I barely knew Kristi Hansen, but I knew I liked her. The first time I met her, I was behind the counter at McPherson Eye Care, checking in one of her daughters for an appointment. I noticed right away her crazy energy, her smile, her laugh. I noticed she was wearing a crazy curly wig, and I ordinarily would've been appalled, but it somehow suited her. I didn't know this woman, but I wanted to be just like her. I did all the paperwork and handed the chart to another one of the techs who took her back. I noticed a small group gathered in the business office and whispering, so I went back to find out what was going on. They informed me that Kristi had been fighting cancer for five years. The woman with the huge amount of energy and the 3 small children? Wait. I must've missed the person they were talking about! She came in a few more times in the years I worked for MEC. My favorite time was when she came in just gushing about her VW Beetle. She just kept asking "Isn't it just the cutest thing?" and it was. A few months ago, my best friend Kristin and I moved in to the little white house next door to the Hansens. The Saturday after we moved in, the doorbell rang. There was Kristi, same crazy curls, a little less energy, and standing there with a basket and a card for us, welcoming us to the neighborhood. We talked to her for awhile and she told us that her husband was at a concert with the kids, but she wasn't able to go. The three of us chit-chatted for awhile and then she walked home. In the basket was an orchid that we promptly named "Gertrude". Gertrude found a home in the south window, facing the Hansen's house. I didn't know Kristi Hansen very well, but I approved of her taste in flowers.
This morning, I attended her funeral.
I saw hundreds of pictures on the slideshow. A sneak peak into a picture perfect life. I saw the red eyes and heard the sniffles of countless family and friends. I saw three children following a casket into a santuary while their father walked close behind.
They buried Kristi Hansen today, but only her body is gone. Her spirit is very much alive and well. And while my heart breaks for her family and those she left behind, I am very much rejoicing for her. She no longer in pain, and she is home.
"Well done, good and faithful servant."