It was never her gentle voice wafting in the breeze that let me know my friend was around. Instead, it was her often-cantankerous bellow, reminding someone in her care of what they ought to be doing, that drew me out of the cabin for a yak.
You had to get up close to notice that the shaking head and snorts of disgust were mock-armor that shielded eyes filled with love and laughter. Laurie was the definition of strength, good character and humanity, which made her easy to talk with.
Walking the worn path wasn’t really her schtick. Although she never married, Laurie added two little ones to her family (the same ages as two of our boys — a fact we are all grateful for). And she did this while holding down a regular out-of-the-house job. Her main passion was her girls. Nobody who spent more than 20 seconds with her could doubt that. Beyond that, she was passionate about music and led the kids choir at camp.
And she loved dance. Just last year she gave me some belly dancing VHS tapes to watch so I could learn to belly dance, too, and the two of us would dance a routine at the next camp talent show. Fortunately for everyone in the camp vicinity, I don’t have a VCR anymore. Whew!
Laurie always talked of Scotland, too. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the strength she had originated in the Highlands. She beat breast cancer a bit ago. She was so proud of that. After we jumped into the icy pond at camp this year, she posed and asked for her pic to be taken, showing that she had beaten cancer.
In early September, I invited her to what has become our annual day at a local beach with some friends, but she didn’t come because she was tired and achy. I missed her that day. She always came covered head to toe, covering herself with a parasol while chasing the shade of a tree. Not a fan of the sun, but she loved the water and seeing her girls with friends and having a good chat.
Little did we know those aches were the beginning of the end. Bone cancer took over her body, but she still fought. Then she found the strength to let go.
Laurie represented so many qualities I admire:
- First and foremost in her life was her faith. There was no question regarding how she felt about God, and I know I will see her again someday.
- She was a dedicated mom who truly loved her girls. When she found out that cancer struck again, she messaged me saying, “This is so unfair: (the girls) shouldn’t have to go through this again.” She didn’t even think of herself on that one. Just the girls.
- Always learning, Laurie had a thirst for knowledge. Even though she was retired, she was talking about returning to school to learn some more.
- Menial tasks were not beneath her. She and her girls kept the women’s restroom and showers at camp very clean. Laurie also did the flower arrangements in church.
- Blunt almost to a fault, Laurie didn’t back away from anything she felt strongly about.
Here is a beautiful quote she put on her wall a bit ago. I encourage you to click on the date link and read it in its entirety:
I have seen the valley beyond the mountains, the quiet land, where water flows clear and light bathes the meadows, where…
RIP, my friend. Until we meet again…