This is the Eulogy that Maybette, Laraine's oldest
Good Morning! It's a difficult time for us but a time for celebration of Laraine's life. I want to share with you the fun and joy of Laraine's teen years as we have been friends for the past 46 years!
We literally were blood sisters made on Kimball Terrace in Yonkers, NY where we lived and shared our blood by cutting our fingers at the ripe age of 11 and 12…never guess who's idea this was???
Laraine was always my friend, walking to her own beat .In high school Laraine would dissect cats in her basement and I would sit on the front steps reading and thinking about boys. We attended an all girl's high school in the Bronx. Angels by day, helions by nights and weekends. Yes she did think about boys too... she was smart and pretty and had many boyfriends. We shared many girlfriends growing up and even boyfriends. Laraine was kind… she passed them on to me!!! That's a good friend!!
We did a lot of crazy things… Laraine always experimenting and me gladly joining in…early on we made corn cob pipes using hay to smoke them but accidentally setting the fields of grass behind her house on fire…it was a problem… my father was a fireman!! We spent summers at Jones Beach, Point Lookout with Madame Jane!! Yes Madame Jane, Auntie Mame a NYC dress designer and her next door neighbor. Her parents would take to the beaches making us our favorite roast beef and potato salad sandwiches… we added the sand for favor!! Our fun loving adolescent days were spent going to dances, the pool or beach or just walking around the streets of our neighborhood talking and talking!!! That was Laraine... always analyzing!! We managed a few wild parties and an unforgettable Christmas eve one that Laraine and I always reminisced about… I am sure that Dickie still remembers the trouble that we got in!!!
Laraine loved Bob Dylan and Joan Baez in those days…. Laraine, my husband and I saw Joan in concert a few years ago where age hit us in the face!!! During our college days we stayed in touch over the summers still living only a few houses away. After Hunter College Laraine did research at Rockefeller University and lived in NYC. She was the 1st to have a waterbed!!!
Years past, she was a city girl and I a Connecticut wife… always in distant contact. One day she called and said MAY!! she was the only one who could get away with calling me that… I'm going to med school ..I'll call you when I am a doctor…Years past... no words!!! until 1982 a week before my second marriage... she called... I'm a doctor now and I'm moving to CT. We'll be in the same state... can't come to the wedding but I'm staying with you… Laraine arrived at our house but we were on our honeymoon. A new era for Dr. Laraine.
Larine was a beautiful striking woman. I liked most of her boyfriends almost acting like her mother. It took several times to realize the marriage hex. Every time I told Laraine that the guy was fabulous, possible great husband, when's the wedding or my backyard would be great for the wedding….the boyfriend was gone within 60 days….When we met Ed I vowed never to ask those questions… we liked Ed…I knew the curse, Ed!!!!!
Laraine was pensive, introspective and a deep person. When we recently met for dinner she was talking about her life changes and the excitement of her bike trip. We shared old times and talked about new times to come. Her spirit will always be with me.
This is the Eulogy read at the funeral mass by Ed.
In 1992 I met my soul mate, Laraine entered my life... our connection was immediate, it was mutual love at first site. We shared many common interests & explored them together... photography, nature, hiking, biking, art, music, cooking, long walks on the beach... all these activities & many more were brought to a new level of enjoyment & fulfillment with Laraine & Eddie side by side.
When all the world was crazy & confusing, Laraine was my calm & security.
One of Laraine's favorite places was New Mexico, the land of enchantment. This was a very spiritual & magical place for Laraine. we loved exploring & discovering its beauty. She told me she dreamed of souring over its landscape like a bird. Laraine also loved the ocean. She loved long walks on the beach. She was an avid swimmer. Watching Laraine swim was just like watching the most beautiful sea creature that you have ever seen. She was truly one with the sea. Laraine was also an avid reader, potter & quilter.
During Laraine's wake in Connecticut, so many of her friends related stories to me of how special Laraine was to them. They stressed that Laraine always had kind-positive words & a sincere interest in what they were doing. Her credo was " if you have more, give more" and, indeed, she had wonderful gifts to give. Laraine loved her friends & family very much & they loved her. Laraine told me on many different occasions, to always listen to your body and most importantly, always listen to your inner child.....
Laraine always dreamed of cycling across the country. In the journal she kept she wrote: that she " felt relaxed & felt alive & herself again... I began to accept me and not try to change or be what I thought I should be. "
" I am a stallion and I need to move my legs freely and run wild."
Laraine, I hope you are at peace.
I love you Laraine, you are my one & only !!
This is the Eulogy read at the funeral mass by Derrick.
