Perhaps the most telling tribute to Christy Lynn Wilson, and the most comforting to her family, came in her own words.
After she died, Christy’s husband, Paul Wilson, came across a notepad he had given to her. In it was a prayer she wrote one month before her death called “Intentions.” She poured her hopes and dreams for herself and her family into that prayer.
In the sorrowful days after Wilson and seven others died in last week’s shooting spree at Salon Meritage, where she worked, her friends and relatives had those words to comfort them.
Christy Wilson wanted her friends to find happiness, her parents to continue to teach through their love, the world to heal without so much suffering -- and to use her own creative nature and heart to do great things.
She wanted her baby granddaughter, Madisyn, “to grow with love and knowledge, to grow into a beautiful and loving and creative woman.”
She wanted her son Konner to fulfill his creative soul, and her other son, Kaesen, to find success as a ballplayer and businessman. She wanted to retire at a house on the water.
She wanted to stay strong in love, and “to always be one big happy family.”
She closed her prayer by asking God to “always give me strength, the strength to love unconditionally. I love you. Amen. So be it.”
Hundreds of friends and family tried to echo that hope and acceptance Saturday at Huntington Beach First Christian Church, in a memorial service marked by gratitude for the lives she touched.
Wilson, 47, graduated in 1982 from Lakewood High School where she was a cheerleader with a 4.0 GPA. She studied fashion at Cerritos College and, in 1986, met the man she would call her soul mate.
After a few weeks of dating, Christy and Paul Wilson went to SeaWorld, a trip that sealed their fate.
Paul said: “At the end of our SeaWorld date, I gave Christy an ultimatum: ‘Move in with me now or we can never see each other again.’ Because, even then, I knew that without Christy in my life, I would be miserable," he said. "I stand before you today a better man than I ever dreamt possible simply because I fell in love with my soul mate 25 years ago.”
Christy felt the same way. After she died, Paul also found a letter she wrote to him:
“I went into work late today, so I sat outside thinking about how lucky I am, how lucky we are to have our house, our kids and each other. I love you every day, good, bad and ugly. We are each other’s worlds. We have to keep our love strong and have the lifetime together we promised each other, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer until death do us part.”
Like their parents, the Wilsons' three children -- Kielynn, Konner and Kaesen -- were grateful for what they had. During the memorial, they stood together and thanked her.
“Thank you for making us believe we can be who we always wanted to be,” daughter Kielynn wrote. “Although you are no longer with us, you will always live in our hearts. I am proud to be a part of you. I love you beyond words. I miss you like crazy. I will never forget you.”
Paul Wilson asked mourners to remember all eight people who lost their lives and to remember his wife as a woman who loved unconditionally, with “grace, charisma, laughter, a contagious sparkle, a wicked sense of humor.”
“Today, I am here beaten but not broken,” Wilson added. “I do realize this truth: My world and our world will never be the same without her infectious spirit, nor should it be. I know Christy would tell you: 'Don’t allow my tragic death to break you. Instead, carry on. Do not allow my death to define you or me. Stand tall and move forward. Grow stronger in spite of my passing. Why? Because I have made an important difference in your life. I have simply been transformed. My soul runs through my children’s veins and through the heart of my husband.’ ”
In addition to her husband, children and granddaughter, Christy Wilson is survived by her parents, Cliff and Gayle Richards, sisters Stacy Ward and Jody Davis, parents-in-law Dave and Pam Wilson, and brothers-in-law Craig and Ryan Wilson.