Christianne Sharman, a writer, a friend and the owner of Spokane public relations firm, Sharman Communications died of complications from a brain tumor yesterday, with family at her side.
It was over 10 years ago when Christianne and her brother, Graham walked into Cravens Coffee as Sharman Communications. We were brought together with Sharman Communications for a major rebranding project through our good friends at Anderson Mraz Design. We have been friends and colleagues ever since.
The last year has been a special time in my relationship with Christianne. We were having trouble coordinating schedules on a regular basis and decided to make our time together a priority. We met every week on every Wednesday at 11am for a year. And now when I step into our cupping room on Wednesdays I am moved by the loss of Christianne. The habits we formed has me expecting to be with her each week. To see her walk in the door with her overstuffed briefcase and bags, her long free spirited hair and her colorful scarves all wrapped into one very determined package. I miss her.
Simon and I are so very grateful for Christianne. She helped shape our ideas, principles and messages into words that made sense. Words that were fun to read. Words that were interesting to read. She used to say, “Write things that give people a treat.” And she always said it with a smile.
Christianne believed in Simon and me. She believed in Cravens Coffee and the work we were doing. She attentively listened to reports of Simon’s coffee buying trips. She would spend hours over the years squeezed into a small sound booth at wonderful Chris White’s studio being the interviewer to Simon’s radio commercials. She was tireless in wanting to tell our stories. She knew how uncompromised we felt about stewarding the coffee from the farmer. It’s almost as if she, too, has been to each of these source countries. She had a true passion for hard working people. She had a commitment to doing right by people.
When Christianne and I had our last meeting together we were at Huckleberry’s having lunch. She bravely carried in folders of our work to be returned to me from her office. She knew our work was done together but could not find the words. Such irony. She simply said, “I’ve been meaning to get these back to you.” Recognizing she was not able to walk on her own, I asked how she was feeling. Christianne, again, simply said, “I just feel clumsy lately.” It was clear her body was beginning to fail her but her spirit was still very strong. At one point, I reached across the table and held her hand. We just stared into each other’s eyes. I’ll never forget it. With such little strength she still held on very tight. Eventually I quietly asked, “Christianne how are you, really?” She said, “I don’t know. Sometimes I want to fight. Sometimes I don’t. But I want to do it with grace and by giving back to others.”
And that, my friends, is how I will always know Christianne. As someone with grace and giving back to others. She certainly gave a lot to me, Simon and Cravens Coffee. For that we are so very thankful.
Here’s to Christianne. A woman of grace and giving.
Becky and Simon