A Buffalo Grove woman who, along with her two daughters, was slain by her estranged husband was remembered by friends and neighbors Friday as an attentive, loving mother.
But several of the people who eulogized Vera Kisliak and her children also spoke of how she couldn’t escape domestic abuse – and how they feel they didn’t do enough to save her and the girls.
“It’s totally unfair,” a friend, Marina, who didn’t give her last name, told the crowd of about 100 people at Buffalo Grove’s Community Arts Center. “There is no explanation for this.”
Vera Kisliak, 36, Vivian Kisliak, 7, and Amilia Kisliak, 4, were found dead in their home Nov. 30.
Authorities have said Andrei Kisliak, 39, stabbed his wife and girls and also murdered Lilia Kisliak, his 67-year-old mother, before taking his own life.
The killings occurred in the midst of a contentious divorce. The bodies were discovered one day after a court hearing in the matter.
For Friday’s service, poster-sized photographs of Vera Kisliak and her daughters were displayed in a large community room. Some mourners laid bouquets of flowers and stuffed animals in front of the pictures.
The service began with a prayer and other remarks from the Rev. Leonty Naidzions of the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Des Plaines.
“When you hear such horrific, terrible things happening, everyone asks why,” Naidzions said. But neither the Bible nor religious leaders have the answer, he said.
The world is evil, Naidzions went on to say, and people need to protect and be merciful to each other.
A neighbor named Natasha was the first friend to speak about Vera Kisliak and her daughters. She recalled how the girls loved playing dress-up, just as Vera enjoyed dressing fashionably.
“They were fashionistas, with the cutest outfits,” said Natasha, who didn’t give her last name.
Natasha and other women who spoke talked about how their daughters played together at a local park. Stories of games of tag and other outdoor activities were shared.
Vivian was outgoing, speakers recalled, while younger sister Amilia was shy. Both girls were sweet and had beautiful smiles.
Nikki Yario, Vivian’s teacher at Ivy Hall Elementary School, spoke of the kind, loving and energetic student who had been in her second-grade class. She thanked Vivian for reminding her that life is full of color and sparkles.
But not all the speakers were so cheerful. Several spoke of the family’s personal problems, the terror of domestic abuse and the need for community leaders to better address mental illness.
One friend, Richard, spoke of the hopelessness and loneliness Vera Kisliak felt.
“I’m desperately sorry that I failed (to help her),” he said.