A letter from Laurie Gross-Schaefer reflecting on four years of Avi’s absence

Dear Friends of the Avi Schaefer Fund,

Memories of loss are most present during times of celebration, and tragedy is even more deeply felt in the absence of those whose joy was so often interwoven with our own. We approach the summer months knowing that each time we pass the date of Avi’s birthday, June 11th, we will be reminded anew of the pain of loss. But every year we also celebrate Avi’s life and the legacy of his continued presence in the world through the work of the Avi Schaefer Fund. As in years past, we have been blessed with the opportunity to match your donations in honor of Avi’s birthday. Whether you are a long-time supporter of the Fund or you have not yet chosen to offer your financial support, I hope you will honor Avi’s upcoming birthday with a donation.

As Avi’s mother, I find myself in a place of deep reflection in the wake of Mother’s Day and as his birthday draws near. Arthur is traveling abroad to visit WWII sites where our beloved Uncle Gus fought on D-Day, and with Yoav busy preparing his final papers at the Harvard library it was my sons Elisha and Noah who showed up with a large bouquet of yellow roses and beautifully written cards to shower me with love and inspiration last week. As I write this sitting in my beautiful garden, I feel immensely grateful to be surrounded by my loving husband and three incredible sons. And yet, at the same time, our family still feels the deep void left by the absence of Avi’s physical presence in our lives.

Despite this terrible reality, I still acknowledge and appreciate the many blessings I hold: I have a wonderful relationship with a loving and supportive husband; I have a close relationship with each of my talented sons that even includes a design partnership with Elisha; I have so much pride in Noah’s accomplishments, and now such appreciation in seeing him take on the role of production manager for the Blessings Abound gift line of my studio; and I feel the pride and joy of watching Yoav mature and develop as a keen thinker and scholar. It is such a privilege to be a part of the lives of these amazing young men as they evolve with each passing year. Then there are the moments when I pass by a photo of Avi’s sparkling smile and I stop in my tracks and tears well up in my eyes — what would he be doing today if it had not been for that tragic moment?

With the help of so many, we will continue to put one foot in front of the other and strive to make a difference in the world. Please help us mark Avi’s birthday with a donation to the Avi Schaefer Fund. Your gift will be matched, doubling its impact and helping us advance our efforts to positively impact the young people we touch through the programs of the Avi Schaefer Fund.

In gratitude,
Laurie Gross-Schaefer

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