Letter: Community outpouring offers support in time of grief

To the editor:

This past week our community has been stricken by a tragedy, the unexpected death of our beloved daughter, Abby Rejer. I know so many are mourning with us.

In light of her young age, we are all asking, “How could this happen?” I would like to clarify the facts so that no one is misled.

On Wednesday evening (March 29), Abby and I were delighted to see “Beauty and the Beast.” A little while after returning, we all said goodnight as usual. On Thursday (March 30), Abby was found unresponsive when going to ask her about lunch after assuming she was sleeping in as usual on spring break. She appeared to have passed in her sleep. There was nothing out of the ordinary at the scene. An autopsy did not reveal a cause of death, leaving us with only the unsatisfying explanation: natural causes. I had never left the house.

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the community for the outpouring of support at this most difficult time, beginning with the first responders. To each of you, thank you so much for the compassion and professionalism you displayed as you were forced into every parent’s worst nightmare. We know you are parents, too, and can only imagine how difficult the circumstances were for you as well.

To the Bell family, your support was so appreciated. Having a son who was a friend to Abby certainly had to make their job more difficult. They worked tirelessly to complete a long list of chores in a very short time, even replying to emails at all hours. Thank you, Jeff and Lynnette and family, for the hard work and for the personal time lost in our interest.

The outpouring of support from the community has been unbelievable. For everyone touched in some way by Abby who showed up at her services and for those who couldn’t come but wanted to, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The number of people at the church can only mean that she truly did have an impact in her short life, and that brings us some comfort. Calls, texts, food, offers of help, words of encouragement, hugs — everything that came our way — will not be forgotten.

At Indian Creek, thank you so much to Gary Johnson for inspiring us with always perfectly chosen words at her ceremony, and to Josh Howerton for comforting us with his incredible musical talent. It would have been just what Abby wanted. To everyone else there who caused everything to magically happen such as sound and food, we noticed you and thank you.

To the teenagers of this community, I do not even know what to say. I have been awestruck by these kids and their strength. To show up at such devastation takes so much courage and dedication. We were astounded. To Abby’s friends and their parents, acquaintances, teachers — thank you. We are so grateful to the New Palestine High School band family for its generous donation of food and its overwhelming support for Abby. She had so much fun in band and loved you all.

Of course, we must extend deepest gratitude to our family for all its support and help. Your love and concern kept us going each and every day.

From the bottom of our hearts, Rich and I, along with Alex, Andrew and Evan, thank you all.

Kristi Rejer

New Palestine