New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told an audience in Las Vegas last week about the low point in his life: when his mother told him she knew she was going to die.
"The lowest time for me was when I first discovered that my mom was sick," Christie, a Republican, said in an emotional interview during the KIPP School Summit in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Christie's mother, Sondra, had already survived a brain aneurysm and breast cancer. "I always thought my mom was indestructible," the 50-year-old governor recalled. "When I went to the doctor with her and my father — she was having some dizzy spells, and the doctor called me and said, 'I'm going to give them some news and you need to be there, because they're not going to take this well.' And he told my mother she had three large brain tumors that he thought were metastasized cancer from lung cancer."
"And the low point for me was, I got in the car to drive her home — my father went to the pharmacy to get medicine for her, because she would need to have surgery right away. And I went to put my hand on the stick shift to back out, and she put her hand on my hand and she said, 'I know I'm going to die.' And I never heard my mother ever, ever be defeatist in her life. She's the daughter of a single mother. She had raised her two younger siblings when my grandfather was gone. She had been married at 18 years old to an abusive guy who beat her and left him and supported herself, and raised her three children. And I thought this was a woman who'd beat anything. And so when she looked at me and said, 'I know I'm going to die,' that was the low point."
Christie added: "I said to myself, 'She has been there for every minute of my life for me, and I'm going to be there for her death. And I can't let her down.' ... I felt like I owed it to her."
Sondra Christie died in 1994.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the interview was closed to the press, but the school later released the video of Christie's appearance. Watch a clip of the exchange above.