I first met Laraine in 1985 when we both started working in Prompt Care at Manchester Memorial Hospital. I did not know much about her at the time. I knew that she had been an electron microscopist who had attended medical school in Iowa, followed by an internship and residency at Middlesex Hospital.
We worked on opposite shifts so we did not often see much of each other. We however did convene monthly about the work schedule. We also attended department meetings and social events at least once per a week, sometimes more. We saw each other at shift change.
Many times our exchange was brief, and was more about work-such as checking lab work or x-rays of patients that were being passed from one of us to the other. Sometimes however, we would chat about life, our plans, frustrations, challenges or successes. Thus, with the passing of the years we went from a purely work relationship to a friendship.
It was a little over a year ago when during one of those chats Laraine suddenly announced, "I'm leaving! I gave Tom (our boss) my notice, One more month and I'm gone." I was stunned. I had been making plans of my own to leave as well, but these plans had not yet been materialized. I told her I had told her this and that I expected to be leaving in a couple of months. "I'm so glad I gave my notice before you," she cried excitedly.
So we both knew that we would be leaving the hospital where we had been working for so many years. And we were eagerly looking forward to see what the coming years had in store for us. However, as the day of her leaving drew closer, and the finality of it dawned on me, my joy turned to sadness. It struck me even more when she gave me a parting gift. On Laraine's last night at work I went to see her unannounced. I gave her a gift and a card. In the card I shared wither my feeling that with us both leaving and Joanne retiring, our fellowship was breaking. I made the observation that for all it's frustrations and demands, this job had kept us together. We were no longer going to have this. I told her I wished we had more times together, and that I hoped the coming years would be all she wanted them to be. When I left that night, I had tears in my eyes. Later, I heard that Laraine also had tears when she had read the card.
After a while she left for Florida to be with her parents and unwind. I did not see her again until she returned after some months. She said we had to have a party so we could reconnect. And so we did. It was treat for us all to see each other again. Besides biking, Laraine had taken up quilting and she showed us the beautiful quilt she had made. She talked about biking in the Finger Lakes region and about the cross country bike trip she would be taking with a group of women shortly.
We remarked at how happy and relaxed she seemed and how pleased we were to see her thus. When we drove away that night it never occurred to me that I had seen her for the last time. Nothing could have been further from my mind.
In 1997 a column written by Mary Schmick appeared in the Chicago Tribune. The words were two years later set to music in what become known as the sunscreen song. It became a favorite of mine, not only because the tune was catchy, but because the words although sometimes funny, were also singularly wise.
One verse goes like this; "Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is about as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday."
Friends, make no mistake, we were blindsided. None of us saw this coming. None of us could have guessed the Laraine would be taken from us so untimely and so completely.
It hurts. It is a deep hurt and it is a sad hurt. It hurts so much because we have lost not just a coworker, but a compassionate physician who touched thousands of lives, not just a friend, but a family. Because we were a family.
It may not have been obvious to us, but day after day, years, of working together; sharing our hopes, our dreams, our fears, laughing together, being there for each other, we became a family. I think Rodney King would have loved us. We might not always have agreed, but we always got along.
In closing I would like to say this. Death, be not proud this day because your victory is incomplete. You have removed Loraine from our sight, but you will never be able to remove her from our hearts. The memory of what she had been to us, who were touched by her life.
This is the Eulogy read at the funeral mass by Mari Ann.
As I chatted with many of you last night, it seemed like every one had a few "favorite" stories about Laraine that we wanted to share. She touched many people, including all of us here today, in ways that left indelible memories. I invite you to think of yours while I tell you a few of mine.
In 1970 I was living in NYC, moving there from a small town in MI. My first roommate in the City worked at Rockefeller University with Laraine as electron microscopists and introduced us. Laraine was everything that young women from the Midwest were not, or so I thought.
Together we discovered all the wonders New York offered penniless, enterprising and curious young women – the theatres that showed avant garde films, any broadway show we could afford, jazz clubs, people watching from sidewalk cafes, Central Park, discovering funky places in the Village.
I told her not long after we met that she quite simply amazed and delighted me. I had never met anyone like her.
Decades later, I can still say the same thing.
I see Laraine coming through the airport gate in 1971, returning from her very first trip. She'd gone with friends to Aruba and came back with an expression that said "I now know there is a whole world out there beyond New York and I'm gonna see it all."
I see her crying like it was the end of the world on the day she left NYC to drive to Des Moines; I had never seen her face so creased with sorrow before, nor have I seen it, but once, since.
I see her exuberance the St Patricks Day we stayed at the Chelsea Hotel and walked the entire length of the parade pacing along with the bagpipes from West 28th St to East 91st weaving in an around the crowds of people jamming Fifth avenue.
