Lauren Hesse was one of those women that was direct, passionate and kind. I liked that she was her own person, that she didn’t need for anyone to tell her who she was. She was a role model for the sheer fact that was just herself. There are lessons there, my friends. She was confident in herself, or at least that is how I saw her. We were in the very beginnings of a fine friendship. I’ve only known her a short time, so me writing this seems disingenuous to a degree. I’ve met so many people that she has touched and they have so much more to say that I can say here.
I’m jealous of them.
There is always too little time.
She was the love of Steve Steffens life. I love him too. Thus this brought us together. Our admiration of a fine man who brought us into the same world over the past few years where we found ourselves sitting over kitchen tables talking of everything and nothing.
She was the kind of woman that made you feel at home. And her home was your home.
You see, Lauren was Lauren. She was passionate about her family and friends. Her furry children that were always about her feet, nuzzling and loving her. The amazing smells that came from her kitchen. The music that played that she loved. The lists she made that were to be followed (which reminds me of Homer in the best of ways.) The ancient, yet comfortable couch that belonged to her grandfather on which I laid and when she fussed, wondering if I was warm enough.
And she loved a man that the blogosphere calls Left Wing Cracker, but those of us who know and adore him call him Steve. We will talk of Steve more later, but this moment, we will talk of the lovely Lauren.
I’m going to be random right now by telling you the things I saw her do in our brief time together. My first thought was the cats and her talking to me that I would make a fine cat owner although I was hesitant. She was their mom and she would caress them with great affection in a way that, even if you didn’t know her, was like second nature. I remember standing in her kitchen this fall as she was conversing with Stephanie and I and her hand languidly ran through the smaller kittens fur.
That sticks with me today. I saw that as lovely and kind for some reason.
She would banter good-naturedly with her love of 20 years. So much affection that was so natural and organic. Love should be that way.
Her eyes lit up talking of Celtic music. It was a joyful thing to see of her speak of the music and the people behind it. We talked in November of setting her up a blog for it. She had one, but we talked of WordPress and blogging and communicating.
And let me tell you of her prowess for throwing the best parties in Memphis. When Ann turned 50, she dyed dozens of hats red and gave her a party worth remembering. I looked at the photos yesterday and as her pal laughed and cried at the same time, I realized that Lauren had given Ann a special memory.
These things, campers, are more priceless than gold.
Love is a funny thing. And we love. Thus, when it’s gone, we remember red hats and weenie roasts and throwing marshmellows … those were the parties that Lauren gave. It was, and I will say the word passion again, her passion to bring her people together. And she was damned good at it.
She loved Steve. He would talk politics or music or his love of sports (and especially his love of Memphis) and she would look at him patiently with so much … love. Have I mentioned love this post?
The heart … which was so full of life would not be strong enough to make it through this year. Her heart … so full of so much love.
And these are the words that I hate to write.
On Saturday, doing what anyone does on any average day, Lauren’s heart decided it was too full. The ambulance took her to Saint Francis after the coronary where her beloved and her family would stand vigil waiting for her to come back. Doctors and nurses worked diligently as the ICU unit filled with dozens of people that loved her. That needed her. Her mother was amazing as she and Steve would go back when it was time to see her.
And all of us, those who knew her for years and those, like me, who wish they had, waited for good news. We hoped. Dammit, we hoped that there would be good news.
The news would not come. Nor will it ever.
Steve loved her. I have not seen such devotion and pure grief in a long time. Not since my mother died and my father said these words to me, “What do I do now?” I didn’t know what to say then, and I do not now.
I have thought of this since Steph and I got to the hospital on Sunday. I mentioned this to Ross and a couple of other people because it is on my mind. As we blog, we know so little about the authors behind those blogs. Then you get to know them and you find such hidden treasures. With that treasure, there are other gifts.
Steve was our hidden treasure.
Lauren was our gift.
Arrangements have not been made and organ transplant doctors will work with her this morning before she leaves us, but she is already gone. She will help others one more time.
Memphis, you have lost a bright star in your sky.
Steve, I give you love and I’ll see you today as soon as I can get back.
You are not alone.