There is a hole in my heart. I’ve lost my life coach, and best friend. Laurie had tremendous common sense and remarkable people radar. Her intuitions were to be trusted in most cases. Laurie’s sage advice was invaluable to me in so many situations.
Laurie was the parent most responsible for our two great kids. She poured her heart and soul into the kids, set their moral compass, and made them into the two kind and wonderful humans they are today.
I realized this week that some people may not know what illness took Laurie from us ahead of her time. Acute Interstitial Pneumonitis is a disease about which little is known. There is no known cause, there is no known cure. It is a generalized inflammation of the lungs. The odds are against victims of this illness and as we painfully learned, in Laurie’s case, the odds won.
Laurie was a great and passionate writer. Her blog, which covered a wide range of topics had several repeating themes including food, fibromyalgia, and family. Despite the impacts of fibro, Laurie had tremendous gusto for life. She was a foodie. We would watch reality food shows after dinner and look at one another saying, I can’t believe I’m hungry again. We would enjoy really good food, whether home cooked or in a restaurant.
Her writings on Fibro helped many a Fibro victim, from around the world, often bringing a smile or two to people whose lives are a daily struggle. Laurie found a balance that let her get through most days without complete exhaustion and without constant pain. Her writing gave her an outlet. Laurie’s blog name, for those who don’t know, was HibernationNow. I would tell her, when I visited the hospital starting in mid-March, “Okay Laurie, you’ve successfully hibernated through this miserable Winter. You can wake up now; it’s time.”
Laurie spent three nights in the hospital when we thought she had the flu that became pneumonia. She was home for 36 hours before I had to take her back because she was clearly not able to be home. That second admission was on Valentine’s Day. Once she was settled into a room, I went across the street to the CVS to buy her a couple things she wanted. It was already 8 or 9 at night. There, by itself, on the Valentine’s Day shelf was a red fox. Laurie loved foxes. I used to tell her stories when she had trouble unwinding from the day. Prominent in those stories was a Fox that we had seen on a drive through New Hampshire early in our marriage. To me, that fox, alone on the shelf, on a Valentine’s Day that was otherwise a complete bust, called Laurie’s name. I bought it for her.
Now this was no ordinary stuffed animal. It was battery operated and wiggled and sang some inane song. Neither of us cared about that. But … the fox was battery operated. Before her illness took a turn for the worse, Laurie was worried the nursing staff wouldn’t give her anxiety meds when she needed them. We wrapped 3 or 4 Xanax in aluminum foil and furtively hid them in the battery pouch of the fox. I knew she never would actually take them, but would rest more comfortably knowing the Xanax was there. At some point, in the last week or two, when Tim and I were at the hospital, one of the nurses told us they had discovered the fox danced, and had turned it on for Laurie. Tim and I exchanged Uh Oh glances, and we looked in the Fox as soon as the nurse left the room, to discover that the staff had found her stash and removed it. No one ever said anything about it to us, nor did we ask.
Laurie and I come from similar family backgrounds. Her mother and my father came from Germany. My mother and her father came from Vienna, Austria. Both families blended and bent words from German, English, Yiddish, and Hebrew, creating our own languages. When we got married, my brother was so amused by our blended and made up words that he wrote the Fessler Friedmann dictionary. As an example, we have the word Tobying. Tobying means to take a taste of someone else’s food before that person gets to taste the food. This word comes from a time an old friend of Laurie’s, Toby, took a fork full of Laurie’s dessert before Laurie could get a bite.
Laurie’s Dad, Fred, was a rich source of made up words that became part of our daily vernacular. Laurie also relished this next story. One hot summer day, when Tim was about 3, when Laurie picked him up from the woman down the street who ran a home pre-school / day care program, Kim told Laurie she was puzzled. Tim had pointed to a shirtless trash collector and said, “Look Kim, he’s nagkepatzel”. Kim had no idea that in Fessler-Friedmann, that meant naked.
When we lived in Mass, there was a cat that would visit our yard and Laurie felt like it was a visit from the cat she briefly had as child, but to which she was allergic. When the cat stopped visiting, Laurie was crushed. Laurie became a dog person late in life. I grew up with dogs in the house. My parents had a dog when Laurie and I first started dating about which Laurie became very fond. I wish I could remember what prompted us to adopt a dog, but once we had our first dog, Laurie would look at me, and say, I can’t believe you never let me have a dog when we first got married.
I keep seeing things, reading about things ….. things I want to remember to tell her when I get home; then I remember she won’t be there. After 27+ years of marriage, through better and worse, I find myself alone.
Laurie, honey, sweetheart. I miss you so much. I love you.