An Oath to Knopf.


 “Improvise, overcome and adapt!”- Christopher Allen Knopf

       Last night I was informed by an old friend that Christopher Allen Knopf is no longer with us. The papers only gave a brief notice that he  passed on October 13, 2011 and that he was 41 years old and was found in his home in Wilmington, NC. It just does not make much sense at  all. This kind of action is not of his character at all, and I don’t understand it. I know of some demons that he probably was dealing with, but   to give up on his life just doesn’t make sense. This does not sound like the man that I know and remember dearly. That is not the way that he taught me and the rest of my peers. No not at all! What he stood for was Freedom, Justice, Peace, Liberty, Love, and the Pursuit  of Happiness! He taught us that we could do anything that we put our minds to, and that giving up was not an option. Very military-like mindset, but we loved him dearly even when he would yell a lot and throw stuff. lol. 🙂

           Yes, Christopher Allen Knopf was my 8th grade Science and Social Studies teacher. But he wasn’t just my teacher, he was my role model, my life-coach, my father, and my friend. I deeply love this man for all that he is as a man, but for all that he did in his life time. He not only changed my life but so many others in my class and the ones before and after mine. He was an inspiration to us all and taught us about the realities of this world. He taught us how to be strong and pushed us to be excellent at everything that we did. Because of this man, I actually truly believed that I could go to college and I did…and I am. Next year, I was gonna call him up and invite him to my college graduation, and tell him thank you.  I know that many thought that I was obsessed with this man as a child. But in reality, I was just in awe of him and fascinated by his stories of overcoming so many obstacles in his young life.  When he taught my class, he was in his early 30’s, and had such a beautiful spirit about him. He was weird and very misunderstood by the masses, but there were a few of us that actually got him and it was awesome. There are so many sayings that he used to say to us as kids, and it is engraved on my heart. I live my life by his words. I think of him often when I am in a rough patch at school and I wonder what he would have said.  And then I smile, and remember his hugs and his laugh….and that smile that would make everything alright just for a moment. In many ways, Chris Knopf was our father and had a few hundred children, regardless if he wanted them or not. LOL. Yea, we were his kids and we wanted to make him proud.

      I still feel like this is not real. Like, tomorrow I will wake up and get another call and it will be some sick joke or something. But then again, I know that there is nothing I can do to bring him back. And why would I? He lived a life full of honor and that is quite respectable and cherished. It has been years since we have seen each other or even spoken; and I can still smell the scent of his colon. I can still hear his laugh and remember how compassionate he was, yet  so aggressive and astute. A weird one he was and it gave me comfort to be as weird as I am. There is still so much to say, but I’ll have to find those words at a later time. But until then I will say this:

Christopher Allen Knopf you are a hero, you are a friend, a teacher, and a lover. You mean so much to so many people, and have lite a fire within us that makes us want to be better. I thank you for that and I make this oath to you…

That I will live my life in honor of you, just as I have been for years. I will think of you often and keep your memory deep within. You are our father, when u didn’t have to and I am thankful for that.

I love you Mr. Knopf! You will never be forgotten.  

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13 thoughts on “An Oath to Knopf.

  1. I was and am a friend of Chris Knopf’s, he was a great friend and mentor to many. I appreciate what you have written and know that Chris would have as well. Thank You

    1. Dan,

      Thank you for your comments. I am not sure how you found my blog, but I am humbled by the impact it has had on many. I write when I don’t understand, when I am sad, angry, confused, etc. Chris Knopf means more to me than I think I could ever realize. If you know of any of his family members, please send them my love and maybe these words will give them comfort.
      -amanda

      1. Hi Amanda,

        I stumbled across your blog when doing a search for Chris Knopf. I have known Chris for a very long time however, I had lost touch with him for awhile. It’s very touching to read what you and other students of his have written about him. He was a great man and he was loved by so many. I am honored to have known him. I think Chris would be proud to know that you are in college and graduating. Can you share some of the sayings that Mr Knopf would always say in the classroom? I know you said he had many.

        Thanks again for sharing!

      2. Honestly, the only one that I can remember right now is ” Improvise. Overcome. And Adapt.” He used to say that in my 8th grade Science class when things plans changed or things broke in class. 🙂 Oh, how me and my friends would giggle. We thought he was soo funny cause he would get mad at things that didn’t work and would call it ” a piece of garbage”. 🙂 lol. If i can find some of them in my old journals i will let you know. 🙂 Thanks for commenting and if you know anyone that would benefit from these words please pass my page on. Thanks!

