Memphis Has Lost A Shining Star

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.Lauren
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.

37 comments for “Memphis Has Lost A Shining Star

  1. January 6, 2010 at 7:02 am

    so very sorry to read of the tragic loss of such a lovely woman. condolences to her friends and family…

  2. January 6, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Sorry to hear this very sad news, but that was a very nice post about Lauren, Trace. Steve is fortunate to have such a caring friend.

  3. January 6, 2010 at 7:13 am

    This is a beautiful tribute, Trace. Steve has my deepest sympathies. Lauren sounds like she was a wonderful person.

  4. January 6, 2010 at 7:15 am

    A life well lived, it appears. My heart goes out to Steve, and her friends and family. This was a nice remembrance that you wrote, Coma. You are a good friend.

  5. M. Neal
    January 6, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Your love for Lauren and Steve shows in your writing. Thank you. We met Steve just this last summer. I wish we could have met Lauren. She so much sounds like a shining star. Our hearts go out to Steve for his loss. Michele & Randy.

  6. January 6, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I don’t know any of you but read you all faithfully, and I’m so sad to hear of this loss. My heart goes out to her beloved, her family and friends.

  7. January 6, 2010 at 8:30 am

    That is sad news. My heart goes out to Steve.

  8. Leigh
    January 6, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Trace, thank you for this. As a long time friend of Lauren’s, I got to take her for granted. Only in the past year have I had more time to see her and it was usually at those fabulous, effortless-looking get-togethers. She was an organizational whiz…those lists. I fully expected to continue to see her for years to come. I am so grateful now that I got to see her and tell her I loved her this past Wednesday. I am sad for myself but devastated for Steve and her family.

  9. Gilgamark
    January 6, 2010 at 9:04 am

    So sorry. Thoughts and prayers are with Steve and all of Lauren’s friends and family.

  10. January 6, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Beautiful tribute about a beautiful life. My deepest sympathy is extended to Steve, their families, and all of their friends.

  11. January 6, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Continued prayers for comfort and peace for those she leaves behind.

  12. Vvixen
    January 6, 2010 at 10:15 am

    So sorry that Lauren could not be saved. My heart goes out to Steve. But it is very consoling to know that Lauren’s organs will go to save other lives and save their loved ones from the heartbreak Steve is going through. Rest in peace, Lauren.

  13. January 6, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Oh, I am so sorry to hear the news. My thoughts and prayers for her and her family and friends.

  14. dwayne
    January 6, 2010 at 10:29 am

    I have known Steve for a long time. In fact, he acknowledges me as the one who gave him his political start. I have known Lauren a long time as well. Although I was not in their direct social circle, I have always enjoyed seeing both of them from time to time. I will always remember the holiday party last month when I got a chance to talk to Lauren for a while and I could see how happy she was. Although her passing is sad, she left us as a happy woman.

    All of their friends should help Steve as best they can.

  15. January 6, 2010 at 10:30 am

    “What do I do now?” :(

  16. Terry Quillen
    January 6, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Prayers of comfort and courage for Steve Steffens, a warrior in the Good Fight. Your description of Lauren’s place in your life reminds me of the dear place you occupy in mine and Olivia’s. Thank you, my friend…janeqpublic’s mom

  17. Tabitha
    January 6, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Seems like the good ones always leave us early.

  18. January 6, 2010 at 11:37 am

    what a marvelous tribute to Lauren and to Steve. even though i know words are hard comfort in tough times, you sure put together some fine words and thoughts here. My condolences to Steve and to Lauren’s family.

  19. stacymac
    January 6, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    It took me four times to get through this post without crying… Still leaking as I’m typing! What an awesome tribute Trace!! Pelting that poor child with marshmallows won’t be the same!! :) Hopefully Lauren will bump into my grandmother….. They’ll have one hell of a time!

