Monday, March 7, 2011

Proud To Have Been Her Friend...

Last week brought news that I have been dreading...the passing of my dear friend, Laurie.  She was diagnosed with cancer in early January and now, early March, she is gone. 
Laurie with her daughter's Meg and Dawn (on the left)
and her daughters-in law Seirra and Shannon (on the right)

I have never had a friend like Laurie.  Our friendship began with her coming to my rescue.  Back in June 1999 Tim was called to be the bishop of our ward and at the time I was expecting baby #6.  Abigail was totally attached to Tim and was perfectly content to be held by him each Sunday.  His call to be bishop meant that he would be sitting up on the stand and she would be with me sitting in the congregation and most Sundays that did not make her happy.  Jacob was 5 and more than a handful -- some things never change! :) So between Abigail and Jacob and my Sunday morning refereeing gig with young Tim, Andrew and Jordan, I needed rescuing. And rescue she did.  

It began with her asking if Jacob could sit with her just across the aisle from where I sat each week. Jacob was game for anything so there was no protest from him.  Once Annah arrived Laurie would offer to do whatever needed to be done whether it was to hold Annah so I could take an unhappy Abigail out of the meeting or if there was more trouble brewing she would sit with the kids while I took the uncooperative one or two out.  She was there to do whatever she was needed to do. 

Eventually Abigail became brave enough to cross the aisle and join Jacob with Laurie and her family where they would entertain the kids with quiet books and fascinating things that only other people could provide.  In time even shy Annah would have the right of passage and cross the aisle too. 

Somewhere amid her Sunday morning rescuing we became friends. I loved her for her giving heart and her wonderful ability to meet you where you were and love you in spite of yourself. I loved the way she always helped me to see beyond at the bigger picture.  I loved when she shared what she learned and her insight.  I cherish the times we went to the temple together.  I loved that she was my visiting teacher.  I loved that she knew all about me and loved me still the same.  Nothing I could tell her would make her think differently of me.  I am so thankful I had the opportunity to know her and to love her.  I am a better person for having done so.  

Today was Laurie's funeral.  It was a hard day but a good day.  A hard day because of the emotions that were unveiled by all who knew and loved her but a good day because she is not suffering any more.  And it was a good day for  all those that loved her to come together to celebrate her life. 

In the last weeks of her life Laurie said that there was nothing more that she could have wished for in her life.  She was satisfied with the full life she had lived.  I can attest to that fact.  The impact she had on so many lives can not be defined.  The love that she offered cannot be measured.  

I am not sad for Laurie, for I know where she now calls home and she is free from the earthly pain that she felt.  But I am sad for myself that I no longer have her here with me.  It is a selfish thing, I know.  I want her here.  I want to feel her arms around me and her voice declaring that she loves me and my voice declaring that I love her right back.

I will miss her but I look forward to seeing my friend again.  I know I will.  I know in whom I trust.  And I know in whom Laurie trusted and they are one in the same.  

"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust." Psalms 91:2

Laurie, Dawn and Meg

Till we meet again my sweet friend.  Thank you for sharing your life and your love.  I love you beyond words.


Patty said...

Sorry for the loss of your friend. What a lovely tribute. It is great to know the Gospel is true!

Dotti said...

What a wonderful tribute to your friend, I cried for your loss, but rejoice for her freedom.

Natalie.Rob.Branson said...

I had no idea she was facing this battle. I am saddened at her loss and pray that peace and comfort surround her family. Wish we were there to "show" our support.

ionamin-W8FW8 said...

It's hard to lose a dear friend. Sorry, Loretta. But what a beautiful "visiting teaching" story. What a beautiful tribute you wrote to her.

Marissa said...

It was a wonderful funeral. And I loved her too. I think everyone did. This was beautiful- good friends like that only come around every once in a while and they are forever cherished.

Don and Robin Cooper said...

She was a special lady for sure...she was lucky to have you as a friend as well. Hugs...

Sierra said...

Loretta - You were such a good friend to her. She was glad to have you there to help bear this burden. You made her laugh right until the end and for that we are all so grateful. I love you.