She convinced me to come out here in January of 1988. She knew I didn't want to stay in Michigan and it had been too long since we had lived within easy distance of each other. She loved to be able to drop in for a hug or a quick cuppa tea on the spur of the moment. She sought out places of beauty and shared them with others.
Places like the jut of land down at the Ferry landing that is accessible by foot when the
water level drops;
I picture her walking down to the Ferry Landing in South Glastonbury after a 12 hour shift at the hospital. How tensely she would start out, and how she would slow down to really hear the spring "peepers" for the walk back.
I see the soft thrill on her face as we drifted in a canoe on a Maine lake early one morning while a family of loons floated alongside us sharing the quiet beauty. I feel her silently touch my back on a walk along the Athabasca river in Jasper National Park to make me look up and notice that we were in the midst of a small herd of elk feeding at dusk.
I can feel her next to me on a rare, dry afternoon in a Glacier Bay rain forest when one of the women on the tour shared her joy at the moment by bursting into song from "Hansel and Gretel" in German and all of us in the group knew we had been touched with grace in that moment.
In recent years, I watched her forge a determination to re-open her life to new experiences again. She did it concurrently with facing the fears about caring for her aging parents. It was as though, with age, her battle against fear became more difficult rather than easier. If true courage is doing the action despite being terrified of doing it, then Laraine had more true courage than anyone I know.
During a conversation among the women on this bike tour about why they were doing it, Laraine said, "I wish I could be like you and be doing this to raise money for breast cancer or leukemia or some other cause. I'm doing this because I want to re-invent my life." Another woman on the tour observed that they would arrange to start that day's portion together, and she'd learned to be patient if Laraine were late because she understood it was taking Laraine time to conquer her fear before she could emerge for the day.
In her last email of April 7th, Laraine said, "I am really starting to look forward to the rest of the trip. The areas of America we are seeing and all the people we are meeting are worth it all, [and] I am so happy with the riding now. I also feel comfortable with most of the women, to relax and talk with [them], and the friendships I have made. Its all become easy. "
[ long pause ]
I hear her say "Marianne" like no one else ever said it and I wonder how I can live in a world where I won't ever hear her say it again.
This is the Eulogy read by Joanne at the sunrise memorial service which was held on the beach over looking the ocean in St. Augustine, Florida.
How I remember Laraine:
Laraine was my best friend, sister and confidant.
I met her about 20 years ago at a training program in West Hartford, CT. She was introduced to our group as a physician who was thinking about joining the program. Well, you stereotype people – to me a physician is serious, "business suit" like and orderly. Laraine, however, arrived late, bounced into the room disrupting the introduction of the Leader and fell into the seat beside me; we have remained connected since that moment in time.
Laraine was like a crystal – so many sides, multi-faceted. There was so much about her – all at once. She was a physician, both intelligent and caring, bringing her compassionate heart to her work. She treated not the patient of the diagnosis but the whole person who came to see her. I'm sure so many of her treatments and prescriptions had TLC and love as the most important ingredient to health. Laraine studied long and hard to continually pass Board Certification in her specialty. Not to be "smarter or better" but to remain current and knowledgeable about new techniques and medical changes to give her best to those who came under her care.
Laraine was also a gifted potter and crafter using her vivid imagination and again, her heart, in her design of bowls, cups, quilts and the like.
Being of Italian lineage, food was important to Laraine. Everything about it – the kind, the quantity and the quality of it. Laraine introduced me to foods I had never experienced before - and have yet to be able to pronounce.
The list is endless – "Try it" was her mantra. The "try it" expanded further into her life. She exercised, walked, biked, hiked, swam, did Tai chi. She tried "whatever". I remember several biking outings with Laraine, Ed, myself, and my husband, Al. For me, biking means flat land, or downhill and minimal peddling. My trips with Laraine often consisted of walking next to my bike, pushing it as I hung on to it thinking, "This trail will never end."
So I remember the day when Laraine was confirmed as a participant on the cross-country bike trip. She was so excited! Both fearful and courageous about the new things she would be able to see and explore. Her joy and anticipation at being with like-minded special women and sharing their experience was boundless.
While she was on the bike trip, I received a post card from her. On the face was a picture of two women pushing and helping each other up the side of a steep hill. On the back she wrote a note about the many miles covered so far and the most "awesome" women with whom she was biking.
I remember Laraine's joy, sadness, excitement, professionalism, intelligence, scattered thoughts, and her compassion. And I remember the many wonderful times we shared.
There is a saying –
"Many people will come into your life
Laraine was one of the few who touched many lives and left her footprints on their hearts and soul.
My life is one of them.