Comments by Stephen Guest, Kristine’s Father,
at the Mass of Christian Burial for Kristine Guest
Thursday, February 10, 2005
I can honestly say that this is my only role that compares in difficultly with the pain and effort expended by Ellen when giving birth to Kristine, Nathan and Julie. Bear with me, and I will do my best to do justice to the memory of Kristine Barbara Guest.
Kristine on a snowmobile, good grief! Her end hardly reflects her character other than a yearning for new experiences. She enjoyed “Superman” at 6 Flags despite the warnings of stress on the brain and other risks. She liked thrills. “What can happen?” She would say. Now we know, but fortunately, her end came so quickly, she did not suffer as a result.
Kristine was not one to live on the edge. She was thoughtful and careful about her actions. As with most youth, she wanted new experiences. Unfortunately, like most young people, her ability to thoroughly and properly evaluate the risk was not yet fully developed.
Enough about that, we are here to celebrate her life. Kristine would dispute just about everything that I have to say, but here it goes.
Some word processing spell checks do not recognize our spelling of Kristine. Its apt suggestion provided for replacement is pristine. Pristine is defined as free from soil or decay, being fresh and clean. Need I say more.
We tried our best to give Kristine an enriching but carefree childhood. As with all parents, we began with a vision of what our children would be like. However, they need to grow into who they are. As with all of our children, Kristine was introduced to the arts and athletics to find her passions outside of academic requirements and to fit into our vision. All parents know that that vision must adjust to reality. The real Kristine developed in her way, and we deeply respected and loved the outcome.
Her early venture into team athletics ended rather abruptly. At age 5, she was entered into a developmental soccer program with me, an enthusiastic coach. After weeks of practice, we ended the season with the sole organized game. At that age, the ball rarely leaves the ground, never mind rising above the waist of a 5 year old. Less than a minute into her time on the field, she was hit solidly in the face. She never again set foot on a soccer field in an organized game.
She gave tennis a try, participating on the Conard tennis team for three years.
Since beginning college, Kristine began to work out regularly, spending many hours in the gym with her friends. I wish I could say that finally my influence drove these activities, but her desire for six-pack abs was likely the controlling motivation.
Her exposure to the arts met with more success. She spent many years in the School of Hartford Ballet and participated in many performances and many supporting roles in the Company’s Nutcracker performed at the Bushnell. As she approached her teens, the time commitment required conflicted with other activities. Thus, she moved on to other interests.
Mastering the flute and piano were amongst her many challenges. Her love of music kept her playing the flute and participating in the school bands through her senior year at Conard.
The exposure to the arts provided the family with many remarkable music experiences. From the spring wind ensemble concerts at Elizabeth Park when they were young to the quality concerts and plays performed at all three of their West Hartford schools. Annual trips to the Nutcracker by Ellen, Kristine, and Julie continued. Trips to Broadway included “Something funny happened on the way to the Forum” and “Phantom of the Opera,” both of which were enhanced by our Tim Stella’s presence as conductor of the orchestra. Simon and Garfunkel at Mohegan Sun and Nora Jones in Atlantic City were complete joys to experience together.
As with most people her age, Kristine spent much of her young life engaged in her studies. Here she built a record of consistent, solid performances. Although not viewed by the system as a star, Kristine was steady, hard working, and always did her best to succeed. Kristine always satisfied our overriding standard - do the best that you can - and was disappointed when she couldn’t do better. She was a star in our eyes, and we are proud of her accomplishments.
She consistently made the honor roll during her high school years and was named to the Deans list for all semesters at Simmons during her freshman year and in her year and a half at Quinnipiac. She found her passion in her legal studies major.
Kristine had the desire to eventually obtain a law degree. Kristine’s demonstrated abilities and drive to meet her goals would have led her to success in meeting those dreams.
Kristine developed strong friendships at Conard, Simmons, and Quinnipiac and many are present here today, despite most being in mid-semester at colleges throughout the Northeast.
Kristine must have been a great roommate for anyone who had the pleasure. Kristine was very cooperative and considerate. I know first hand, not only from living with her for these 20 years, but also with the pleasure of sharing a hotel room with her in Miami Beach for a week during ;he past two years while I was attending a conference. A month ago today, we were in Miami enjoying the pleasant weather together.
