My name is Debbie. I am Cheryl’s first degree cousin from her Mother’s side. The night before Cheryl’s funeral service, I was contemplating of what to write. There are a lot of memories we shared together and it was difficult choosing which memories to share. I wanted to make sure my speech captured the essence of Cheryl. I wrote this speech the morning of Cheryl’s funeral service, just half an hour before it started. As I sat next to Cheryl, it was like she was sitting next to me, helping me write. I could feel her talking to me, letting me know her favorite moments we shared together.
First of all, I want to share that Cheryl was a woman with much integrity and her heart was full of compassion. She couldn’t hurt a soul, not even an animal. She loved her dogs Maka & Mana very much! She always saw the good in others and gave people the benefit of a doubt. What I admired most about Cheryl was that she was very independent, an over-achiever, and very critical about herself. That’s only because she put her whole-heart into everything she did. I was so proud of her when she bought her home in Hemet! Also, she was very passionate about life. She never took things for granted, she loved to travel, and enjoyed eating at fine restaurants. One example of how passionate she was of life was on her 21st birthday. Cheryl didn’t care about hitting the clubs, neither taking advantage of being 21. So, I surprised her by flying her out to Maui. We started our trip by visiting her Grandma Fernandez in up-country. Then, we drove to Kapalua to sit by the beach, sipped on virgin Pina Colada, and enjoyed each others company. Then, we drove to Iao needle and had a crazy idea to take the risk of jumping off a cliff and into the river. This is one of my many fondest memories that I had with Cheryl. What I will truly miss the most of Cheryl was our daily phone calls to each other and many long hours of conversations! Most times, we spoke of nonsense, but it was so meaningful that when Cheryl didn’t call, I longed to hear her voice. When we spoke, we could talk about everything and anything. She was such a good listener and saw things in a different perspective. Cheryl, was not only my cousin, but my best friend, and sister.
Cheryl, I thank you for being there for me and for putting up with my crap. I know at times, I could be difficult, but it was only because I was being over-protective of you. I love you very much and will always hold you close to my heart! I have come to accept, that God put you in my life to understand that life is too precious! Through you, I have come to appreciate life like you did. To Evan, Cheryl has expressed to me many times that she finally found her true love. I want to thank you very much for making Cheryl very happy and for allowing her to experience being a Mommy. That was her main goal in life… to love and you have given that to her. Cheryl, I love you and I will never forget the times we shared together, and most importantly, all the meaningful lessons you have taught me in your life. Although you are not here with us physically, you will always remain in our hearts and souls. We love you Cheryl and miss you dearly.
Forever your cousin,