|K||eepsake of memories and moments to cherish forever|
|R||adiant—filled with happiness, joy and love|
|I||mmortal—her spirit will be an eternal flame within us|
|S||andwiches with potato chips between the slices|
|S||hooting star that keeps blazing across the night sky and will shine in our hearts forever|
|Y||oung and full of life|
—With love, Caroline
A few months before her death, I was on vacation, visiting my family and friends. We were sitting in the kitchen at my aunt and uncle’s house one afternoon and Krissy had just woken up, she came in and began to make a sandwich. She ended up sitting next to me and talking with us (aunt Barbara, my sister Caroline, and myself). A minute later, she opened her sandwich and started putting potato chips in it. My sister and I looked at each other and laughed. We had been doing this ever since we were little. I can’t recall ever doing it around Krissy. We chalked it up to running in the family.
We never got to see her graduate, and we will never know what she may have been. While she was with us, we made some unforgettable memories. I will always cherish them—like souvenirs. They are things that make me smile or cry. I will always wish she were still here. I think about her every day and I have this feeling she has even been close a few times.
Miss you, Krissy.
—Your cousin, Chrissy
Krissy touched all those in her life in a special way. She possessed a maturity that belied her age, and I often found myself in awe of her. She carried herself with such a confident manner, as if she knew, even at 17, that the world was in the palm of her hand. The closeness of our families afforded me ample opportunity to spend time in her company, and as a result, she was more like a sister to me, less like a cousin. She was taken from us at a time when she and I were just beginning to overcome our age difference. We related to each other as peers, as friends—not merely as relatives. It was too brief a period, but it left me with memories I will always cherish.
Miss you, Krissy.
I try to remember her, and her way of living life, as I go through my own. She always puts things in perspective for me—constantly reminding me which things are more important (family, friends, fun), and which things I should not worry so much about (fortune, fame). For even though the latter can give you the sense of happiness, they can never replace the feelings and rewards produced by the former.
I also remember little things, like having birthday parties together, swimming in the pool at her house when we were young, and hanging out in North Carolina and just talking. She was so easy to get along with—strong, yet never intimidating. Easily trusted. I now realize that I could tell her anything, and she would always understand and never compromise my secrets. I didn’t realize at the time because she made it so natural.
I only hope that some of it has rubbed off on me and other people she was close to, for she had such great qualities. And I think I can more easily believe that she is trying to instill these qualities even now, as she watches us and helps us continue on with our own lives.
Thank you, Krissy. I will always hold you in my heart.
Sometimes I feel her standing there
Tall, blonde—all arms and legs
She could light up an entire room
Her words were forever healing
No longer Earthbound, tied to human form
We wander aimlessly, wondering why
You could already tell how wise she was. You could see and feel her substance. She walked her path with love, patience and strength.
I remember her before [she fell in love with] country music. She used to call me a hick. One time, on a trip to Vermont in my car, I about drove them all crazy because I refused to change the radio station. I loved country music and they still liked dance stuff. We drove past a pasture with some brown cows in it. I said to Kris, “Look, a brown cow—that’s where you get chocolate milk!” She was shocked and amazed, then mad as a whip—she actually believed me for a moment. That same trip I taught her how to drive a stick shift [transmission car] in my little Ford Festiva. It was great. She was great.
When she was little, I taught her how to swim. She always wanted to be like me. She would draw tattoos on her ankle (I had one). I used to tell her to cut it out, “Your mother is going to kill me!” Funny, though; as she grew into her own, I wanted to be more like her. She was soooo likable. Somebody you could just hold onto forever. I have two children: Lanie (4) has cerebral palsy. Krissy would say, “it doesn’t matter—she’s beautiful...perfect.” How warm and cozy. She really liked Lanie. She never did get to meet my son, Austin. That makes me sad.
The time we spent together can only be measured by quality, not quantity. Sometimes it is hard to imagine her gone. That I will never be able to talk with her again. I want to just give her a quick call to say “hi,” or to plan the trip up north she never got to take. But I can’t. Instead, I hold my heart, say “I love you,” and move on to the next thing. There hasn’t been a day since her death that I haven’t thought of her. Kristen is always in my thoughts...I pray to release her from my sorrow...so that I may rejoice in her “rebirth.”