I started this blog about a month ago with the intention of writing a few times a week the trials and triumphs of quilting with a few of my other interests like running and fitness and some family interjected in between. But as the saying goes, “Life happens as we are busy making plans.”
Toward the end of May, we received a call from my sister-in-law that my Mother-in-law was in the hospital. When Anne arrived to get her bring her home, my Mother -in -law had taken a turn for the worse over night and was unresponsive. So Mike and I jumped in the car and headed to Newport, RI. After a few days, Gma rebounded from a severe case of cellulitis. Anne and I decided to take her home since she was out of the woods. Gma has expressed an interest of passing at home and we felt if that is to come we should take her there. Well, thankfully she has done fairly well. She is weak, but happy to be home and enjoying the flow of her various children and grandchildren that come and go to visit her.
While I was in Rhode Island caring for Gma, I received word that our dear friends, the Karassik family, had been involved in a horrible tragedy. Bruce Karassik and his beautiful daughter, Larisa and Larisa’s friend had been struck by a drunk driver as the drunk driver ran a stop sign. Our beautiful Larisa was killed and Bruce and her friend were seriously injured. To say the world stopped turning for a few minutes is an understatement. My heart was broken in two. This beautiful girl, Larisa, had been a constant in our lives for the past 7 years – since our families met when my daughter, Grace and Larisa’s sister, Alina met in kindergarden and became best friends. Our families have been linked since that time and have enjoyed many happy moments together. Michael and I have had the privilege of watching the 3 Karassik girls grow. Larisa had really begun to blossom into a beautiful, compassionate, smart young woman – she had a bright and exciting future ahead of her. It was unfathomable to think she was gone. The past few weeks have been heavy. My little girl is trying to cope with her first loss in life while witnessing unimaginable grief of a family that considers her their “4th” daughter. My heavy heart is lightened by the outpouring of love and caring by my community for my friends. Food trains, special care for the sisters, remembrances by the school, sports teams and local churches have shown what we already knew – Larisa was a gem, a beauty on the inside as well as the outside.
The Karassiks are Russian Orthodox and had a traditional funeral and burial for Larisa. Although I speak no Russian, the beauty of the chants of the psalms and songs moved me. Larisa had attended a Russian camp each summer with her family and participated in their scouting program. Last summer as she turned 13, she was given her “woodland” name – Monarch Butterfly. At the burial, a friend of the Karassiks gave my friend, Anastasia and her daughters each an envelope with a Monarch Butterfly in it. They opened the envelopes and the butterflies flew to Anastasia and landed on her. One just above her heart. They lingered for what seemed an eternity. It was not lost on anyone that this was a sign from Larisa and she was saying her goodbyes to us all. We were all given Monarch Butterfly pins that day as a remembrance. My butterfly is pinned to my spool quilt in my sewing room. It gives me comfort to think Larisa is watching over me as I sit, sew, create and dream. I look forward to seeing that beautiful girl again some day when we are all reunited in the heavens. Life can change instantly. So hug your kids, your spouse, your friends a little tighter. Be a little kinder. Quilt something. Do something you’ve never done. Share your love.