What is most important to Katrinka?
Hands-down, it is the love she has for her beautiful family — “they’re my everything.” Katrinka is proud of the 26 year marriage she shares with her husband, Brett, a police officer in Palm Beach County, Florida. While Katrinka is incredibly honored and humbled by her husband’s dedication to service, she worries about him every day — especially knowing that, “the culture surrounding police officers in the country today puts him at even more risk.” And together, they have raised two accomplished and gorgeous daughters, Taylor and Serina. Taylor recently graduated from the University of Florida where she was a Drum Major for the Gator’s Marching Band, and Serina (her youngest daughter) is a freshman for a Division 1 university in South Carolina and named to her Conference’s All Freshman Team.
Katrinka (an only child herself) is incredibly grateful for the many blessings in her life. However, just 2 days shy of her 47th birthday, her entire world was turned, suddenly and unexpectedly, upside down when her father took his own life. Brett and Serina were with her when she arrived at her parents’ house in search of her missing father, and she sensed something was terribly wrong. It was Katrinka’s husband who found her father’s body and shielded her from the horrific tragedy. Brett handled everything to spare her, her mother and her daughter from as much pain as he possibly could. “Love comes in many forms,” Katrinka says — and she will never forget the compassion her husband showed at this awful time.
Katrinka shares that grieving over a suicide is a lonely journey. There is a shroud of shame, anger and guilt that surrounds it. Usually a death is out of one’s hands, it is not a chosen path. But, her father’s suicide was “at his own hand.” She says, “there is a heaviness that comes with this kind of a death,” and that both she and her mother agonized over what they could have done differently and what signs they may have missed.
However, Katrinka knows that there is a reason, “God put her on this path,” and she is grateful to have been chosen as a Heartfelt Role Model as she feels that having a safe place to share her story with others is truly the gift she needed to help heal herself. She has three “takeaways” she hopes will be meaningful…
• “Grief is as individual as a fingerprint.”
• “We all have a story and so much baggage…why can’t we all just be nice to each other.”
• “Be vulnerable to help heal yourself and others.”
Katrinka refused to rob her daughters of her presence and her ability to celebrate the accomplishments that they were embarking on, and she committed herself to being present to them and for them. In fact, she and Brett have spent this past year traveling from Gator game to golf tournament and back again!!
And she tries, whole-heartedly, to live by this most beautiful quote by L.R. Knost ~
LIFE IS AMAZING.
AND THEN IT’S AWFUL.
And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful
it’s ordinary and mundane and routine.
Breathe in the amazing,
hold on through the awful, and
relax and exhale during the ordinary.
That’s just living heart-breaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s
Katrinka, we couldn’t be more proud to have you as a Heartfelt Role Model!