There is a group of women who cannot be here today (Laurie’s memorial service), but who instead are holding vigil for Laurie, each in their own home. We’ve known Laurie for years, as a caring and compassionate friend and a loving sister, and Laurie’s loss has reverberated through our group like a tidal wave.
We all came to know Laurie because we, too, struggle with chronic illness, even as she struggled with her own illness. She was a truly exceptional person, and we loved her so much – and still do.
Those of us who live, day after day, for years, with a chronic illness, form deep ties with others who also struggle with the same “chronic agony.”
We are each other’s lifelines, via email, messaging, and phone, helping to keep each other going when our worlds have been turned upside down. Those who haven’t lived with these illnesses simply can’t understand the emotional, mental, and physical toll it takes.
So we become very close, and share things between each other that our healthy family and friends can’t understand, or that we don’t want to burden them with. We become a second family, a “chosen family,” and as the years unwind, we share our lives with each other, both the good times and the bad.
Laurie was such an important part of each of our lives, so exceptionally compassionate, always ready to put her own problems aside in order to help another, or to offer a shoulder to lean on, or occasionally to cry on.
She encouraged us – and occasionally nagged us – to keep fighting onward, during the many ups and downs of our lives, and helped each of us weather many crises, whether of a personal or medical nature.
Laurie was also a gifted writer, often surprising us with blog posts that were personal and deeply moving, or fantastic stories to lift our spirits.
As Laurie shared in our lives, we shared in hers, and stood in witness to this:
Tim and Jillian, know that your mother was fiercely proud of you and all your accomplishments, with good reason, and scarcely a day went by without her expressing it!
Laurie’s love for her children and family shone like a bright beacon in the night, impossible to ignore. Laurie believed, and often said, “Love never dies.”
Dan, Tim, and Jillian: Laurie loves you all still, and will always be with you. Never doubt that!
Goodbyes are not forever, Laurie,
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean we’ll miss you,
Until we meet again.
Our thoughts, prayers and Love are with you all.
Your Other Family and Friends:
Ash, Rosa Michelle, Selena, Donna, Jolene, Maureen, Rosemary, Sylvia, Rhiannon, Shelby, and the members of “Graceful Agony.”