A Sorrowful Week and A Sincere Thank You

We sincerely thank you for your compassion during this very sorrowful week. Thank you for your hugs (virtual ones included) and for sharing words about Lauren that we will forever cherish. Thank you for your cards and emails and messages and for wearing purple on Thursday in Lauren’s memory. We are grateful for each and every one of you.

It’s impossible to communicate what we experienced in Connecticut this week. The teary greetings at our aunt’s house where the kitchen table was covered in whole hams and casseroles, and the living room was full of fruit baskets and flowers. Where the phone rang every 10 minutes with another reporter requesting to speak to her. Where Lauren’s Halloween hat still hangs from the coat rack and the note to her mother remains on the countertop: “Good morning. Fresh coffee. {smiley face}.” Where framed photographs of Lauren and her brothers sit atop every surface, and the cupcakes she baked on her last night sit on the dining room table. Where her Christmas gifts are wrapped and stacked neatly in her bedroom. At times, it was just too much. And so we retreated to the back porch to take deep breaths of the cold December air.


We visited the Starbucks where Lauren worked for over four years. Inside were dozens of vases of flowers and a poster with messages to Lauren from her colleagues and her customers. In fact, we were able to meet a few of her customers. One woman said Lauren always asked about her daughter by name and wanted to know what book she was reading. And a gentleman, a retired schoolteacher, said it was obvious how much Lauren loved her kids.


The following day we went to Newtown. Our caravan of cars was escorted by a state trooper to within a block of where the tragedy occurred. The firehouse where the survivors congregated has become a memorial to the victims. It is closed to all media, and so it is a sight that you have not seen on television or in newspapers. And it is unreal. There are 26 Christmas trees, each with a beautiful angel on top. They are decorated with handmade ornaments, and gifts and candles are arranged underneath. We gathered around Lauren’s tree and held hands and prayed. And then we sang “Jingle Bells” because her boyfriend, Tony, believed she would like it.




From there we drove down the street to the town square where crowds of people have paid their respect. Where flowers, stuffed animals, and notes are stacked as high as four feet in some spots. Where live, mellow music wafted from a house lit up with the words: “Faith. Hope. Love.”


Lauren’s funeral service was on Thursday morning, and at least 1,000 people walked through the doors of the church to express their condolences. Many wore purple, Lauren’s favorite color. The governor was there, along with a group of teachers from Sandy Hook who had seven other funerals to attend that day.

Lauren’s friends spoke very beautiful words about her — about her thoughtfulness and selflessness, about how she remembered both big and little details about others, about her angelic nature, and about how we know she held the hands of those little children and ushered them into heaven.


Following the service, we gathered at the historic Fox Hill, where Lauren was part of the catering staff for many years. Again, every person we encountered was nothing but generous with their kind words about our cousin.

And when we said goodbye to family, the hugs felt a bit tighter and lasted a bit longer.


Now we are home, and we are still trying to process our emotions. And while we don’t feel like baking cookies or wrapping gifts or singing Christmas carols, we know Lauren would want us to find joy in these moments and to hold our family extra tight this holiday season.


She would want you to embrace your loved ones. To find 15 minutes in your busy day to call a friend. To send a card to someone on Halloween or just because. To thank your barista for knowing your name and remembering your order. To hug a teacher and express your gratitude for educating and nurturing and protecting our children. To smother your kids with kisses. And to be a persuasive voice for peace on Earth.


2 thoughts on “A Sorrowful Week and A Sincere Thank You

  1. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. I know personally how hard it is to lose someone around the holidays. I am sure Lauren is looking down on you all with nothing but love in her heart for everyone.

  2. Oh, I’ve been thinking about you guys all week. Lauren seemed like an absolute gem – its so clear that she made a lovely impression on everyone she encountered. Sending you all so much love. XO

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *