Celebrating the life of Laura Hershey Rotating Header Image


I have been privileged to have been one of Laura’s attendants for the last five years, and to have been present for her final day.  Laura had a way of encouraging every person she encountered to find and express their truest voice.  So in that spirit I’d like to share a poem I wrote to her:

Near the end,  you said you trusted me to be your voice.

Near the end, you said you trusted me with your body.

Years ago you hired me.

Became my boss.

And I was afraid.  I was afraid of my own stumbling.

I was afraid of my awkward, clumsy hands with knife and fork as I loaded bites of burrito.

I was afraid that my incompetence or discomfort would show,

I was sure you would fire me.

But you patiently firmly corrected my mistakes.

You asked and required me to learn my own body so that I could safely move yours through space.

You allowed me various windows into your world.

At first just dinner to bedtime.

Then trips to work and theater.

With time I met your family and friends.  You introduced me.

I no longer thought I would be fired, but I wondered if you liked me.

Then you wrote me a letter of recommendation.  Watching out for me while you and Robin went adventuring to Berkeley.

You called me “thoroughly trustworthy”

And so when we met again I began to hope that we would be friends.

And when you introduced your daughter I fell in love.

I fell in love with your newly forming family.

You discovered my willingness if not eagerness to read aloud.

First books to your daughter

Then one memorable day

Poetry to you

You allowed me to read your fledgling works aloud for flow and cadence

So, on that final day I mused aloud that I wished for a book of poetry

But in hospitals such things are not handy

so we talked of small daily things

Most vividly you described Shannon’s beauty dancing on the beach in California.

Then, in the end, you said you trusted me to be your voice.

You said you trusted me with your body.

And I felt so honored and so loved.

1 Comment on “Remembering”

  1. #1 Terri
    on Dec 17th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    This was illuminating, thank you for allowing us to see into your world with Laura. Whew. Xxxoox

Leave a Comment