I've been told many times since Krissy's funeral how impressed people were with our cousin Elly's reading of the eulogy. Personally, I felt that Elly was the perfect person to read for Krissy. Not only does she have an excellent sense of humor, she displayed such poise and confidence that she gave every word the reverence Krissy deserved. Krissy always had such a deep love and respect for Elly, I'm certain she would have loved her reading as well. So here it is, one last time, for those of you who either couldn't attend the funeral or would like to cherish her memory one more time. Thank you to Elly and Cesa for allowing me to post the eulogy in it's entirety.
Sunrise: September 20, 1974 Sunset: May 14, 2010
Family and friends, it’s an honor for me to share this tribute and celebration of Kristen Sanchez-Lanza.
Krissy, or Kristen Antonia, as she was called when she was in trouble, used to say she got her height from the Sanchez side. Now, to some this would seem a paradox given she was small in stature; but, on the contrary, what she meant was she was proud of her heritage, and of course, to be associated with other wonderful short people in the family.
When Krissy was born, Uncle Bennie and Aunt Debi knew they would have their hands full. Krissy wasn’t just adorable, she was also very determined and independent. At four years old, with the longest eyelashes covering her little glasses like tiny windshield wipers, Krissy would sit and watch her favorite T.V. show, Mr. Rogers. One day while watching an episode, Aunt Debi came downstairs to check on her. She saw Krissy sitting quietly but knew something was out of place. She looked closer and noticed Krissy’s new hairdo. “Kristen Antonia!” Aunt Debi exclaimed. “Why did you cut your bangs so short?” In a matter of fact way, Krissy replied, “’Cause I couldn’t see Mr. Rogers.”
And, as things go, more antics would follow. Over the years, there were many times Krissy spent with cousins and friends laughing ‘til the wee hours of the morning, taking trips to San Acacio to stay with her Nana and Papa during spring break and summer, dancing it up anytime she had a chance; and THEN, there were BOYS. Just what Uncle Bennie was looking forward to—barring up the windows and late night surveillance missions. I’m sure Krissy wasn’t the only one that left a lasting impression!
As we all know, life has its ups and downs and regardless of the challenges, Krissy moved through life with purpose. Not too long ago she told me that had it not been for all her experiences, she would have missed out on the best things in her life—her husband Frank, and precious girls, Cori and Camryn. Fiercely loyal and devoted to her family, Krissy always protected those close to her. She always looked after Cesa and her cousins in a thoughtful, caring, and protective manner; and, if Krissy befriended you, you knew you had someone who would always have your back. You could also bet that if she was going to do something, Krissy always put her heart and soul in it. Cesa says it was almost as if Krissy knew all along she needed to make each and every moment count.
Recently, her Aunt Connie reminded Krissy she had been struck by lightning. She said, one evening during a rainstorm, Krissy sat on the floor in Uncle Bennie and Aunt Debi’s bedroom watching T.V. In an instant, a bolt of lightning struck the house and traveled right through the T.V. stand, between the cherished Michael Bolton and Billie Ocean albums right to Krissy. Frank recalled the story and added that when he ran into Krissy at work the next morning, he casually greeted her and said, “Hey there Krispy.”
It is difficult to imagine our lives without Krissy. She was kind, compassionate, sincere, and brave. In spite of her illness, Krissy maintained a fearless spirit and take charge attitude. Not only did she shoot from the hip as one of her friend’s described, but she was also forthright and, as Cesa might put it, a little bossy from time to time.
On a recent trip to Springs, shortly after her surgery, I had the pleasure of embarking on another adventure with my little cousin. As soon as I arrived at the house, Krissy and I were off to the ER. She wasn’t feeling very well so I decided I would take extra precautions to drive as carefully as possible along the way. As we zigzagged across town, we were chatting and then all of a sudden Krissy looked over at me and asked me how fast I was driving. I took notice of my speed and quickly replied, “Is something wrong? Are you ok?” Without hesitation, she responded, “Well, I will be once you start driving the speed limit. It’s 55 and we’re only going 40!”
It’s been moments like these and all the other good times we’ve had that console me. No matter what the circumstances, Krissy embodied all that is good in life. She was a wonderful daughter, loving wife and mother, devoted sister, loyal family member and true friend.
