A legacy of love: How Chris Bradley's family is remembering him, carrying his cause forward

(Credit: Jennie Key Photography)

As Chris Bradley might say, there are more sunny days than cloudy in the Bradley-Krauss household these days.

"We really miss Chris being a part of our lives," said his husband Jason Bradley-Krauss. "I miss his sense of humor. I miss his companionship."

"Driving directions," whispered their daughter Maria, 12, with a giggle.

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"He really was much better at driving directions than I am," said Jason with a laugh.

Chris passed away nearly 8 months ago on December 5. Jason, and his children Spencer and Maria sat down with 10TV in Chris's favorite room, the sunroom overlooking his garden.

They shared their thoughts about their life together and their loss. All of it- the good times and the bad- in the public eye.

"But he really handled that so beautifully I think," said Jason. "He truly just loved people."

And people loved Chris. When he announced that he was transitioning to hospice care, hundreds of neighbors gathered to sing Christmas carols.

"They all came onto our yard and they started singing, and we opened all the windows," remembered Spencer, 15. "And my dad was sitting up on this couch. And he just had a giant smile on his face. It was...it was good to see that."

"Chris spent 20 years asking central Ohio to be his friend, and in his illness and in his death, they showed up," said Jason. "He was so humbled by it. He really was. He was so humbled by it. He was...he was really proud of the impact that he had had in his community. But he was also really proud of the community."

Ask what they miss about him, the answers are many.

"I guess just the comforting of him, of his presence," said Maria. "Because growing up he was always there. It was either dad, dad, or both dads there. And now it's like, you only have one dad. But he's still really great. But the other one is just not there anymore."

They are forever a family of four, learning how to be three.

"I don't think in grief you can push it aside, or leave it behind you," Jason said. "I think you have to wrap your arms around it and boldly step forward. And understand it's going to be painful. And understand you're going to feel the loss in every single step. But it's the only way I can think of moving forward, is to carry that love with me. I don't want to let it go. I didn't want it to end. And it never will."

They remember him with books filled with his dad jokes. And photos of moments to precious to forget, like a photo of Spencer holding his Chris' hand at the end.

"I love looking at it. Because that was one of the last pictures of me and him," Spencer said. "Sometimes I feel sad when I look at it. Sometimes I feel relieved that his fight is over, and that he's in a better place now."

Chris shared his walk with cancer with all of us, in hopes of inspiring others to fight. A legacy his family hopes to carry forward.

"Chris lived for 53 years," said Jason. "And he lived big in those 53 years. And he accomplished an awful lot in those 53 years. And we're really proud of what he did and who he was. And what he meant to us."

Amid the outpouring of public support after Chris's death, his family established "The Chris Bradley Fund" through the Columbus Foundation.

In August, to mark his birthday, they will make the first financial gifts from that fund.

They will be awarding two causes close to Chris's heart: Pelotonia, the charity bike ride that supports cancer research at the OSU James Cancer Center, and King Avenue United Methodist Church, the family's home church, to help support and grow the church's inclusive programming.

If you'd like to support Chris's fund, click here.

Remembering Chris Bradley

For more stories on Chris Bradley, click here.