This post continues the sharing of Karyn’s Celebration of Life. If you missed the first installment, please read this first.
All caught up? Good. We’ll proceed.
After Chris’s masterful welcome, he continued his MC responsibilities by introducing Karyn’s dad, Jack Kantola. He came to the mic and, as the trained and skilled speaker he is, delivered the following beautiful words:
On Tuesday, March 4, 1969 a blessed little bundle came into our lives. She was blonde, blue eyed and beautiful.
When she was two I decided she needed to learn responsibility so I asked her to pick up her toys. Her immediate response was “No!” My several attempts to negotiate were in vain. In a final desperate attempt to not lose face as a parent, I asked her to pick up one toy and put it on the bed. Her response once again was “No!” It was then I first learned that my sweet daughter had a mind of her own and more than a little Finnish stubbornness. I clearly needed to change my approach.
As she grew that independent spirit served her very well. She finished high school in England and then attended Cal Poly Pomona where she earned her degree in Behavioral Sciences while we continued living in England. She ultimately moved to this area to attend the Pacific School of Psychiatry.
Her way of introducing me to new things was another trait she possessed. I flew through San Jose a lot for my business. I always arranged my trips to allow time for a seafood lunch or dinner with Karyn. Then on one Sunday visit she suggested a nice restaurant in San Francisco for brunch. I knew a change had occurred when I realized we were at a Vegan restaurant.
She was also very clever in introducing me to Todd, the man she would eventually marry. She told me she wanted me to meet the Reggae singing, dreadlock festooned, man she was dating but suggested that they come to the San Jose Airport. Think about it… a public place and a convenient way to make the meeting brief. I have to admit I had some doubts about her choice in men.
Once again her judgment proved to be very good. Todd has been a stellar husband, father and son-in-law. And… he and I both love wine.
Karyn was with us for an all too brief 47 years but she left us with a treasure of good memories as well as a great son-in-law and two wonderful grand children.
Those of you who have followed her blog on everydayleft.com may have noticed that she used Krunch3r as her user name. Kruncher was my pet name for her as a child. As it turns out it was a good choice. She attacked life and her battle with glioblastoma with tenacity and Finnish SISU (intestinal fortitude). She still wore the friendly smile as she had for her entire life.
I know that Karyn is OK and watching over us. A week ago I went for a walk in our neighborhood at around 9:00 PM when most of the neighbors are in for the night. Just a block and a half from the house a lady was in the driveway with a dog that was announcing my presence by barking loudly. This was a neighbor I had never met. I stopped to make friends with the dog and speak to the neighbor but the dog didn’t want anything to do with me. The neighbor suddenly said, “Down Ziggy”. I responded, “What did you say?” She told me her dog’s name was Ziggy. I said, “That is the name of my daughter’s dog.” Then I told her about Karyn’s passing and the neighbor said her name was the same. I said, “Except my daughter’s name is spelled with a “y”. The neighbor said, “So is mine.” Neighbor, Karyn, asked me how my daughter had died and I told her she had brain cancer. Karyn asked me, “What kind?” and I told her it was glioblastoma multiforme. Karyn then told me her father had suffered the same cancer and died at the age of 55. About that time Karyn’s husband pulled into the driveway. I half expected that his name would be Todd, but it was Chris, Todd’s brother’s name. I continued my walk, my head whirling with the idea that daughter Karyn was sending me a message. And… maybe she was.
Mary and I are proud to call Karyn our daughter. We will miss her every day of our lives and will cherish our memory of her for the rest of our lives.