared an encounter with the Big C – prostate cancer for me, which surgery seems to have under control for now. I admire your geeky fascination with the mechanics and technologies involved, though I can’t match your journalist’s eye for the story and the pic!

    God speed my friend … you’ve brought grace to many, and achieved much good in your time here.

    Gerry Hurley

  50. Cathy Healy says:

    Dear Chris and Linda,
    Carol Gulotta and I are entwined in your life and your leaving, which doesn’t feel like gone, just farther away, but with us.

    Bless you.

    Love, Cathy

  51. Mark J. Terrill says:


    I haven’t seen you in many years and I wish that wasn’t the case. I simply want to say Godspeed.

    Mark J. Terrill

  52. Joshua Levy says:

    I am so very fortunate to have you in my life. You have been my Mentor and inspiration. I have cherished our conversations from when I first ventured out into the world, got my first real job, started countless companies, and toiled with my many cameras. The last few years have been a whirlwind – and as I believed that the end would never come, I am now faced with that harsh reality. Know that you touched this soul, and it has been greater because of it. I look up to you as a Husband and Father, Grandfather, Photographer, Artist and Chef, Technologist, Visionary, and Cool Dude. You have set a very high bar, and I will do my best to live up to it.


  53. Marla L'Angelle says:

    Chris —

    I worked with you at the Her Ex — I was in charge of the Copy Clerks in the ’80s — left just before the paper folded. Unfortunately, I just learned of your journey from Saul Daniels — Thank you for this blog — what a wonderful gift. My thoughts and prayers are with you — if prayers and love make this next road less bumpy — you are in for smooth sailing.

    Love to you
    Marla (Niesley) L’Angelle

  54. Chris, I hope these words reach you on earth. I wanted to let you know that every time I jog the Dish, I’ll think of the sunsplit clouds you shared with us from there. Thanks eversomuch for sharing so much.

  55. S. Mendler says:

    Here’s a hint: at the last cliff, you don’t fall.

    You rise.

  56. bruce conger says:


    You’re an awesome person whom I’m glad I got to know through the reunions.

    Your computer advice was appreciated, and I’m sad about this whole thing.

    You have definitely made your mark in this world.

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