Casey Will Not Be Forgotten

Casey (center) and Melissa Zirolli (L) and Amber Staska – Senior Week 2006

July 17, 2019 marked the tenth anniversary of Casey’s death. In conjunction with Casey’s “angelversary”, so many people have reached out to us privately and on social media to share their memories of Casey and how important she was to them.  Many people, including those who who never even met Casey, expressed how she had inspired them. Accordingly, we found the following article written nine years ago by Casey’s father, Joel Feldman to be relevant today.

By Joel Feldman

Originally published JANUARY 31, 2010  in Recovering From a Tragic Loss

In the days after Casey died and leading up to her funeral I started to realize what a positive impact she had on so many people. Some of her colleagues at the Fordham Observer wrote me and told me how Casey had influenced them. One told me how Casey had shown her that everyone has a story and if you just take the time to listen, you will hear that story and can communicate that you value what the other has to say. Another told me that Casey was dogged in her reporting, fearless when it came to getting the story, but also honest and fair. Another admired how Casey was able to work so hard but also have a good time. Another that Casey took the extra effort to welcome others and try to make them feel comfortable. Many of these “Casey stories” were told at the funeral. Following the funeral there were more and more letters and e-mails which touched me profoundly and gave me hope that Casey would be remembered and that many people would carry a little bit of Casey with them. One of the associates at my law firm, after attending the funeral, wrote the following:

I feel compelled to write to you and your family as I was never so touched by anything like I was yesterday. While I did not know Casey personally, and felt like an intruder at first at the service, I left with an overwhelming feeling of her spirit and love and I now believe that one person can make a difference toward making a kinder more gentle world. The words from you, your family and Casey’s friends were beautiful and made me feel like I should work toward becoming the best that I can be, as it was clear that Casey did herself.

I pray that her wonderful spirit and the celebration of her life, and how it has touched even the remote of persons, can assist your family in this difficult time. My best to you all …

Another dear friend recalled how Casey, then age 10 or 11 had comforted her 5 year old son at our firm’s Bring Your Child To Work Day and stated that she had not been aware of Casey’s accomplishments in her short life but wondered whether many of the older folks in attendance at the funeral had done as much for others as Casey. She felt that Casey had “lived big, enjoying life fully, but had also given big to others.” She questioned what she was waiting for and said that she believed that not a day would go by where she would not think of Casey and, as a result, would try to do better in her life.

I recall feeling that it was so unfair to Casey and to all that loved her that she had been taken from us at such a young age. I had always looked into the future and thought about Casey and my son Brett growing up and how lucky I was to have them and was looking forward to a changing relationship with them. Casey was gone and what would would be left? All the cards and kind words kept saying memories – that’s what you will have – wonderful memories – but it really was not much solace for me then. I wanted Casey to be alive for Casey and for me and she was dead. Slowly it came to me that through Casey’s influence on others, her love for others and their love for her, Casey would live on. She would not be forgotten – my biggest fear. Every time someone told me how Casey had influenced and changed them for the better, or every “because of Casey I will…” gave me the hope that she would live on.

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