Lauren

It’s impossible to reconcile the death of a child. It’s equally challenging not to sound trite when you say to her mother, who’s been cut to the quick, “I’m sorry for your loss.” The loss is unimaginable.

Lauren died from pulmonary edema just a few weeks shy of her 19th birthday. We’re all in shock.

We’ve known Lauren’s family for a decade. She attended our Halloween parties, hung out with my son at the park, and was an occasional passenger in the back seat of my van. No single event stands out as extraordinary, but instead a collection of ordinary memories that can be stored and retrieved and enjoyed.

Of course, I assumed there would be many more ordinary days because that’s the natural order of things.

Lauren had an easy-going nature and a lovely smile. I remember greeting her near the bus when they returned from 5th-grade science camp and I remember the day they all graduated from high school. She was a good friend to my son and a joy to have in our home. I can’t believe she’s gone.

My heart goes out to all who loved her, especially Kimmy, Amy, and Bill. xo

38 thoughts on “Lauren

  1. Oh Alys…..I know about this loss….too many of Robert’s friends have died and the enormous sadness is so hard to cope with. I’m so sorry that this has happened.

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    • I’m sorry to hear, Mary Elizabeth. It’s a unique burden knowing that young people with profound disabilities will die young. It is hard to cope, yet you live life in a way that all can admire. My heart goes out to you.

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  2. I’m sorry to read bout this and a life cut short. It can be shocking and dark and heavy as well. Sending a virtual hug () and hoping parentheses don’t turn into something I don’t mean…

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    • Your virtual hug came through, Lisa. Thank you. We attended Lauren’s memorial service two Saturdays ago. It was as painful as I knew it would be. There was such an outpouring of support for her family, even though we are all at a loss for words.

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    • Thank you, Eliza. They reorganized the holiday so they didn’t have to be home without Lauren. I remember my mom doing something similar when my dad died (I was 9). You try to avoid the traditions because they are far too painful without that loved one. It’s hard to imagine such a devastating loss.

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  3. I was sad to hear this news. There are no words to comfort a parent when they lose their child. Arms around you and your family and friends that knew and loved Lauren. ‘The gifts we leave are the ones we are lucky enough to receive’ From a song I once knew, it just resonated with me thinking about friendship and love. I’m sure she felt your love and caring Alys and her gifts are these happy moments, memories, now that she’s gone. xo K

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  4. The shocking loss of a young person is a harsh event for everyone who who knew that person. Your Lauren is commemorated in all those ordinary moments that have now become extraordinary and so precious. The thought that stays with me is that no parent should ever have to bury their child, it is a loss that is too painful for the rest of us to come near to understanding. Your child too feels the loss deeply and as a mother that is a hard thing to witness and walk alongside. My thoughts have been much with you all these past days and I send you all much love.

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    • Pauline, your words capture all that is true. It’s the most unimaginable loss any parent can face. My grief is not only with the loss of this vibrant young woman, but what her parents must face for the rest of their days. Mike and I held hands and cried through most of the service as her father spoke. His first words: We’re going to try to get through this. He was speaking of the service, but of course of all the days that follow. xo

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  5. I watched a mother’s hair go white almost overnight at the loss of her eight years old. I was 12. No matter what age, the loss is traumatic and can’t be minimized. I am so sad for the family and for you. My heart goes out to all.

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  6. Oh, how sad Alys. This must be so hard for her family, losing her at such a young age. And hard for all friends and neighbours to grasp too. My thoughts are with you all.

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  7. I cannot imagine the shock and grief that everyone must be living now… I can only hope that her family and those whose lives she touched feel embraced by the the love they have for her and the love she had for them. My heart goes out to you all, and may you all find comfort in the memories you shared. xx

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    • Thank you, S. I’m grateful for the memories we have and for all the fun photos over the years. Each one seems precious and poignant now. I put them together in a small album for her family, but I asked first. I didn’t want to overwhelm them with my own grief and loss. I cried during most of the service but eventually found my composure. Then I turned around to speak to a former classmate of Lauren’s and my youngest son, and I lost it all over again. They are all so young and at the start of their lives.

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  8. My first thought is that words have to be used, because it’s all we’ve got, but boy! They are inadequate!! So sorry to hear of this tragic loss, Alys. Absolutely painful! I do believe that friendships are a touchstone in times of tragedy, and I’m confident your love is a gift to Lauren’s family.

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    • Thank you, Debra. One thing I’ve learned with experience is to keep reaching out. People often say things like “I didn’t want to make them cry” or “I didn’t know what to say so I didn’t say anything.” It’s important to share our grief and to cry and feel. It’s messy and hard, but the alternative is far worse: avoiding and ignoring the painful reality. I know you’ve had a fairly recent loss as well. My heart is with you.

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