In Cesa’s words…
“To say my sister was incredible would be an understatement, she was extraordinary and for 31 wonderful years of my life, she was my mentor, my protector, but most of all, my best friend. Her laugh, her smile, and the way she lit up a room, those were just a fraction of the qualities I admired and envied so dearly. Our lives were brought together for a reason and for that I am so grateful.
There was never a time that I had to worry about her looking out for me. I’ll never forget this time when we were on the swing set at school and a classmate of hers decided to push me off the swings. I ran crying to her and she went over there, pushed him off, and graciously helped me back on. She showed him who not to mess with and, for the rest of her life, she would have knocked down anyone else who hurt her little sis. There was a time or two that I got knocked down by her as well, but I always figured that was payback for being so mean to her when I was little. For as rambunctious and mischievous as I was, she had the patience of a saint.
A dear friend of ours sent a quote by Hubert Van Zeller that sums up her absence:
"It is not that we feel cut off from the bigger spiritual relationship which survives death, but from the hundred and one lesser links which bind people together; incidental things which when looked back on seem of enduring significance, but which were taken so much for granted at the time.
The other person's sense of humor, prejudices, moods, all that has gone. For the rest of our lives we shall have to do without her mannerisms, her shyness, and her ways of pronouncing things.
The voice is silent - we had expected it would be - but that the yawns and bursts of laughter will never be repeated is almost more than we can bear...
These moments were not passing moments at all. They had something in them of eternity..."
She will eternally be the angel by my side and I am so blessed to have had her as my sister. Until we meet again…. Your little sis “Cheeza” loves you!”
I would also like to share with you special words from Krissy’s husband, Frank:
“I don't believe you can sum up a life that was so brilliant, even one as short as Krissy's, simply with words. She burned so bright and radiated such warmth that you only had to be near her to know she was beyond words. Krissy was everything to me and vice versa. To paraphrase something I once read, “We were to each the other's world entire.” She was my dawn and my twilight, my spring and my winter. I lived nearly every minute of the past ten years in her presence. Whether it was at work, at home or celebrating with friends and family, there was hardly a time when we weren't together.”
“My life was obviously not the only one that Krissy touched. Everyone that met her knew she was special. She was magnetic and beautiful, and completely unafraid of anything life set before her. If Krissy cared for you, there was no one more honest and loyal at your side. If you crossed Krissy's line you learned that she held nothing back to defend those she loved. She never backed down or left a friend that was in need. I know I will never meet another soul that is as kind, generous and honest as she was.”
“Earlier this week I was asked what was my favorite memory of Krissy. It's impossible to choose as every single day was a memory of her I cherished. I still remember how she wore her hair the first day we met, over ten years ago. It was short and blond by the way. I remember removing the partition between our desks at work so we could talk to each other between phone calls. I remember how angry she was at me when a Jared's bill arrived in the mail, and how embarrassed she was when my explanation came as I knelt down and asked her to marry me. I also remember how happy she was to be a mother to our two children and how fiercely she protected them.”
“I suppose if I have a best memory of Krissy, it was during our first real date. She held my hand as we looked up at a black mountain sky strewn with stars and told me that now nothing would ever be the same between us; our lives would be changed forever. In that moment, a meteor streaked across the sky and my life has never been the same since.”
“I'm so thankful to God for bringing Krissy into my life, and into so many of your lives as well, even if it was only for a brief time. Heaven has a new angel and I feel that she'll continue to defend and love us just as she did in life.”
Frank, Cesa, and I would like to share a quote which was dedicated to Krissy by her very dear friend, Lori, titled “The Broken Chain.”
"We little knew that afternoon that God was going to call your name. In life we loved you dearly; in death we do the same. It broke our hearts to lose you; you did not go alone; for part of us went with you, the day God called you home. You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide; and though we cannot see you, you are always at our side. Our family and friend chain is broken, and nothing seems the same; but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.”
We are forever grateful to God for Krissy being in our lives. She will be with us always as a reminder of what we are capable of and can endure. And, Krissy’s name in Latin, ‘Following in Christ,’ will always be a symbol of her will and path here on earth and in Heaven.
We will love you forever Krissy.