Tuesday, June 5, 2012


A year ago or so, Jeremy and I were invited to a dinner at church, a celebration with all the people who had been praying a novena. We felt a bit out of place, since we hadn't been praying it, but we were assured that they needed more mouths to handle all that food. As we sat there somewhat awkwardly, a family approached to sit with us.

The children were shy, probably also feeling a bit out of place in a room full of adults. The father, Andy, was a quiet, welcoming man with the patience to really listen, rather than talk at people. The mother, a vivacious lady named Laura, was brimming with cheer and a sparkle for life. You couldn't help but be drawn in by her smile and joy for all that surrounded her. She was also wearing a scarf on her head. I never asked if her hair loss was from chemo or a genetic problem; it certainly didn't detract from her beauty in the least. We spent a meal together and learned that they usually attended Mass at a nearby church. As the evening drew to a close, we assured each other that, despite attending different churches usually, we'd be around.

And we have. Over the past year, we've frequently bumped into "that family from St. Joe's". For the longest time, none of us could remember the others' names, but Laura's welcome and joy was not a whit less genuine for not remembering my name. (You'd think we could have pulled it off, our names being similar... oh well.) I'd taken to seeking them out when we attend St. Joe's.  Laura's energy and enthusiasm drew many to her and often there wasn't a break in the conversation for much beyond a brief smile and hello.

Tonight I got an email from our youth minister. Laura died this afternoon. She leaves behind Andy and her two children, Zachary and Sarah, and an entire community touched by her life. More than people, though, she leaves behind a legacy. Joy, welcome, enthusiasm, faith, and a passion for every moment of this life. We are hurting because of our loss. We are stronger for having known her.

May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


  1. Am sorry for this young mother's passing. Our neighbor, age 61, was in remission from cancer; but also passed away early May. He was a good man, husband, father and a huge help to me when weird situations happened here and your uncle was traveling. We must continually strive to make each day count in our lives as these folks did. GBY
    Love, Aunt Monica