By Kathryn G. Menu
The death of a 14-year-old Springs resident struck by an SUV while riding her bike in East Hampton Village Saturday has left a community stunned, grappling to deal with the loss of a child with the whole world at her fingertips.
Anna Mirabai Lytton, the daughter of Kate Rabinowitz and Rameshwar Das, succumbed to her injuries at Stony Brook University Medical Center after being transported to East Hampton Airport by East Hampton Ambulance and airlifted.
According to East Hampton Village Police, at approximately 1:25 p.m. on Saturday, a 2002 Ford Explorer operated by Maria Brennan, 73, of East Hampton traveling westbound on Pantigo Road at the intersection of Gay Lane collided with Anna, who was biking alongside traffic in the westbound lane and crossed in front of the vehicle.
No criminal charges were filed regarding the accident, however, according to police, Brennan was cited with a vehicle and traffic moving violation for “failure to exercise due care.”
Anna’s mother and 16-year-old brother, James, were with her at the hospital when she died. The family will host a private service and reception this weekend.
In the aftermath of the accident, the Springs School arranged crisis counseling, with counselors from the school district and other schools on hand to assist students, staff and the family. Grief counseling was also made available in the East Hampton School District where Anna was part of the middle school girls’ lacrosse team.
Springs School Principal Eric Casale released a statement to the community on Sunday. Anna was to graduate the Springs School today, Thursday, June 20, before moving on to attend The Ross School in East Hampton.
“Anna was a student who always brought a smile to everyone’s face,” wrote Casale. “She was a gentle soul who cared so much for others. Whether you were her friend, her classmate or an adult, Anna always greeted you with a smile and a friendly and genuine ‘hello.’ Her smile was infectious to the point that when you saw Anna smile, you could not help but join her. That was the type of person Anna was and will always be remembered as.”
Anna was born at home in East Hampton on April 30, 1999 on the Buddha full moon, the same lunar calendar day as her brother two years earlier, remembered Rabinowitz and Das in a remembrance crafted in honor of their daughter.
“Besides her parents her early years were supported by wonderful caretakers, including Kelsang Wangmu, a young Tibetan woman newly arrived from Nepal, and three Scottish girls on successive summers, Alice Chapman, Rebecca Watt and Lynn Fraser, then New Zealand Maori, Tamara Asher,” wrote Rabinowitz and Das. “Sara Karl was also part of the family for several years after being recruited by Anna at a concert event in New York.”
“Anna attended the early childhood program at then Hampton Day School, where she met two of her lifelong best friends, Julia Friedrich and Josie Battle,” continues the remembrance. “At the age of five, when her aunt asked her how she saw her life, she replied, ‘I’m either asleep or on an adventure’.”
Anna and her family lived in India for three months in 2004 when she was just five years old. She rode on elephants and met spiritual figures before coming home to attend kindergarten at the Springs School where she remained a student through this year when she was expected to graduate.
In addition to lacrosse, Anna was a soccer player. At the age of eight she was featured on a television program with Amy Polar demonstrating yoga poses she learned from her yoga teacher, who was also her mother.
“Her adventures continued on travels with her family, especially with her grandparents, Alan and Andrea Rabinowitz to England and Scotland, New Mexico, on a dinosaur dig to Colorado, following the Lewis and Clark trail to Washington State, camping in Glacier Park, trips to the islands in the Northwest and Canada, and a Eurail trip to Italy in 2010 that included Venice and Assisi,” said Rabinowtiz and Das. “In summers for Anna there were trips to Martha’s Vineyard and three summers at Farm and Wilderness camp in Vermont. She was looking forward to another camp summer.”
An avid reader who was also a writer and poet, Anna was also a photographer and had a passion for music. She loved to cook, loved flowers, gardening with her dad and picking vegetables at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett.
The family is establishing the Anna M. Lytton Foundation for Arts and Wellness, which will be dedicated to enriching arts and wellness for the young, including those at the Springs School. Contributions can be addressed to Anna M. Lytton Foundation, P.O. Box 625, Amagansett, NY 11930.
Rabinowitz and Das shared a poem Anna composed at the end of a camp canoe trip, which ended with:
A sweet silence settles
On our group as we row.
Dawn turns to dusk and soon
The sky is darkening
And the once calm water
Churns in the wind.
The campsite is near but rocks jut out at us
Preventing our docking.
It gets shallower and we try to walk
But the water pulls at our clothes and boats
It urges us to let go.
We reach the shore
The dry land welcomes us.
I have soaked up the water like a sponge
And now it is draining out
Along with my remaining strength.
We have reached our resting place
And completed our work.