Alexandria Rachel Zepeda 
1988 - 2009
Father’s Eulogy by
Jonathan Beitz

Alexandria Rachel Zepeda Eulogy
Jonathan Beitz - Father

The text below was my original eulogy... However... upon getting to the pulpit the pages were scrambled and some pages missing.  So... I thought I would add all the points I wanted to make but missed in the video above.  Immediately following this Eulogy was Mother’s Tribute.

I would normally say good afternoon… but it isn’t.  I have learned that outliving your child is quite possibly the cruelest thing that can happen to a parent.  It’s a club whose membership you never wanted.  I realize we’re here to celebrate Alex’s life… but no parent wants this kind of celebration.  

You see ... to understand Alex’s life you have to accept certain realities.  So with as few words as possible... I’m going to address the white elephant in the room today.  You have to understand that Alex felt the pain that all of us are forced to face… time to time... so much more intensely than her joy.  It was a consuming pain and one she found no relief from.  In the last 7 months while Alex lived with us at home… her joy and comfort came from one person and one person only… that was her Mother.  Traci devoted her life to caring for Alex and she was Alex’s lifeline.  Alex adored her mother and even though Alex and I shared a close and special relationship there was a bond between her and her mother that was unequalled.  We’ll never know what pain finally was more than she could take… but her pain is ended and I know that the God who created her is giving her the peace… she so wanted here on earth.

I met Alex when she was about 6 and a half.  I was attempting to convince Alex’s mother that she should spend more time with me than she was spending with her current boyfriend.  I could tell I was getting her mothers attention and soon we began to spend time with both our children.  I can remember seeing Alex for the first time.  Beautiful big brown eyes with long curly hair.  She was always smiling and slightly mischievous.  Although I had my hands full with two amazing boys… I always wanted a daughter. She was never afraid to say what was on her mind.  For those of you that know her mother… you know where this characteristic comes from. 

I can remember clearly this one day when we were all together.  I decided that this was a great opportunity to use my best charm skills.  I’d been practicing on her mother and it looked like I was making considerable progress… so… I figured...  How hard could a 6 year old be.  I spent the evening chatting it up with this delightful little woman.  I asked her all the right  questions and we talked (I talked) until I was satisfied I’d charmed her right into the palm of my hand… smugly confident I just knew I had her wrapped her around my little finger.  

Later that evening I saw her go up to her mother and whisper in her ear.  I was curiously waiting for Traci to give me the news of my latest female conquest… but instead… the answer would begin a long line of unexpected responses from this amazing little woman whom I would later refer to as my “Little Tiny.”  Alex… making sure I could clearly hear what she was about to say...nonchalantly said … “Mommy can you spend more time with your other boy friend?  This guy talks way too much…”

I learned something about Alex that day that has always made her special and unique.  Her insight and ability to see a situation for what it really was… was far beyond most 6 year olds and possibly many adults.  Understanding this about Alex I decided to abandon the attempt to market myself to her and just let that amazing mind of her’s decide who I was and see what happened.  The result was that Alex and I developed a bond that was nothing short of amazing and one that I think most Dad’s would only hope for.  

I can remember several years later hearing a co-worker of mine refer to his “step-daughter”  It was then that I realized how close Alex and I had become.  When I heard this person talking about his step-daughter it hit me that Alex was technically my step-daughter too but honestly… I’d forgotten that fact.  She had become my own flesh and blood.

Alex looked forward to her turn, like  the rest of the children to go with me on business trips.  I can remember having to attend a Porsche meeting in marina del rey.  It was Alex’s turn to go with me… I can remember we stayed at the Marriot and Alex was so excited.  We went out to eat together and walked on the beach nearby and talked and talked.  I think by this time she’d gotten used to my talking and maybe even started to appreciate it.  One on one time with Alex is when she was the happiest.  She was so animated when she talked about anything she was passionate about. I can remember that trip like it was yesterday… I can even remember discussing what she wanted to order for dinner….what we talked about and that amazing smile of hers.

Over the years our bond grew… and during her senior year in High School she started to show interest in cameras and cinematography.  She was one of the very few young woman that absolutely love to have her picture taken.  And I have to say that after taking thousands of pictures she is still my favorite person to photo.  The enjoyment and enthusiasm she showed while doing her pictures was so infectious that you just couldn’t get a bad picture of her.  Trust me I have hundreds of her.   She was an amazing model and an amazing actor as well.  In addition to her talent on screen she also began to show an interest in photography.  She worked for me in my department as one of my staff photographers taking on a the job of inventory photographer.  She met many people in her job and I can’t think of anyone that was less than charmed by her.  I know because so many of you have let me know how she touched your life and your presence here is testament to that fact. 

Alex and I worked on her High School Senior project together and spent many hours crafting her fictitious story… interpreting what she felt was the real story Sarah Mclachlin meant by her song “Dirty Little Secret”.  We sat side by side together crafting what she thought was the message in that song.  Aside from all the interpretations you can assume from that project… I want this to be remembered.  Her message in that project touched countless lives over the last 5 years.  Her video that was on YouTube, Myspace and Facebook was and continues to be a message of hope to all that deal with what Alex dealt with.  She and I received dozens of letters from young people all over the world about how she touched their life… Such as…

17 year old Cassie from Maryland who said…

“this video is so true i am so glade you made it and happy that i saw it every singe part is true in it and it opend my eyes now i no other people feel the same  way..”