  2. Dear Amanda

    My name is Michael, Chris was my brother. I was given the link to your blog post by a friend who knew us both well. We had a service for him on Saturday (10-22-2011) in Wilmington, I wish you could have attended, If I had known I would have gladly asked you to be there.

    I wanted to respond to you because I know that is what my brother would have wanted. I have provided what I said about my brother at his funeral. I can tell you that Chris is proud of you, and so am I. Even though you and I never knew of each other before this moment. Thanks so much, it means more than I can possibly say.

    “It is difficult to understand what led Chris to this decision. As I’ve tried to put together the pieces so I can gain some kind of understanding I’ve come to realize that in many ways my brother was two people.

    Chris was a witty, loving, fun filled, extremely intelligent, and caring person. He was also an angry, depressed, and trapped individual. That dark side got the best of him after years of struggle. My brother was a man who wanted to be in control. In the end, he simply wasn’t.
    Chris made a lot of choices in life that caused him real grief. I believe that he just couldn’t come to grips with all of this, I think he felt like he had no way to resolve these problems, and escape was his only option.

    I also feel that Chris never really realized the impact his death would have on those who loved him. If he had foreseen how this decision would shatter his family he would have made different choices.

    When my sister called and told me what Chris had done I was so incredibly angry. I walked my neighborhood in the middle of the night, my mind consumed with emotion: Anger, sadness, frustration, a seemingly endless array of memories of what was and what could have been.

    I feel that I am finally moving past the anger and toward forgiveness. I don’t know how Chris felt that day. I can’t put my mind into the place where he must have been in order to do this to himself. I am glad that he didn’t hurt anyone else, I feel like he was capable of hurting others when he would let his anger get the best of him.
    Chris left a note, it was addressed to “all”. Not just you, not just me, but everyone. The first sentence consisted of two words and two words only, those words were “Forgive me”. I will do what you have asked of me my brother, I will forgive you.

    It is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know the best who elude us…but we can still love them. We can love completely…without complete understanding.

    I wanted to take the time to say thank you to the countless people who have reached out to us and shown that they care; it means more than you could ever know. “

    1. Michael,

      Thank you for your kind words and thank you for expressing you feelings. It is so nice to hear that I am not the only one grieving. When I found out from an old classmate that the service was on Saturday, I cried. Trying to write journalism assignments and write for this and that newspaper has been challenging. I am still angry, confused, hurt, sad, overwhelmed. I am not angry at Chris, just frustrated. As a young girl I always sensed his heavy heart and admired him for continuing to help me with mine. Thank you for telling me about his last words. It brought me to tears. Though I am up North in Dayton, Ohio I will make it down to visit his grave. Michael, I don’t know what else to say but thank you for letting me know that I am not alone in these overwhelming mixed feelings of grief. Thank you for responding. Your words motivate me to keep pushing through these challenging times, and continue to do something that matters. Though I don’t even know you, I love you. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers and the prayers of my family.

      1. Amanda

        If you visit the Ocean, any Ocean, you will be visiting my brother. As he had wished he was returned to the ocean (the south end of Wrightsville beach next to the inlet, at the #41 public access) from which we all came, paddled out for one last ride in the surf by three surfers who never knew him but none-the-less told us that it what an honor to be a part of his last request.

        Amanda, carry on with your mission in life. Change the world, you can and will achieve anything you put your mind too. My brother is a causualy of war, having suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for years, something that finally got the best of him. He is not to blame, even though I have been extremely mad at him over this. He did what he set out to do, change his world. You are proof of his success. Continue his mission.

  3. this a truly heart-felt post, as i did not know the guy i have a lot of respect for him…most people think you are just trying to be a teachers pet by sucking up to a teacher but in realtiy you are just trying to get to know him/her a little better and what makes them tick. I am so sorry for your loss sis, I am here for you if you need me.I know GOD will use this loss to make you stronger. I will be praying for you and Mr. Knopf’s family.

  4. The last several days I kept meaning to look you up, my first childhood neighborhood friend that I can remember. Upon some research I saw your obituary and my heart sank. I enjoyed our years together on the S. side of St. Pete. and the years that followed at Saint Pete. Christian. Your honesty will always stick with me.. God Bless. Ty

  5. Hello Amanda, I hope you are doing well. Today marks 5 years since Chris took his own life, so many people have reached out today and talked about the impact he had on their lives, it’s comforting to know that his impact on this world has lasted long after he left it. Re-reading your post means so much to me, thank you.

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