Mariah and Dad, Christmas Day, 2007

First, to the more than 1,000 visitors to this blog in the last two days, and to the dozens of folks sending emails and calling to express condolence: thank you.

Mariah touched and inspired hundreds of people, and it seems clear she’ll continue to do so for a very long time. Her obituary was printed in today’s (Tuesday, 12/29) Washington Post Metro section on page B2. The print edition includes two beautiful photos of Mariah. You can also view it online here.

Here’s what we understand about memorial arrangements for her. These may be subject to change, so check back here for updates before making plans.

Mariah directed that her remains be donated to science (she is the gift that keeps on giving), so there will be no viewing or traditional funeralĀ  with a casket.

Next Wednesday, January 6, there will be brief Moment of Remembrance at 0800 in the gymnasium at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This event is open but intended primarily for the soldiers in Mariah’s brigade.

On Saturday, January 16, at 2:30 pm, a Quaker Memorial Meeting service will be conducted at Bethesda Friends Meeting in Bethesda, Maryland. The service will be in the fashion of Quakers, featuring about an hour of respectful silence punctuated by brief, spontaneous spoken messages that help us feel connected to Mariah and to one another. All are welcome, but seating is limited and available on a first-come basis. Check here for updates concerning child care, time changes, address, etc.

Finally, sometime after 6-12 months, there will likely be a service at Arlington National Cemetery where Mariah’s remains will be laid to rest in a military ceremony befitting an officer of the United States Army. Our hope is that she will be borne from the cemetery chapel to her resting place on a caisson drawn by the same beautiful horses she loved so much at Ft. Myer.

The family is determining where donations can be made in Mariah’s name. That information will be posted when it’s available. In the meantime, please send cards or correspondence only to:

Mary-O King (mother)
4425 Chestnut St.
Bethesda, MD 20814

Clay Steinwinter (brother)
1206 Cotanche St., Apt. #1
Greenville, NC 27858

Mark Steinwinter (father)
181 Cabot Street
Newton, MA 02458

Thank you once again for your prayers and expressions of sympathy. Every single kind word and thought helps us move into a new world illuminated even more brightly by Mariah’s shining spirit.

– Mark

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Dear Friends,

My heart is breaking as I write to tell you that our beautiful Mariah passed from this earth on Christmas Eve.

Army Captain Kochavi struggled to overcome multiple physical disabilities that resulted from a brain stem stroke she suffered while trekking in the mountains of Peru on Father’s Day in June, 2008. Even more difficult than the physical impairments were an intractable depression and inexplicable inability to see and accept the amazing progress she made.

For several months after the stroke, she could not speak, eat, swallow, hold anything in her hand, or even sit up unaided. Eighteen months later she was able to do all those things, and much more. Recently, she was even walking with the assistance of a guide dog for balance.

Mariah was brave, strong, and stubborn. We cheered her on as she poured her heart into work that was frustrating, physically painful, and often without reward, and she did so in spite of an entrenched belief that she simply wasn’t getting better. I’m certain that Mariah would wish us to be brave, strong, and stubborn as we face tough times – like this one – in our own lives.

A final thought: Mariah was unique and as an artist she shaped the spaces, people and ideas around her into unexpected forms. Even in reemergence, she managed to surprise by reframing what that could mean. My expectation was not that she would recover precisely all she had lost, but that she would figure out how to transform the broken parts of her body, psyche, and dreams into a new Mariah, different and in many ways stronger than before. Mariah gave that an honest shot, but she finally chose to give it another meaning altogether. Instead of rehabbing one body for another, she chose to reinvent herself as an angel, as a pure spirit, eternally free of limits. Unconfined at last, Mariah now inhabits the warmest and most intimate places in our hearts.

Farewell, Bunny. God bless you. We love you to pieces.

– Mark

P.S. When we have information about a memorial service and where to send cards and flowers, I’ll post it here.

Perhaps these photos (click on the thumbnails to see a larger image) will help you recall Mariah’s amazing life and works. I hope you’ll find yourself in here, either in person or in spirit.