Class of 2015 with Krisanna's blazer on the bottom left chair
For a week I was Mom again. It. Was. A-W-E-some.
Krisanna’s Class of 2015 graduation week was such fun – and they included her in a big way! The girls carried gorgeous yellow bouquets, her blazer graced a seat with the class, I got to deliver the commencement address, and throughout the Grad Night celebration following, no one was afraid to mention her name or share a story with a big smile and a hug. She flitted around all night long having a blast. (I added photos.)
Then Krisanna visited NYC. Well, we sisters celebrated Aunt Kelly’s birthday – and we saw Lion King! Okay – I didn’t just see Lion King. I was totally mesmerized - transported by the magic of Pride Land. I laughed, I cried, I marveled, I cried some more, I wondered. AND she was right there next to me. No, seriously, my sister randomly distributed our tickets, and when the show started, no one was in the seat next to me – seat #15!
One scene that always grabs my heart is when Mufasa says to Simba, “Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down at us from those stars. […] So whenever you feel alone, just remember that those kings will always be there to guide you. And so will I.” (They stare at the stars in silence dwarfed by the infinity that surrounds them.) In the play, the gorgeous song “They Live in You” follows that dialogue. Brand new to me, in Act 1 the song richly resonates throughout Pride Land; then in Act 2, younger Simba sings it as a grand celebration of the circle of life. Absolutely stunning.
Not only does the scene powerfully capture the play’s message, it immediately brought to mind a scene from another of Krisanna’s favorite movies, Don’t Eat the Pictures: Sesame Street at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In that film she first encountered the ancient Egyptian belief that when a person dies, his soul becomes a star in the sky. I had just visited the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum – the setting for that movie scene! The entire time I was at the exhibit I heard Krisanna singing songs from the movie. To go from that exhibit and memory to the Lion King performance ….. wow - amazing presence of my girl!
(Did I mention, the Lion King marquee and all production materials are golden yellow?)
Many people know the significance of the Lion King story in the Krisanna Roberts story – and how it connects to 4th of July. At six months pregnant and Mark and I headed to the movie theater on a hot, muggy July 4th in 1994 to see the new movie about a lion family that featured Elton John music. During the stampede, Krisanna started kicking furiously! She was not at all happy about that event even before she walked the earth! :-) We knew then she was a spirited, determined girlie girl.
I’ve long believed in the brilliance of the stars as Vincent van Gogh did - reflections of “Infinity on high.” I also liked a quote on an angel statue given to me after Krisanna died: Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy. I miss my girl, but there is nothing like looking into a starry sky and hearing her say, "Terrific! How are you?" Now I also hear the soaring voices from the powerful Broadway production assuring me:
Wait ~ There's no mountain too great
Hear these words and have faith.
They live in you; they live in me.
They're watching over everything we see.
In every creature, in every star ~
They live in you.
On this 4th of July, 21 years after Krisanna first “experienced” Lion King, I honor the circle of life. I think of Josh, Sean, Nicholas, Chesley, and the Tribe Eternal. I remember fun with Mikey and Tammy. I sing praises of the St. Jude's miracle-workers. I wish happy birthday to Krisanna’s Krewe, Tic Tac Toe King, Ad, Dominic, DIV, Unca Mick, and Aunt Beth.
I thank all those who protected and continue to protect our freedom.
Finally, I trust that Krisanna’s friends and classmates will fare well on their journeys – and when the mountain seems too great, they will see her example of fighting hard and being strong in bright yellow sunshiny days and golden starry nights – but mostly in themselves because, as the Lion Kings remind us, she lives in them!
Happy 4th with the traditional nod to Uncle Pete: Many who had a fifth on the Fourth failed to come forth on the fifth. [7-5-1955]