The following is a eulogy delivered by Janet's brother Brad at her funeral on May 9th.
I was 10 years old when Janet Marie joined our family. I must admit that by this time I was hoping for a brother, having been blessed thus far with 5 sisters. However, I canít say that I was disappointed. She was a well-tempered baby, easygoing as a child, and always smiling. There was just something about her angelic demeanor that wouldnít permit me to not like her. I believe many of you know what I mean. Besides, how could I not like someone who enjoyed playing soccer almost as much as I did? I was probably in high school by the time she began playing soccer, but I still remember kicking the ball around with her and Erika in our yard. And I must say that she was probably the cutest soccer player Iíve seen when she was all decked out in her uniform.
Since I was busy serving a mission, attending college away from home, and getting married shortly after that, I didnít really spend much time with her during her formative years. There is, however, one remembrance I have from this period in her life that Iíd like to share with you.
I attended college in Williamsburg, which is about a 2Ĺ-hour drive from my parentís home. Since it was a relatively short distance, I made a few unannounced weekend homecomings. I would arrive late Friday night, find a way into the house, and sleep on the basement couch. The Saturday morning tradition in the Christiansen home ever since I can remember was for the kids to wake up (probably earlier than they did on weekdays when they were supposed to wake up early for school) and watch cartoons on the recreation room TV. On more than one occasion, while languishing on the basement couch waiting for the strength to get up, Iíd hear a single set of footsteps overhead walking from the recreation room to the basement door and down the basement stairs. If I remember correctly, this was usually Janet or Erika. After peering around the corner into the playroom, theyíd run back upstairs and Iíd hear ďBradís home!Ē followed immediately by what seemed to me to be a small army running down to the basement. To this day this display of unadulterated excitement that only a child can have still warms my heart.
Janet was extremely easy to get along with, perhaps even to a fault. As her sisters Krista and Valanie put it, her siblings often roped her into doing things. When Janet was around 7 years old, Valanie was sitting just outside of the garage of my parentís house with her friends. Krista wanted to do something to embarrass Valanie in front of her friends, so she proceeded to persuade Janet that it would be a good idea to take off all of their clothes, run out the garage door entrance, around the front of the house, and back in the front door. The stunt did have its intended effect of embarrassing Valanie, but also had the unintended consequence of a stern talking to from my father.
Janet was a peacemaker. Years ago, her brother Mark had a friend over at the house and they were playing in the basement. His friend accidentally knocked off Markís glasses and they fell to the floor and broke. Mark was so furious, he started yelling and screaming at his friend. Janet came in and told him to quiet down and asked what the problem was. Mark related what had happened, after which Janet said that there was no reason to treat someone like that, especially since it was a friend and obviously had been an accident. He immediately knew she was right and apologized to his friend. The example that Janet showed stuck with Mark and still pops back into his mind whenever he gets angry or irritated at someone.
Another of Janetís strong points was her obedience. It was my parentís desire to have her attend Southern Virginia College. Janet was not too sure that this is where she wanted to go, but she agreed to visit the college with my parents. Even after being offered a spot on the soccer team, she still wasnít sure, so she agreed to pray about it. Although she felt she hadnít received a response indicating whether she should or should not go, she cared enough about what my parents felt to attend the College. This is a decision Iím sure both her teammates and Raven, her husband she met at the College, are glad she made. Her sister Erika also felt blessed to have her at the same college and on the same soccer team. Erika mentioned that Janet was so much fun to be around because of her delightful personality. She was always so laid back and easygoing, which made people want to be around her even more.
Unlike many adults, Janet never lost the child-like qualities to which Christ referred when he said, ďof such is the kingdom of God.Ē Since she still had these qualities, children were drawn to her. She remained humble, teachable, unselfish, and full of love and compassion. She was always willing to help. In fact, she was looking into a career in counseling.
Even after growing up with all of us, she still loved children. She adored all of her nieces and nephews and thoroughly enjoyed playing with them. Whenever she came into the room, they would always smile, run up to her, and give her a big hug. She was always so patient with them and able to help them find the best in themselves.
Janet had an unwavering faith in God and was true to her covenants and commitments. Janet relied on Our Heavenly Father and the comfort and guidance of the Holy Ghost. She followed inspiration, even when the answers she received may not have been the ones she wanted to hear. Although she was laid-back, she still never took the easy way out.
The birth of her son Kaiden was, Iím sure, one of the happiest occasions in her life. Many of us have seen her with her son and can see that her love for Kaiden is both undeniable and copious. Itís plain to see that she is a good mother. Members in the ward Janet most recently attended in Durham commented that they always saw her with Kaiden in her arms, never in a baby seat or stroller, as if she never wanted to let him go.
At first glance, the 25 years that Janet was here with us seems too short a time; that she ďmissed outĒ on a lot of experiences. But the eternal perspective that we have, through knowing the gospel of Jesus Christ, tells us otherwise. We know that this earthly existence is but a step in the eternal progression of Godís children. Any joy or happiness she could have experienced here on this earth if she had remained with us pales in comparison with that which is found in the presence of Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. She, along with her sister Gaynelle, will be waiting for us there. It is my prayer that we may live worthily so that we can one day join them.