Jackie Vanderbeck DiSalvo - We met through my husband Mike and I later became babysitter to Tate and Zoe until we moved away.

I met Karen Walsh at a bar on 9th Avenue after she and Mike had been readers together that day. Mike and I had just started dating so I was relieved to learn that this stunning, funny, intelligent, talented woman was married. Later, Karen became my monologue/audition coach and I became her babysitter.
She inspired me as a woman with young children who was also passionate about her work as an artist. She could acknowledge how difficult the balance was but you'd never know it by the look on her face, as she conquered it all in her high top platform sneakers.
Her legacy as a cancer fighter: full of grace, humor, love, courage, and compassion to bring awareness to help others, will stay with me, our community and beyond. To me, Karen is the real Wonder Woman.

Sophie B Hawkins - I am a mother at p.s. 87, our kids were in class together, we shared some life since 2012

Last night, Memorial Day night, I was lying between my son and daughter, whispering with them as if a grown up were going to come in and yell at us. We were laughing about a girl who had terrorized the playground all weekend, scandalized the mothers by refusing to get off the “spinner” and let their children have a turn. Dashiell called her the “Sassy Grump” and followed his imagination through scenarios of the Sassy Grump taking over playgrounds all over the city, locking mothers out and extorting money, while my heart trailed off to thoughts of Karen Walsh Rullman.
I remembered her imitating my eighteen month old daughter, dramatizing her diva-esque hand motion, laughing, and in that moment I saw what a good actress she was, how alive and funny to watch. 
I remembered her in the school yard at pick up, talking about a show, trying to get me to meet a friend of hers, always wanting to put artists together, always that laugh like we’re all in this together, we all know how tough it is, let’s just put on our best face and walk out onto the stage of life.
When our kids were in kindergarten I wrote a musical with them, Karen’s daughter was so cute, like a fairy, eyes like a fawn, brown and gazing mirthfully at everyone, expecting us to break into song and dance at any moment, waiting for it. Karen must have been like that to her. And then after weeks of writing with the children, and them really knowing the songs, the music, Karen came in to the classroom to choreograph. That was the first time I’d ever seen her serious. Because it was a show. And a show was the real deal, you can’t laugh through this, not like life, it has to be, you know, as close to Broadway as you can be on Seventy Eighth Street.
One year Karen and I did Broadway night at the school. She sang, “You’ve got a friend”, and I listened in the wings thinking, ‘She is that friend. She lives these lyrics.’ I went out and sang an original song, feeling uncomfortably self-promoting, and wishing I had sang the duet with her. Later, she sat in a child chair in the first grade classroom talking with her performing partner like she were back stage at a gala. Again, I felt so willowy watching her, admiring the seasoned pro, and yet, I hadn’t a clue that very soon I’d never see her again.
Today, thinking about how to bring up Karen’s death with Dashiell, I asked him what he thought about dying. ‘What do you mean?’ He asked. ‘In the book you’re reading, Magnus Chase, is there stuff about death?’ ‘Yes. If you die bravely with a weapon or a tool in your hand you go to Vanaheim, which is a peaceful paradise with good dinners.’ ‘So death is an extension of life?’ ‘How you live determines how you live after death.’
A few blocks later I told him Karen had died last night and he was startled, hit by real sadness, empathy for his classmate and her brother. No Odin, Gods, afterlife. ‘It’s so sad’, he said, ‘to never see the person you’ve been so close with, you’ve seen every day, again.’
That’s what is so tough about living. Making loss bearable. Breaking into song, into dance, tickling each other late at night in the face of imminent heartbreak, and fear. That’s what was in Karen’s laugh. 
Memorial Day. We remember our brothers and sisters in arms, and we are all soldiers. But when a family is putting up such a fight, being so brave, exuding spirit and life in the face of such odds, it humbles us. If I were dying, I often thought. If I were dying, I would only be concerned with my children. Whether they were being loved, respected, cared for, treated fairly, empowered to design their lives, and if I felt my children had support, lots of generous support, maybe I could go to Vanaheim in peace.

Love, Sophie

Joy Svennevick - Became Friends from Blessed Sacrament 5 years ago

 I first met Karen at Blessed Sacrament School five years ago when Zoe and my daughter Anneliese were in Pre-K-4. We got a little more close when the girls did ballet together. I could tell right away I was going to really like her! It was my first year as a mom at the school and she had been there for a year and had that wonderful circle of friends. She made me feel very comfortable and was so easy to talk with. She welcomed me into the circle of moms and I am grateful! 
Karen always had a joke to tell and a smile on her face. She was so much fun to be with, I truly enjoyed it! 
She had beautiful eyes they shined and a smile I will never forget! She touched so many lives with strength, inspiration and most importantly her love for her beautiful kids and husband! I see that same sparkle in Zoe's eyes and the same amazing personality! She was so appreciative for all that her friends have to done for her but I am so appreciative for the time I had knowing such a wonderful woman! 
She will be greatly missed! Xoxo

Jimmy Walsh - one of her many uncles

 This is a two-part story:

So, there I was at the family home on a Saturday afternoon. Ann and Bob were heading out for the evening and left me with a list of warden (err…. babysitting) duties for the three kids. The first was to get them washed, etc. and ready for varying bedtimes before Saturday night Mass and supper.

So, after the traditional babysitting tasks were done, I asked Karen, Michael, and Matt to bring their favorite doll or stuffed animal to the kitchen for Mass as part of the audience. I left the room to get the Mass items and returned to find that Karen had arranged on the kitchen table (altar) more than two dozen stuffed animals and dolls “owned” by herself and the boys. I have to say it was the best and most attentive congregation I have had in 45 years as a priest.

Then, it was time for supper. Looking at Ann’s list, I learned supper was to be tacos. So, I cooked the meat, cut the lettuce, etc. Then at the bottom of the list was the instruction to put the taco shells into the microwave.

Now this was a long time ago. Looking around I said to myself: “Now where is this thing called a microwave?” Corralling the nearly seven-year-old Karen in her runs around the home, she showed me where it was. Then, in her precocious way, after she noticed my puzzlement at how to use it, she said: “Uncle Jimmy, do you want me to cook the tacos?” She did and we ate.