PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Ani Emdjian lived well beyond her nine and a half years.
A third-grade student at Vartan Gregorian Elementary School, she loved to sing and dance at an Armenian hantess, was a dutiful student, and performed virtuously on the piano.
When she walked into a dark room, the sunshine poured through.
A bus accident on March 26 snatched away the child’s life, sending the state into a pall of grief. A crowd estimated at more than 2,000 mourners paid their respects, from every sector of the community including children and the elderly.
Ani had been a member for the past three years at St. Sahag/St. Mesrob Church where she cultivated a rather active lifestyle.
Like so many other children throughout the world, Ani was preparing to commemorate the Centennial with her fellow students at church with what she loved to do best—art and music.
A memorial shrine stands as a vigil at the site on Smith St., not far from the State House, where a bus struck her. The site is laden with stuffed animals, candles, and other objects, including an Armenian flag.
“It’s been very difficult for everyone,” said Konstantin Petrossian, the church’s cultural and music director. “Ani told me she had prepared some new music pieces for an upcoming concert just before she died. She loved to draw and play the piano.”
A “Go Fund Me” memorial account has raised more than $50,000 in her name to assist the family and other endeavors. Other benefits will be considered in time to assist charities.
“She always tried to make people feel better, that was her character,” said her uncle Ashot Emdjian. “So happy-go-lucky. Ani always paid attention to detail and craved to learn. She was very much into butterflies and insects that would make others skittish. Ani found beauty in everything.”
Ani’s father, 44-year-old Osheen Emdjian, is a DJ and owns his own record label called Blinded Records. Her mother is Marie McMillan. Ani was an only child.
Like any doting grandmother, Satenik Emdjian recalled their precious times together, shopping for clothes and books while under her care. They were “best friends.”
“I was her life and she was mine,” grieved the woman. “I’d take her to her activities after school and loved to watch her swim and perform. Such a natural talent and yet, she was stolen from us. I’m trying to remain strong for my family.”
An outpouring of support and bereavement has reached the family from City Hall and the mayor to the students of her school and places like the YMCA that she frequented. Among them is community activist Stephen Elmasian, who acted as somewhat of a liaison with the community.
“I was waiting for that little angel to wake up,” he said, choked with emotion. “Here we are on the cusp of a Genocide Centennial when many young girls were put to death in 1915. The loss of this child in our midst sends this entire community into an endless cycle of disbelief and sorrow.”