Sunday, May 18, 2008

What I've Learned about "Ira"

Yesterday I went to the memorial service at CHHS.
It lasted between 10:30 and 2:30.
That was 2 hours longer than I expected, but it was all good!
What I saw was an inspirational presentation of the life of Irina Yarmolenko, told in slideshow, song, and poetry.
I consider the time very well spent!

What have I learned about Irina Yarmolenko?
I learned that the people who knew her called her Ira. (pronounced, sort of like, EE-ra)
That she was a beautiful child, whose smile could melt the hardest heart.
That her life reigned from May 2, 1988 to May 5, 2008.
Adding to the tragedy is that she was killed 3 days after her birthday, when she turned 20 years old.

This is where she has lived, since she was born.
1988 - 1996 -- Kharkov, Ukraine
1996 - 1997 -- Greensboro, NC
1998 - 2006 -- Chapel Hill, NC

Ira was very popular in Chapel Hill, and still has a lot of friends in the area. She graduated from CHHS before attending college at UNC-Charlotte.
She was the kind of girl who made friends instantly wherever she went.
She was known for her charm, her spunk, her playful spirit, and generous nature.
Ira excelled in theater, photography, and poetry, as well as in winning people's hearts.

Ira was a strong advocate of non-violence. This makes some people ask why she died the way she did. Some say perhaps this is a part of her message to us.

I was left very impressed with the impact her life has left in the world she lived in, for only 20 years, and the influence she still has on the people who knew her.

A man who spoke about her said that her name, IRA, means "Is Really Awesome."
Another person said, "Hope is the world that Ira lived in."

There is some speculation that her murder could be related to the missing persons case of Jamie Fraley, missing from Gastonia, NC, since April 8
See Jamie's story here.

After the service, I had the honor of shaking the hand of Ira's brother, Pavel Yarmolenko. I told him I hope to meet him again.

I also enjoyed the opportunity of meeting with some young people I was introduced to, thanks to Joy, who was there with me, who told me about stories they want to share, that I look forward to sharing with readers of this blog, hopefully soon!

Remember that guestbook I told you about? It's full of personal testimonies like these, and I have since then discovered another cool thing about it. You can enter your e-mail address, and be notified whenever a new entry is made in it. It's still fairly new, and bound to fill up pretty fast.
Here it is again.

I plan on following this story closely, and sharing what I find.
Some of Ira's friends I've spoken to have indicated some interesting parallels between her story, and the story of Debbie Key. I get the feeling that the more we look into these parallels, the more interesting this case will become.

If you knew Ira when she was still with us, I ask that you please share your stories with me, either here, or in her guestbook.

It does my heart good to know this beautiful person will always be remembered.

1 comment:

cloyd said...

Thanks for this post. I was a regular customer at the coffee shop where Ira worked, and she was, if you pardon the cliche, very beautiful on the inside and the outside. I'm glad you're keeping this story alive and keeping Ira's memory alive.