And 19 year old Brandon from Texas wrote…

“i’ve been through this so i know what it feels like i actually cried when i watched this. . thank you i needed it.”

And then there was 17 year old Jessica from Oklahoma who said…

“I never cry on videos but I did on this one that could have been me.”

Alex was very proud of that project and yet oddly quiet about it too.  I have very mixed feeling about that project and I have spent many hours thinking about it.  To say the least…it will haunt me forever.

Just last year I had project at Infineon Raceway for the Audi Driving Experience.  My job was to create a short message to promote their product.  It  was one of those fun projects and it caught Alex’s ear…  She was determined to go with me.  I was thrilled to have her.  I packed up the RV and headed to Sonoma for 4 days of filming.  Alex met me there and we stayed together filming during the day and  reviewing and editing footage in the evenings.  We’d go to Safeway in Sonoma toward evening and load up on all the stuff Mom wouldn’t allow us to have at home.  Rib eye steaks, Bacon (beef of course) Twinkies, Coke, crackers with cheese whiz… and best of all lucky charms for breakfast.  Needless to say we worked hard all day and eat like kings at night… then I would edit footage while she’d watch a movie in the RV.  I will cherish those 3 days in my heart and I find myself trying to remember every detail of that time we spent together.

During the day I learned another interesting fact about my “Little Al”.  We needed some footage inside an Audi R8.  I needed someone to film me as I drove this 450hp car as fast as I knew how around the course at Infineon.  Alex LOVED going around that track… but the camera that we were using was bulky… about 7 pounds… much like the one filming here today.  So I had a couple camera guys that were assigned the job.  Try as we could those poor guys only made about a half a lap before their lunch was on its way up in a rather dramatic way.  After going through two camera guys there was only thing left to do.  Change cameras and put ‘Little Al” in the passengers seat.  I’ll never for get the scene… here’s these two guys bent over on the side of the race track while tiny little 5’3” Alex… Helmet on… camera in hand confidently buckling herself up in the passenger seat chuckling to herself about the two guys puking on the side of the track.  We went around that track for probably 20 laps as she struggled to get the shots we needed under maximum acceleration and braking while generating close to 1G in the corners… and all I heard from here was giggling and excitement about the shots she was getting.  She was amazing in so many ways.  And she never stopped surprising me.

The last 7 months Alex spent at home were precious.  She and her mother looked more like best friends than Mother and Daughter.  They did everything together… except one thing.  Alex knew my weak spots… and she had no problem exploiting them to her benefit.  About 11pm… Alex (not unlike myself) would get a hankering to get something tasty… and she knew of my weakness for In-and-Out  better than anyone.  She’d start saying… Dad… “let’s go to In-and-Out … come on Dad you know you want to…”  It wouldn’t be more than about 10 minutes and we’d be in the car heading down hwy 49 to In-and-Out.  We’d be going for a milkshake but let’s face it… you cant go to In-and-Out with getting a cheesburger and we would … Thanks for the extra pounds “little tiny”  I will never be able to go through an In-and-Out drive through without thinking about my “Little Al”

Alex left a lasting impression an almost everyone she met.  Just look around this room… Sadly Alex’s pain was something most of us didn’t… couldn’t fully understand.  I remember her going through a few hard weeks… She just couldn’t bring herself to go to school come Monday morning.  She was a good student and so well liked that I was at a loss to understand her problem.  She finally said something to me that gave me a glimpse into a small part of her struggle.  She said… “Dad I just don’t have the energy to be who everyone want’s me to be…”  I didn’t understand what she meant at the time but I understand it so well today. 

What I do understand and so appreciate is that Alex had an amazing grip on her theology.  She missed out on so much of the religious baggage that so many of us carry.  I have said before and I believe it more that ever today… that Religion is Statan’s finest work”  Happily Alex didn’t carry any of that.  She had that childlike understanding that Christ spoke of when he said… in Matt 18

"Except you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of God," 

She had no question about her salvation.  She knew her God and she… unlike anyone else believed he understood her struggle here on earth.  It was a clean and completely simple understanding of  what we  tend to take and sadly overcomplicate.  I completely admire Alex’s simple… and pure theology and I have a new understanding of  what I believe Christ  was trying to say.  She knew… 

So many of you made such an impact on her life. I don’t know all of you… but I feel compelled to mention a few of those that she talked about to me so often…

Jim Fraisure of Pine Hills Adventist School

David Wickstrom -  Principal of Forest Lake Christian School

Christine Hasbani -  One of her dearest and close friends

Tim Hull – I still don’t understand this but after church she’d squash a banana on the windshield of his car and giggle all the way home

Mass Masenbuoko – She didn’t always like you Mass but she loved you very much
Dave Carreon -  Her youth pastor who she constantly forced to deal with the hard questions.

Dan Appel 

Alekzander beitz -  her brother who shared a bond with her that few of us did…

Lance Zepeda.. she always looked up to you.

And so many more of you that made a real difference in her short life.  

My prayer through this most difficult time is that somehow… someway…  Alex’s life will speak to people long after her death.  I know that she loved all of us and that we will be reunited again.  God speed “Little Tiny”  Christ's coming can’t be soon enough for your mother and I and all our family.  We love you and I know God will somehow someday take this tragedy and make your voice speak to others… forever,

I love you “Little Tiny”
I want to extend a warm Thank you to all of you that attended Alex’s Memorial.

For any questions or comments please contact 
Jonathan Beitz or Traci's%20passingshapeimage_3_link_0shapeimage_3_link_1
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