The love of my life has gone. Her suffering has ended, but the hole she leaves in my life is so vast and I am so exhausted and in pain that I have been unable to write or be in touch these past few days. People have called and emailed and posted here the kindest of words but I have been too fragile and distraught to respond.
Laura knew on wednesday that she was dying. It felt as if the dying process had started a day or two earlier as she lapsed in and out of an intense sleepiness. She struggled desperately to communicate a last few things to me. But it seemed as if she had moved into another realm. She lost consciousness late morning on Wednesday, shortly after telling me ‘I love you’.
From Wednesday through Thursday I was up for nearly 40 hours straight. Kerry and I sat vigil with her on Thursday night. We took turns holding her hand. Shortly after midnight Kerry fell asleep on the couch. While I gently held Laura, I whispered to her to let herself go and be free. That she didn’t need to stay spiritually on this plane for me. For the next two hours I started to see a steady stream of white light pouring upward out of the top of her head as if her being was streaming upward out of her body.
Perhaps birth and dying are not so very far apart. It seems that death is a process that needs time. I know that if we had lived in Oregon, Laura would have used the Death with Dignity act to end her life on her own terms, even before she was admitted to Memorial Sloan Kettering. It would have curtailed her suffering, especially when the previous doctor couldn’t control her pain and nausea. But with hindsight, I wonder if a sudden death from an overdose might curtail the spiritual transition somehow.
I’ve never seen anyone die before, so I have only what I witnessed. And there was a strange beauty to what I saw. Just before she was pronounced dead, it was as if she was going to wake up and speak, her eyelids fluttered and she said something I couldn’t understand and then her breathing stopped. I woke Kerry when I realized what had just happened and the two of us watched for the next 5 hours as eddies of energy still moved through her body. Even after her heart had stopped it seemed as if her being was still leaving and the pain that she had endured began to seep away. Over the hours her face relaxed into an almost beatific look, like a beautiful marble sculpture with her unmistakable gentle long fingers and strong kindly face.
I went home and wept for hours and every so often Laura appeared. My computer suddenly played one of her favorite Luther Vandross songs ‘If this world were mine’ and on my cellphone I found a sweet new message from Laura saying ‘I miss you’. Wherever you are Laura, I miss you too.
13 Comments Add yours
Oh Lucie, and Kerry too — My heart is breaking. I’ve just spent the past several hours reading this blog and every reply from the beginning and there were so many times that tears welled up and spilled, and so many moments of hope and joy and inspiration. Including this report of Laura’s actual moments/hours of passing — so beautiful, poignant, purposeful. Thank you for the incredible gift of sharing that you have and continue to provide for so many people who loved Laura.
Lucie – we only met once, at Liz & Rebecca’s wedding. I’ve heard little fragments of the story of Laura’s illness from Marian and Liz over the past few weeks. My partner, BarbaraRose, and I spent time reminiscing recently our memories of delight with Laura and were meaning to write them on this blog — it’s a big regret that I didn’t get around to writing while she could still read/hear them.
She was the stalwart gatherer of folks for our regular Saturday lunches at Souen for so many years. One time in our car on the way there we passed a corporate promotion that was handing out free pom-poms and got a few. Laura standing up tall out the sun-roof of the car waving the pom-poms and whistling cat-calls at construction-worker men as a reverse goof on the way men objectify women — this was one of our vivid memories of her oh so vibrant life-spirit. Makes me smile and cry even as I write this.
Don’t know what else to say. Here is a prayer from our tradition:
May the Air carry her spirit gently
May the Fire transform her soul
May the Water wash her free of all pain and suffering
May the Earth receive her body
May the Air remind you always of her wit and her wisdoms
May the Fire hold your love and passion in your soul
May the Water of your tears be full, and salty, and healing
May the Earth sustain your body to be healthy and vibrant and alive
May the Spirit remind us all to return: Return to Center; Return to Balance; Return to the Cycles of Life, Again, and Again, and Again.
Oh, Lucie, my heart literally breaks for you. I have no words other than to say that I am sending you comforting thoughts and enormous amounts of love your way. I look forward to giving you the biggest hug imaginable! Lots of love to you! I’ll see you soon!
A very moving record of Laura’s passing. Steve xxxx
Very powerful and moving. Thank you Lucy. Much love….
Dearest Lucie, yes I agree with you. This is what the dying process is like. It does take time. And I would agree with you about the pros and cons of having to experience it, as the person who is dying.
I really cannot fathom your loss right now. Having given every moment of your life in the interest of saving Laura, only to have her vanish. Please take every moment for yourself, to recoup, knowing we will all be there for you to support you, grieve with you, and help you recover. You and Laura both are in all of our thoughts. You are the one Laura loved the most. Please take care of yourself! Much love
For Lucie, Laura’s love of her life…
The comfort of friends,
The softness of their words,
Their gentle embrace
to soothe your aching heart.
Of those who know your pain,
To those who yet do not…
For you, Lucie,
there is perhaps
a glimmer of hope –
Even a sliver of light.
No, not yet now,
Not in the darkness of this night.
But soon, across
that mysterious dividing line
You will find it…
In a tincture of time.
Lucie This blog has united so many of your friends together who will probably never meet in person, but who have shared an experience that has touched us all in so many ways. The blog has created a family centered around love, hope and now acceptance and sadness. We are united as we grieve the loss of Laura’s physical presence. But…my prayer is that we all stay united in our happy memories of Laura and know that her spiritual presence will continue to live within us.
Marion and Sharon
Lucie-we don’t know you other than from this blog and from this we know you are lovely. Laura’s special light is also your light–you shared that. You were blessed.
Leslie and Beth
Dear Lucie, We have never met but the things Laura and Kerry have said about you and through your posts I can clearly see your beautiful tender heart. The loved ones left behind also go through a spiritual transformation when someone dies. May you continue to grow in love and light through your life.
thank you lucie. You are such a beautiful writer. you have continued to channel laura to us through these words. I know it is your writing that will give you strength
So glad you received some signs (Vandross song and a new phone message). You may find numerous signs along the way. I hope this will bring comfort, make you laugh, and remind you that Laura not only was but still is.
Lucie, my heart is with you at all times. Thank you for posting this and sharing her transition with us. Your beautiful writing takes us right there with you. I have been reading about what you described but hearing it directly from you is so encouraging and confirms that the soul only transcends.
This is so beautiful with the Luther Vandross song and the text message. Wow!!
May Laura and her angels continue to walk with you, hold you and stay with you.
Thank you for allowing me/us to peer through the window into your most intimate of moments.
Laura has impacted so many of our lives in such a special way.
I was speaking to a group this evening at Joe, as I took a moment on my way home to decompress. This was a familiar setting in which Laura might appear.
As I spoke of her, a familiar face chimed in, removed his hat, and became tearful in hearing the dialogue with my coffee peers. I do not know this persons name, but he spoke highly of Her as he processed the news. Respectfully, stopping everything he was doing to share his experience of Laura.
This I share with you because it touches me knowing I’ve had the good fortune to have known such a lovely person.