Celebrating the life of Laura Hershey Rotating Header Image

On the eve of the vernal equinox, 2011

Dearest Robin,

How I wish we could have been there with you, Shannon and so many of our community to celebrate Laura’s life.  We tried to reschedule Bob’s appointment at Aspen for this week, but we still didn’t have all the wheelchair parts he needs replaced after his accident before he can get his seating adjusted. So we will have an extra innings celebration of Laura when we come to Denver in the next few months to get the chair work done.

I still remember when we first met you and Laura. You two, along with Karen were so much a part of our first days in ADAPT, and so began the bonding I feel so strongly after these past 18 years.  Laura’s poem “In the Way” captured the essence of actions for me, and profoundly affected how I came to view power and what’s possible and what’s necessary. More than anything else, that poem, as the lens through which I came to view ADAPT actions, helped me to “get it.”

You and Laura also came to be one of the standards that became infused in my internal compass about what’s possible, and what should be expected in the lives of the disability community.  The two of you lived your life together to the fullest; continually participating in the fabric of the community-both locally and globally; together you engaged in education, advocacy, activism, meaningful work, home ownership, and parenting a child. Together you pushed every envelop crafted by the tyranny of low expectations, challenged bureaucratic puppet authority and nonsensical rules, and gave back by contributing your gifts and talents and skills and experience  so the rest of us might learn and profit from your wisdom and lessons learned.

I have so many memories….ADAPT, May Media Meeting, picnics and Chinese take-out at your homes, wrestling together with the complexity and non-sequiturness of the SSI/SSDI rules, watching the same things on TV together via Facebook, or sharing, also via Facebook, the events of the world and the happenings in our own extended community. In some homes, the kitchen is the center where everyone gathers….in your homes, it was the bed, lol.

It has taken me these many months to try to wrap my brain around the fact that I won’t see Laura when we get to Denver. Her passing has been so unexpected and incomprehensible to me that I haven’t been able to write on her webpage until now. And even now, the right words fail me.

For the past few months my heart has ached deeply for you, because, knowing Laura, I have some idea about how great and profound is your loss. I have also been so grateful because both Laura’s wonderful family and the strong, loving community that you cultivated and that surrounded you and Laura for so many years continue to surround you and Shannon now.

Laura was a partner, mother, writer, teacher, activist, poet, friend, sister, daughter, employer, community leader…..and so much more.  There is such a big hole in the Universe without her.

I send you so much love from here in the northern Rockies, and though my body will not be in the crowd tomorrow, my heart and my spirit will be celebrating with you, Shannon and all who are gathered there on the vernal equinox to remember Laura.

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