22 Sept 1931 11 June 2004
[As Read at Her Memorial Service--Arranged by the Sisters of Divine Providence.]
Kris meant many different things to many different people. Most people remember her as someone to be intuitively trusted, someone to lead the way in darkness, someone to laugh at or with, someone whose wisdom was always available, even in the middle of the night. Most people would agree that empathy, openness, respect and intensity were basic to her innermost being.
Others looked more simply upon her as a natural mother, spouse, mentor (and protege), ardent animal lover, feminist, clown. Her life script was to inspire by example, by action, by oral and written words.
Kris treasured, celebrated and learned from gender and ethnic differences. She saw all people (and species) as inter-dependent with all others. Her adverse experiences deepened her insights instead of making her bitter about life. For instance, an early bad marriage did not sour her on men. She loved them with passion her entire life. I know, for she loved me as no one ever has, especially in moments of trial or adversity. No man could have a better life-mate. Her fearless revealing of her inner-self encouraged reciprocity, closeness.
Kris worked actively to improve the treatment of animals and to preserve the ecosystems that sustain the cycles of life. She lived the vegetarian life that she preached. She rarely did anything in a casual or haphazard way.
Her intensity whether for pain or pleasure was remarkable. Everything she tried to accomplish, every client she ever saw, every student she ever coached, and every friend in need received her full attention, her best thinking and more. It pained her no end when a student failed or a client regressed.
Her natural rapport with people and events belied her intellectual nature; she was most unusual in this regard. Kris befriended and socialized with children and truck drivers as easily as she did [with] professors and gamblers. Yet she held her own with scholars in her original searching for meaning in life.
Her life was not without pain; she had lots of it. Neither was she a perfect human being; she wore her imperfections as a disarming badge. It was her way of opening up students, friends and clients alike. In revealing her pain, others sensed that Kris could suffer their pain as their own; they sensed her empathy.
Her last words were of concern for those left behind, not for herself. "I am not afraid." she said. Her empathy was the essence of her personhood, her power; it gave significance to the person she was, the person still living in so many of us.
If, in death, she now looms larger than life that is our faulty perception. She was always larger than life.
In Memorium 11 June 2005
Celebrating a life that was larger than life.
Anecdotes and memories abound. Never did Kris live in the future even as she planned and prepared for it. She lived each day as if it would be her last, putting everything she had into the joys and pleasures, and yes the sorrows and disappointments too. The high peaks and deep valleys were visited with equal fervor and intensity. To be sure, she was often exhausted by it all. But how can one leading a full life, with a world on her shoulders, not be?
For example after a tiring day and fixing dinner for her brood, a young female client, on the verge of suicide, called. Hours later her client found herself in Kris' own bed with Kris at her side. The family made room for the next day's dawn. Put together at last, the client went home, while Kris went to work in her 9-5 job evaluating troubled kids in elementary school. The client? Returned to college the next semester, graduated with honors, married, all without so much as a thank you or even a note. But for Kris, saving her client's life was thanks enough.
Kris learned to drive as she turned 35; took life-guard training as her kids learned to swim; restarted her education the very same year--an inspiration in itself.
Born into a very religious family, Kris learned to read early, devouring books, including the Bible several times--almost before she started school. In later years, convinced of the pragmatic truths of science and technology and questioning the literalness of her religion, she lost her faith.
How she came through that was yet another study in coping, and it took her awhile. Reading The Dancing Wu Li Masters Kris was inspired anew to embrace the commonalities in science and Buddhism. She further embraced the Sisters of Divince Providence and the nuns at La Roche College with new energy and commitment. Joined with them in study groups seeking meaning and purpose. Led seminars, audited philosophy classes, taught classes in her many specialties, started the Returning Women Program at La Roche, saw hundreds of clients--most of whom remembered her in thoughtful ways, even decades later. Kris wrote a book Talk to Me published in five languages. She left unforgettable legacies in the personhoods of people too numerous to count.
To her spouse, Kris gave herself unselfishly. She always claimed to see in him a diamond in the rough.
Quoting him: "As nice as it was to hear, the metaphor did little compared with her daily questions and analyses of events distant, near at home, and in her family. Her wisdom wore off. It must have, for now I can see a great many people right off for what they are--as she used to. It is like she had become part of me."
"Along with that, and in a very real way, Kris prepared me for these times, going on without her. I have found new friends, even a possible new love for 'someday.' I say these words in honor of the greatest woman I have ever known; I celebrate and revel in the essence of Kris daily while I move on as she would have wanted."
Kris served as editor-in-chief for Roadtopeace.org. She is sorely missed. Purple was her favorite color.
Her main written contributions to this site may be found via the Inner-Peace Menu.
If a short statement exists that can capture her personal method operandi, it follows:
|"Others do not love us because they perceive us as perfect. They love us because of the way they feel about themselves when they are with us."|
These words were hers and her keys to establishing relationships.
For more on this great and courageous woman see:
- "Talk To Me" Tarcher Putnam (Now Warner Books), 1994
- "Seasons of Life:" PBS documentary, and/or chapter 15 of " Seasons of Life :" By John Koter & Elizabeth Hall; Little, Brown, and Company publisher, 1990.
Posted by RoadToPeace on Thursday, August 04, 2005.