Ana Kriegel: Siberian warrior who was a vulnerable girl inside

By Joyce Fegan

"Live every day as if it's your last," was the message friends and family were asked to take from the funeral of Ana Kriegel.

Following her parents' request to wear "sparkle and colour" to reflect their daughter's vibrant life, mourners wore sequinned jackets, pearl-encrusted collars and gold and silver sandals to Ana's funeral today. Grown men wore floral shirts and her classmates, boys and girls, wore multi-coloured tops.

The 14-year-old teenager, was murdered on May 14, and later found in a derelict farmhouse in Lucan, Co Dublin, but her funeral was one of only celebration, which ended with a standing ovation for the girl who regularly said: "music is my life."

Mourners gather at the funeral of Ana Kriegel at Newlands Cross Crematorium this afternoon. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos.

She was described by the civil celebrant, Padraic Cawley, as being "caring, kind, strong-willed" and "sometimes cheeky."

“None of us want to be here this afternoon. We are all numbed, confused, bewildered and very angry at what happened to the most beautiful, caring, kind, strong-willed, crazy, sometimes cheeky, but always loving princess," Mr Cawley said.

“She loved her music, dancing, fashion, swimming, dogs, her Russian heritage and her happy days in Annecy, France," he added.

Mr Cawley described how Ana's Irish and French parents had travelled the long journey to Russia in 2006 to adopt their beloved daughter.

He also described the idyllic family they went on to create, where it was all music, dancing, singing and Sunday afternoons cuddling on the couch.

It was with much love, that Ger and Patrick travelled the many hours to Russia to adopt a little girl of two-and-a-half years and return home to Ireland and settle down with much security and happiness.

"Ana grabbed all that she could with both hands. She loved to dance. She was part of Dance LA, who formed a fantastic guard of honour this afternoon. She loved singing. She sang in her school choir. And god could she swim.

"There were many times when Ger watched anxiously as Ana swam out into the lake [in France where she holidayed each summer]. Her birthday - the 18th of February - the last day of the zodiac sign Aquarius, the water carrier and did she love the water," the celebrant said.

However, despite the "confidence" and "determination" of this "Siberian warrior", Ana was still a "vulnerable little girl inside," Mr Cawley said.

"She loved nothing more than to cuddle up with her mother on a Sunday afternoon wearing her PJs, watching some Disney princess movie, while munching her favourite food," the celebrant said.

Intriguing tales of every kind were told about Ana today, from the annual dyeing of her hair to the time she swam in a pool dressed in full mermaid garb.

Each summer before she went to holiday in France she would pick out what colour she would dye her hair. So far she had gone through pink, purple and even blue.

In recent times, she was drawn to the gothic look and when her mum questioned her about the darker look, Ana replied: "You always told me to be who I am, this is me."

"This is me," was written on several large screens in Newlands Cross Cemetery in Dublin today alongside a picture of the teenager's smiling face.

Various gifts were presented to honour her short life, including the Russian flag and her blue and white headphones which she wore around her house singing with all her heart.

Social Democrats leader and local TD Catherine Murphy spoke at the civil funeral service and said Ana had made a lasting impact on her community.

Ana parents both recorded a poem, her mother said it in English and her father read it in French, with both recordings played at the end of the service today.

"This young girl has been taken from us, yet there is something that can never be taken away, no matter how long or short her life has been," said Mr Cawley, who reminded mourners that "life is so, so fragile."

When the service ended, all that remained was Ana's photo on the screen alongside her quote: "This is me."

Her family, friends, neighbours and classmates all stood and clapped for her short, but fully lived life.

Mourners were asked to make donations, if desired, to the Russian Irish Adoption Group.


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