  20. January 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Beautiful tribute, Trace.
    I think Steve knows this, but please let him know someone just has to pick up the phone and I’ll be there….but it sounds like you have it covered. Thank you for taking care of him when he needs it the most.

  21. Tim Curry
    January 6, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Lauren’s “KUT” (Kindly Uncle Tim) weighing in here. Thanks, Trace, for being there and for this loving tribute to my niece and her significant other of 20 years, Steve. I will be doing the eulogy at her service and would like to hear any stories about Lauren you might have.

  22. Mickey Keep
    January 6, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Dearest Steve: I am so sorry. Just want you to know that I too am in shock and care deeply about your loss.. yours, Mickey

  23. Alice Hill
    January 6, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I worked w/Lauren for the past year & a half. She was such a wonderful and kind person. There is a hole in our office now without our shining star. She will be missed & we will be here for Steve to help make the days easier!

  24. January 6, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Kindly Uncle Tim

    I wish I could hug every single one of ya. I am so sorry for your loss. Lauren seems like she’d be a person of great strength. must have got it from the family.

    Best regards,

  25. Memphispi
    January 6, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I only knew Lauren for a short time as well. I wish now it had been longer. But what captured my attention is that when I would see Lauren and Steve together they would communicate their love just through their everyday movements. They were as we say the perfect match.

  26. January 6, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    What a beautiful tribute, Trace. Having had the pleasure of meeting Steve, I am now so sad that I had not met Lauren as well and now never will. What a lovely person and what a tragedy to lose anyone so young.

    Steve, my thoughts and prayers are with you and Lauren’s family, I am sorry so for your loss.

    And yours as well, Trace, you and Steph in my thoughts as well. I know this is a terrible loss for you as well.

    Much love and many hugs to all of you.

  27. Meg
    January 6, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Im too sad to really say much. It’s just unbelievable. I don’t know what to do for poor Steve. There really isn’t anything anyone can do I guess besides be good friends.

    I regret missing the marshmallow fight this year more than ever.

    This is a great writing. Thank you.

  28. Linda Duval
    January 8, 2010 at 12:38 am

    We heard the news of Lauren first time today here in Arizona. Such a sad time. I met Steve for the first time at the birthday party Lauren hosted for her grandfather (my uncle). It was a great party.

    During good times and bad I usually turn to the internet. I did a google search on Lauren’s name and found this wonderful site. What a beautiful tribute. I’ve sent this link on to other relatives.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all and especially Steve. Take care.

  29. Tim Curry
    January 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Lauren Hesse’s Kindly Uncle Tim here. I can’t begin to express our family’s gratitude to the (literally) hundreds of people who braved the frigid Memphis weather to attend Lauren’s viewing and/or funeral. There is also a core group of you for whom “thank you” isn’t the right term. Thank you is when someone invites you to an event and he/she says, “Thank you for coming.” When the word about Lauren went out last week, dozens of people didn’t wait for an invitation, but spontaneously showed up at the hospital and for the next few days became Lauren’s “Vigilantees.” I am so grateful to meet so many of you and be a part of such of wonderful group. Bless all of you.

  30. Tim Curry
    January 11, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Kindly Uncle Tim again. I forgot to thank Trace Sharp whose eulogy for Lauren spread like wildfire across the blogosphere this past week. Lauren may have been our shining star, but you, Trace, were our beacon. You helped all of us immensely.

  31. Paul Teague
    January 11, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I have to admit, I teared up reading your lovely eulogy of what had to have been an outstanding person. I am new here, and I know I have only responded to 2 of your posts; both today, but you can really feel the passion in your writing. My deepest sympathies to Steve Steffens and Lauren Hesse’s family.

  32. Janet Duval
    January 22, 2010 at 6:58 am

    What a lovely tribute to Lauren and to Steve for his love for her. I was shocked and saddened by the news of Lauren’s passing. She was a kind, caring & compassionate lady.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Steve, John and all of the family members at this sad time.

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