Rachel Bacinski 1979-2006 Rachel was born ten weeks premature with a brain injury, hydrocephalus. She had a very tenuous beginning,but she came home with her doting and nervous parents when she was two months old after much time in the NICU in Grand Rapids. Rachel was a curious and imaginative child. She made a great playmate for her younger brother Steve and younger sister Ruth. Rachel has always loved music. She had a beautiful voice, and she loved singing solos. She also had perfect pitch, and she learned to play the piano by ear. Her favorite music was the oldies, especially the Beatles. When riding in the care, it was required that everyone sing along, loudly with harmony. Rachel wrote poetry. Some of it was funny and some of it was very poignant. She loved words and books. She played Scrabble every Sunday with her dad. She made up jokes that were very "punny". Rachel dreamed of being a journalist and having her name in print. She was an excellent writer, and before her unexpected death she was scheduled to interview a resident for her group homes newsletter. Rachel had a strong faith, and she often wrote about the home Jesus was preparing for her in heaven. Mr. Rogers was a great friend to her. They corresponded via email. She wrote that she hoped her home in heaven was close to Mr. Rogers home so she wouldn't get lost going to his house to visit. Rachel was loved by many people- her family, the staff at her group home, her teachers. When she was happy, she was very funny and lively. Her autism and brain injury were very frustrating to her. It was hard for her to live with her limitations. We, her family, are looking forward to seeing her again in heaven. We cant wait to meet her and get to know her without disabilities.
My name is Katy, and this quilt is commemorating my cousin. I didn't know much about Rachel's disability. I didn't need to know much about it. I grew up with her my entire life and all I can tell you is that she was a miraculous person. Rachel's disability did not define her, she made sure of that. Its true you noticed her as soon as she came into the room, because she was special. Not "special" as in what most people use as a word to define those with disabilities. Special in the sense that she was gifted, in so many ways. Rachel could sing, she could write, she had humor. She was, she IS so smart. I wasn't there when Rachel died in 2006. I sometimes forget that she is no longer walking this earth, and I believe that to be because I never got the closure of a funeral. I wasn't close to my cousin, not like I now wish I had been. I always observed her however, and I did learn a lot from her. I miss her and I must say that her death surprised me. Although most might find it silly, I never believed Rachel would be the first of us cousins to go. Rachel was an extremely beautiful person. I love her, and she is truly missed.