Janna Gilbert - Our neighbor

Karen, Todd & Zoe lived two floors above us on a beautiful tree-lined street on the UWS. At the time, we didn't have any kids and I marveled at how all three of you fit into that 1 bedroom apartment! We were on the ground floor so had the outdoor garden area had a kettle grill (I still remember Todd running down the one and only time we have ever used lighter fluid to kindly ask us to move the grill so napping Zoe would not have to breathe those terrible fumes! Never again.)

Anyways, one weekend we were planning to smoke some ribs. We ran into you guys on your way out on some adventure or errand, and told you to feel free to stop by later and join us. Hours later, as we were outside getting ready to eat, we heard some knocking above us. Saw you guys waving and pointing down with excitement. A few minutes later you joined us and Chris's brother & his family for some BBQ. Karen was sitting behind the action with baby Zoe, eating some veggies (I believe she proclaimed she was a vegetarian?). Then somewhere in the midst of all the gluttony, she realized the ribs were not beef "Those are pork? I can eat pork!". To which she jumped up and grabbed some ribs and I can still remember her eating with obvious delight those delicious vegetarian-friendly ribs :) 

After you moved out, I ran into Karen on the street about two weeks after I had our first baby. I was wandering around in a sleep-deprived, the world is totally different haze and ran right into Karen. The only thing I remember is after her asking what we were up to, I told her we had a baby and her response was "You made a whole human being since the last time we saw you?!?". I ended up getting to know her better while on maternity leave as she kindly worked me into her schedule for a Luke's lobster run to the UES (none on the UWS then), park mommy playdates, etc. After we moved to Brooklyn, we stayed in touch thanks to social media over the years. 

So while I didn't know Karen well, she was just one of those people who leaves a mark on everyone she meets - must be, because these memories have held on for 7 years now! My heart goes out to your whole family as you carry on without her here in person by your side. I learned a lot from watching her incredible journey these last few years - her joy, and her love of her children, her husband, her parents, her friends, her life. Forward motion. Get your butts checked. Never give up.