Craftzine blog came up, and hit me like a ton of bricks. Kathreen Ricketson, author, crafter, blogger and founder of Whipup.net and Action Pack Magazine, and her partner, Robb Shugg, had suddenly and unexpectedly lost their lives that day while swimming at an Australian beach. Current reports now point to the likelihood that the couple were both stung by deadly Irukandji jellyfish. Their two children were on the beach with friends and watched the nightmare unfold right in front of them. Kathreen's body was pulled ashore, and efforts were made in vain to resuscitate her. Robb's body was pulled under the waves, and the search for him was ended two days ago.
In March I wrote a post here about Kathreen and Action Pack, extolling the excellent qualities of both. Kathreen was a giant in the world of crafting and in the online creative family community. Though I never met her in person, we had exchanged brief but friendly emails, and I admired her to no end for both her creative spirit and the generosity with which she shared it. Though I'm well aware that tragedy strikes families in unspeakable ways every single day around this crazy world, this family's loss hits home-hard, and my heart breaks every day for their beautiful kids.
After taking in the news that evening, I went upstairs and sat by each of my boys in their beds. I nuzzled my face into the folds of their bodies, warm and sleeping under the blankets, and inhaled the scent of them. And I thanked God: whatever, wherever, if ever, he, she or it is, for the very fact of my own living, breathing self, and for the lives of my family. Each day since, I've tried to be more mindful of my words and gestures towards them, and have been able to be more patient and kind than usual, as I've internalized the truth in that old platitude about today being all we have in this life.
Friends of the Shugg family have set up an educational trust fund for the couple's children.
UPDATE: Following my inability to make a donation via Paypal to the fund for Orlando and Otilija, I contacted Whipup to ask for updated information re donations. I received the following reply:
"Kathreen's family are so very grateful for the kindness of the crafting community, and for the support they received in the aftermath of the accident. The family are no longer accepting monetary donations through the trust fund, and have requested that the payment details be removed from Whipup.
If you would like to support the children and the family, very soon we will be posting details of Kathreen's latest and final quilting book, Brave New Quilts. Sales of this book and her other books will benefit her estate, and directly, her children. We will also be reestablishing the Action Pack site and store as soon as we can, and releasing an unpublished Action Pack for sale.
Thanks for your thoughts and support"