Sometimes things happen in our lives that we simply have no words for. Granted, very few of those things have happened in my life, as I always seem to have words, but there are those rare occasions..... This week I was hit with one.
Since Tuesday, one thought, one face, one person, has stayed very close to my heart and my mind. Laura! The thoughts have been there, but no words. I have sat back and watched the world change overnight from a world with Laura in it, to a world where we will only see her face and hear her voice in the memories that linger behind her. I was almost to the point where I didn't think there would ever be words to describe this unbelievable force of nature who could make you laugh and yes....even cry at her will, until I was driving home this morning from buying a sky blue shirt in which to wear to her final good bye. Then the words hit me....and here I sit.
Laura truly was a force of nature and I have known her for the better part of 40 years. She and I had a love/hate relationship growing up. She loved to tease me, scare me and embarrass me....and I hated not knowing what she would do to me each time I walked into that house on Greenwich. In retrospect, Laura would never have frozen "my" underwear at a sleepover or made me help her push a car with a dead battery down a dirt road or embarrass me in Foods class every chance she got, if in fact, she didn't at least like me a little. At least this is what I tell myself. Yes, I am laughing.
In later years though, Laura turned into quite a woman. She was a single mother with two beautiful daughters and two beautiful grand kids. I watched as Laura's rough edges smoothed out and I was able to glimpse what hid beneath the surface. Laura had a heart that was pure and kind and truly good.
When David had surgeries and I did cheesecake benefits, Laura was always one of the first to order and she encouraged others to do it too. When David was in the hospital or whenever I would ask for prayers, she would often send me texts of encouragement and she even stopped by to check on us a couple of times when she still lived close. There was no pretext or ulterior motive, it was just Laura's heart shining through.
Laura lost her mom a few years back and while being a blow to her entire family (she was one of 12), I always thought that she in some ways, took it the hardest. There had always been a bond there and that loss seemed to penetrate her very being. Rather than let it destroy her though, she seemed to strive to be even better, moving in and taking care of her dad and working at being the best mother and grandmother she could be. I know her mom was proud.
In recent years, Laura seemed to have found herself and her life was a joy to watch unfold on facebook. That is where I now saw Laura as she had moved to AR and had a good job, a special guy and the devotion of her kids and grand kids. It truly was wonderful watching Laura bravely face life head on and become this really good person.
When I got the call on Tuesday, it was a gut shot. I had just the day before been looking at Laura's facebook Christmas pictures and thinking how wonderful it was that she was going into the new year so happy. There were tears. Unexpected tears and yes, I was a bit embarrassed. I knew if Laura were looking down that she would not like what she saw. Laura was not about the tears.
The last time I saw Laura was in my driveway. She had picked up cheesecakes. She was on her way to some family function or other and she told me if I could get away that I should stop by. As usual, I could not, but as she was leaving, she hugged me and said "You are the sister I never knew I wanted." We both laughed. It was high praise though coming from Laura. Then she said, "I am proud of all you do for your kids. You are a good mom." It touched me to my heart. I was proud of Laura too, but I am not sure I said it. I wish that I had said it.
So today, we wear sky blue and we honor a free spirit, who lived by no ones rules but her own. She was an oxymoron of tenderness and toughness, who made her mark on this world and is leaving a hole that no one could ever possibly fill. Whether you loved her or hated her, my bet is....you will never forget her. I know I won't! Quite honestly, Laura was the bravest woman I have ever known.