Committal Service

Kids Letters at Funeral

Steve’s Eulogy

Bible Verses

  1. Psalm 23

  2. Psalm 46:1-7

  3. Philippians 4:12-13, 20

  4. Luke 23:40-43

  5. Romans 5:1-5

  6. Romans 14:7-12

  7. Romans 6:3-4, 8-9

  8. 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1, 6-10

  9. Psalm 91:11

  10. John 1:16

  11. Mark 10:13-16


Wednesday, July 29

6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Westchester Funeral Home

190 Main Street

Eastchester, New York 10709



Thursday, July 30

11:00 a.m.

Village Lutheran Church

172 White Plains Road

Bronxville, NY 10708

Anna’s Documents

  1. Birth Announcement

  2. Baptism Announcement

  3. Family of Five Cartoon

  4. Stamp

  5. Prayer Card

  6. Anna’s Funeral Bulletin

Anna Changed the World 

When she was born we wondered: How would Anna change the world? Would she sing? Dance? Write? Run a company? Care for children? But Anna was an old soul. She knew her path from the moment her gaze met ours on that sunny day in May. Anna’s first role, from her first day, was teacher.
From Anna ...

  1. We learned to love without limitation. Without consideration of aptitude, ability or intelligence.

  2. We learned to cherish each moment. To have popsicles and ice cream cones and chocolate milk.  We learned to slow. down.

  3. We learned to lean on friends. Heavily. Because that’s what friends do. They lift you up. And true friends need to help you when you’re in pain.

We never, ever expected to lose her. We desperately want her back. We want to hold her and kiss her and sing to her. Oh, Anna. We will never be the same. Grief has changed us. Anna has changed us. We are going to be better people and live better lives because Anna made us better than we were before.

And now we know how Anna will change the world: by changing each one of us. For Anna, we will do more — not in volume but in substance. Her life will ring the planet in good words, good thoughts and good deeds. Starting with each one of us. Today we are connected by grief. Tomorrow we will be connected by goodness.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

Psalm 23  Arr. R Wilson

St. Joseph’s & VLC Choirs

Rev. Dr. Robert Hartwell

Luke 23:33, 39-43

Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

One item of being a parent that I find staggering is that parents must constantly be directing children. “Eat your cereal!” “Stop poking your brother!” “Clean your room!” These phrases and many more are the constant dialogue of parents to their children. I never knew this before I had children. Somebody failed to tell me. But as a parent, children rely on your for everything and parents, fallible as we are, have to try and keep them, and ourselves, on the right path. Of course children don’t always listen to their parents. That’s why the 4th Commandment has always been my favorite. “Honor Your Father and Mother.” Or said another way, “Listen to me cause God said so.” I often wonder if children understand how hard it is for parents to always have to be in control.

And then Jenn and Steve, something happens like happened to you and your precious Anna. Suddenly you were not the ones calling the shots. Suddenly it was a team of doctors and nurses that held the commands that mattered. And what a team of doctors and nurses they were. One of the most caring and committed team of medical personnel that I have ever witnessed. And even they, those beautiful health menders could not patch up her weak frame. We like to think that medicine can cure every problem, yet we know better. Now we truly know in the ontological sense. We live with the reality that we first learned in our nursery rhymes. Sometimes all the kings horses and all the kings men cannot put humpty dumpty together again.

And we stand back suddenly the all knowing parents (along with their family and friends) in a world where Anna’s sweet smile is now hidden from view, wondering anew How to breathe. How to stand. How to think and talk.

That’s why I chose the Bible reading I did for you today. I take this very seriously. And I don’t say things I do not truly believe. I cannot even try to explain what is unexplainable or try and justify what is unimaginable. It is. That is all I know.

I can comment on some things I do know. I can thank you Jenn and Steve for being such loving parents to Anna.  The devil will tempt you to second guess and doubt, but I am a witness to the absolute and genuine love and commitment that you showed Anna in her life, in her struggle and even in her death. You treated her with the dignity and love that she was due and wrapped her in the kind of care that is clearly pure and beautiful.

I also know that God will give you the strength to meet the days ahead in a sure and certain hope. Jennifer; God gave you Steve as a gift. God knew you needed a loving husband, full of life and creativity and song. Love this man and remind him that he is very special.

And Steve, God gave you this woman, as a gift. God knew you needed a precious woman like this. You may not have deserved her but God knew that you should be a team. Remind her what beautiful mommy she is. When she longs to hold Anna, let her hold you. And remind her that you will be there with her, battling the storm of grief together. In the Lutheran tradition we do not call marriage a sacrament, but make no mistake. God bound you together and gifted you with his Holy Spirit. He planned you to be Anna’s parents and he will minister to you through each other. And when you both feel empty, remember the crowd of witnesses that surround you. We may not always say or do the best or right thing, but your family and friends love you with an undying love. We will warm your hearts with our strengths and strengthen each other with mutual care and caring actions.

And Henry and Nora. Wonderful sister and brother to Anna. Anna could not have asked or been given more precious playmates and friends. Nora and Henry loved their sister and treated her with all the love and life lessons that sisters and bothers are supposed to share with a new member of the family. In the years to come we adults will have the privilege of breathing life into Anna’s memory as we talk about her with them. Anna is not a memory we will hide away but a proud cherished love one that we will speak of freely as one who is part of our family, eternally.

These are things I know. But there are so many other things I do not know, sometimes we try and explain away grief, by saying there was a greater purpose. I do believe that God is always working good. However this is pure and simple tragedy. Yet in the midst of a similar moment. Jesus and that penitent thief, hanging on for their lives. Totally Out of the power of man or woman to save. And yet one is still commanding like a loving parent. He did not say, “Clean your room!” “Eat your cereal!” “Stop poking your brother!” No. he said, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” And in a moment when no human could command such an outcome, the son of God and son of man could and did and that suffering penitent man, was in the paradise of God with Jesus his savior.

How comforting to me to know that when we can no longer command; when doctor’s skill and perseverance cannot save,  there is one who stands in “the valley of the shadow of death.” With powerful arms; arms that endured the agonies of the cross and rolled the stone away from an empty tomb, he gently leads us through.

Anna was God’s creation! Anna was God’s redeemed creation through the waters of Holy Baptism. And in a moment when no parent or doctor could say or do anything, he was still speaking. How comforting to know that the angels we prayed would surround Anna in her hospital room where there to carry her to the arms of her savior. How comforting that when no human could console her, her savior, he who lived and died and rose again for Anna and all people, could carry her in his arms. How comforting to know that Anna is not lost. We did not truly say good-bye. But we know exactly where she is in the paradise of God and that one day, we will see her face to face as we too are welcomed into his eternal kingdom.

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." May God grant us the comfort of this promise. For Jesus sake. Amen.

Funeral Sermon