Aaliyah Kaylee Lopez was born to Amy Lee Lopez and Rogelio Rodriguez Jr. on Jan. 19, 2004, in Powell. At her request, when she was 14, Aaliyah joined the family of Robert Charles Croft and Michelle Lee Croft of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her desire was to be adopted, and she chose to change her name to Aaliyah Marisol Croft to honor her aunt, Marisol Adame Rodriguez. She was welcomed into her adoptive family with open arms and gained new siblings who cherished her.
Many individuals had the privilege of caring for our Princesa throughout her short years, and she touched all of us deeply. Aaliyah was a strength and light to many and grew to express her love for all of her family. To all in her family, she was a beloved daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin and granddaughter. Aaliyah especially adored her biological siblings, Chandler, Angela and Jasper Lopez.
Whether we choose to think of her as a Rodriguez, a Lopez, or a Croft, Aaliyah was a part of all of us, and she was simply ours for a season.
To our great sadness, she left this earthly existence on Feb. 28, 2022, due to an accidental overdose. She did not leave us on purpose, but she lost her internal battle with life’s tumultuous hardships, and the powerful grip of addiction. We are comforted in the knowledge that she is with her heavenly parents — those who loved her first, where she can find solace and peace.
She indeed had a sweetness in her soul. Animals were especially drawn to her; she was obsessed with creatures, finding delight in snakes, frogs, horned toads, crawdads, llamas, wild birds and turtles. She loved to play with her beloved dog Tréssen, kitties, Jett and Zuri; ferrets, Jinx and Koby; hamsters, Maple and Luna; the many fish she named individually, as well as her equine program horses.
Aaliyah’s life journey was full of color. She had the talent of an artist, and her heart was a masterpiece. Through the gale forces and silent storms, she found sunrises, sunsets, sunny days, rainbows and miraculous beauty. She learned to do hard things such as climb to the top of the Sandia Mountain. She enjoyed the wonders of the world — oceans, museums, restaurants, and culture. She loved horses, elephants, and roses. She tried new things, such as fitness classes and helping teach Latin dance to young children at the Jewish Community Cultural Center.
She learned to play softball and was on the La Cueva High School Softball Team. She graduated from the Junior Police Academy and enjoyed martial arts, boxing, and self-defense classes.
She knew how to draw people in, influence others, and make friends easily. She loved the elderly and those facing illness or physical difficulty, finding joy in serving them. She was an advocate for those who were vulnerable. She became an outspoken advocate for addiction and mental health—intimately understanding the difficulties of both. She interacted and was loved by many helping professionals, healers, teachers, caring community members, youth advisers, congregation members, therapists and staff at various treatment facilities.
Aaliyah is survived by her biological parents, Amy Lopez and Rogelio Rodriguez Jr., as well as her large extended biological family; and her adopted parents, Rob and Michelle Croft, and their children, and extended family. She has many relatives who will meet her on the other side of the veil such as loving grandparents on all sides of the family, her aunt Brenda Davila Lopez, uncle Steven Daniel Lopez, and her uncle Steven Muller, with whom she had a special bond.
Aaliyah loved her heavenly father and our savior; she was fond of saying, “Just because I don’t do what I am supposed to, doesn’t mean I don’t believe.” She often asked us to pray for her. In faith we know that she will be loved and taught in his care.
In the months before her passing, she spoke of wanting to help others reach sobriety. In Aaliyah’s honor, contributions can be made via the web page of Serenity Mesa Recovery Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico. https://healingaddictionnm.org/donate/
Funeral services will be held Friday, March 11, 2022, at 2 p.m., at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lovell. Interment will follow at the Lovell Cemetery.