Laura, The Teacher

One, of what I suspect might become many tributes to my dear Laura, who passed on this July 31, 2002, after we shared fifteen wonderful years together.

August 3, 2002

Julia and I sat last night on our old lumpy sofa (Laura had always wanted to dump it), discussing memories, sharing tears, sharing joy. One thing Julia mentioned was how Laura was a TEACHER. She brought us to both physical and mental places we might never have reached on our own. From my previous entry, which spoke of really learning one's beauty, to learning to speak out when necessary, to freeing our minds from gullibility, she was always testing our minds to their limit.

Even so, she was a teacher when it came to her death, as well. Laura had prepared Julia and I as thoroughly as any human could. You see, way back fifteen years ago, when Laura and I first got together, Laura brought up the subject of her possible imminent death. She'd already had a heart attack or two, and the quadruple bypass surgery. She felt it her duty to prepare me for the realities of her health condition.

However, back then, just the very thought of it made me bawl like a baby. At various intervals, she'd bring it up again, and I'd cry. She knew what she was doing. At first, I thought she was cruel, to make me cry like that. But now, it is as though she cried many of the tears with me. And so now, there is not the nearly unbearable crushing heartache that there could have been.

This capacity of Laura as teacher has been noticed by our friends as well. From more impersonal ventures, such as the very educational items she placed within her web pages, to one on one contacts, she was always seeking to impart what she'd learned in her sixty three years of life.

One of our friends here in Yuma was inspired to write a delightful poem addressing this unique facet of Laura's:

Look, as she sits over there
Flowing and glowing upon her chair
Gracing our presence so we may hear
Of life, and love, and metaphysical jeers

So I sit here, smile and begin to ponder
If she even notices everyone looking at her in wonder  
Does she know that we come and hope to see her
To listen and learn, then to leave more than we were

Her eyes catch mine, then I begin to see
The reason she is here - is for you and for me
Because after all is said and is done
Her knowledge is a gift, for us, each one


And so, her knowledge has indeed been a gift I feel privileged to have had these wonderful fifteen years. And yes, Laura had a way of 'flowing and glowing'. Her smiles were so incandescent, they lit up the area around her like a wide beacon.

BEACON! That word calls to memory an old poem I'd written, long before I'd met Laura, and I'd like to share that now.


Your face,

Beautiful by reason of honesty:

Your eyes,

       bravely, gently, piercing;

Thy powerful interior light

pierces the darkness  


I find my way to you.


(aka J.C.) Journeys,1978-1984

How could I have described so well she who I hadn't even met yet? So predestined it was, my heart knew her essence was out there, waiting for me. And it was just that way, her light pierced the dark places of my soul, and I was never the same again.

© Joan Ann Lansberry
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