Amanda, you were the perfect roommate for her as Kristine was for you. Thank you for making these past months happy ones for Kristine.
To all of her friends, Ellen and I express our deepest gratitude in sharing your lives and dreams with Kristine and giving her support in her transitions that all of us so desperately need. Your names and faces will remain with Ellen and me forever. Please keep in touch.
Of course in the midst of all of this, Kristine was an integral part of our family. Always involved with family activities, she was a loving daughter and a great sister to Nathan and Julie.
As with all siblings, Nathan and Kristine had their moments. However, the love between them was always evident in subtle ways. Ellen and I know how Nathan and Kristine respected each other’s accomplishments. Each was proud of the other. A constant in Nathan’s life from an early age will be sorely missed.
Kristine and Julie had a very special relationship. When I first met Ellen, I was most impressed by the special relationship that she had with her sister Jean. After Julie’s birth, I was gratified to see a similar relationship develop between Kristine and Julie. They were friends, confidants, and mentors in all aspects. That is the part of our family life that will be missed the most. They had nicknames for themselves, the specifics of which best goes unmentioned at this time. Julie, thankfully, is a magnet for a great group of friends; but unfortunately, she will miss the pleasure and benefits of her long-time best friend, Kristine.
For me, I will forever remember Kristine as Skicky, which originated at age 2 when she pointed her messy palms at me and said, “I’m Skicky.” Her early childhood brought us extensive and consistent joy, along with Nathan and Julie.
Through her teens, she could be difficult, and we had our inevitable words. When I was conducting my fatherly lectures, she would have blank looks as if not even listening. However, I was always amazed when weeks or months later words were coming out of Kristine’s mouth that often parroted what I thought was totally ignored.
Recently, I began a tradition of selecting novels at Christmas and for her birthday, which falls at the beginning of summer break. Somehow my selections proved enjoyable to her. After she was finished, I would claim the book. Through this practice, we were able to learn about different aspects of life and relationships together.
As a father of growing daughters, I learned that no other’s critique could be more biting and true. From age 10 when Kristine, along with Julie, started counting the gray hairs popping up on my head. Through her teenage years, my every fault was duly noted many times over. Much more than with others, one must pay attention to a daughter’s pointed critique. While a parent’s prime roll is molding the character and values of their children, I was surprised how much Kristine changed me. I no longer have the benefit of that valuable oversight, but the changes that she elicited will endure for my life.
Or two trips to Miami together solidified our bond and provided me with priceless memories. Last month at the spur of the moment, we enjoyed Coppella performed by the Miami Ballet in the Jackie Gleason Theatre, delaying our intended 8:00 dinner to 11PM. Thank God we had those opportunities for the extended time periods one on one.
Kristine and Ellen always had a very strong bond that was growing stronger through the years. Kristine and Ellen’s looks, personalities, character traits, and interests were uncannily similar. During my extended times with Kristine, I often felt that I was with Ellen from decades past. As with Julie, Ellen also needs to deal with the lack of such a close friend and confidant, as well as her daughter.
Ellen, what you are feeling and going through at this time is much more difficult than what I am doing now. I’m with you on this as is Nathan, Julie, and everyone else here and those who know of the accident and could not be present today. We all love you and are here to help you.
Kristine was a sweet, lovely young lady who had difficulty seeing her good qualities that were all too evident to others. Her smile was radiant. Her work ethic was admired by all. She enjoyed working with young children and had the opportunity for that experience while attending Conard, Simmons, and Quinnipiac.
Kristine loved this church and the music that arises within its walls. Other than the purpose for which this mass is held, she would be exhilarated by today’s selections and the two responsible individuals, Tim and Marian.
While she yearned for a simple life in an ever-more complicated and competitive society, Kristine strove hard for success and constantly achieved her goals.
Fairness was key to Kristine’s values, and she was troubled by the unfortunate inequities encountered in many of her endeavors.
The most unfair result was what happened to Kristine early Sunday morning.
For 20 years, Ellen and I had the extreme privilege of being Kristine’s parents. We no longer can actively engage in that privilege.
May Kristine’s soul rest in peace with her maker.