Miss Night's Marbles

Musings, mumbles, marvels, and sometimes mockery, live from kindergarten.

A cold and broken Hallelujah…

on 21 December, 2014

So. It’s been a while, since I’ve been here. I feel like I’ve missed a hundred things: posts I always re-share at this time of year, 2 entire weekends of Latte & Links, some musings on the holiday season. Your comments have gone unmoderated, and I have e-mails from literally dozens of you, asking to share THAT kid….

And now here we are. As of 11:30 Friday morning, school is over for the holidays. I am home, on my couch, gazing at my tree lights, Freddy rolling around at my feet, as I try to figure out how to write this, how to account for my absence, how to ask you for your patience and kindness and prayers….

I made this site as a place to tell my stories. I didn’t want it to be a sad place, but I always wanted it to be a TRUE place, an honest place. I made it as a place to put my words when they press too hard on the inside of my heart to remain there one minute longer.

My story right now is rough and ragged, both a whimper and a howl. For 20 days I have relied on the words of others because my own words were both too many and too few, too enormous and too weightless, to make sense. But the words are starting to come back,  and I guess the only way to say it is to say it.

On the afternoon of December 1st, my mentor, sister, role model, and best friend – Lauren Lindskog Allen – was killed, suddenly and unexpectedly. Lauren was the director of Coppercreek Camp, my most favourite place on earth, my own sacred ground. She was my family.

On December 2nd, I got the phone call telling me what had happened.

On December 3rd, I cleared my calendar and inbox for the next 2 weeks. I bought a plane ticket, arranged boarding for Freddy, put a roaming plan on my phone, filled a suitcase with jeans and yoga pants and t-shirts and sweaters.

On December 4th, I got on a plane, then another plane, then a car, then another car, until I was home at Coppercreek Camp, surrounded by my camp family.

I stayed there for 10 days, living in Lauren’s house with her family: her daughter and daughter’s best friend; her sweetheart; her dogs.

On December 11, I celebrated my birthday with my camp family: steak and wine and cake, through a blur of tears.

On December 13th, we celebrated Lauren’s life in the jam-packed local high school gym.

On December 14th, I returned home.

On December 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, I went to school and went through the motions of doing my job. And now it is Christmas break, and I am here, trying to tell you this thing. This most awful thing.

This is the bare-bones description of things. This does not scratch the surface of the feelings, the relationships, the depth of the love, the infinite complications, the tangled layers of grief and fear and anger. It does not capture the exhaustion, the frailty, the helplessness, the darkness or the infinitesimally tiny pinpoints of light that have pulled me, pulled us* through each moment.

It simply tells you where I’ve been.

And maybe it tells you where I am, and where I will be. My stories, for a while, may not be the stories you came here for.

But they are my stories. Our* stories. And they need to be told.

I hope you will listen.**




You can read more about Lauren (and the benefit fund that has been created in her name) here, on the Coppercreek Camp blog

Lornie Memorial Photo

Many of you have reached out to me over other social media in the last few weeks, and I am so grateful for your love, prayers, and support. You are among the pinpoints of light that have helped to break up some terribly dark days.

*The true heart of this is that this is not only my story, but the story of a group of people I chose (and who chose me) as FAMILY, so long ago that I sometimes forget it has not been forever. I do not write on behalf of them, but as one of them. This loss is both personal and collective, both mine AND ours.

**The comments on this post are open, for now, but I ask you to please refrain from anything along the lines of “everything happens for a reason.” I’m not ready for there to be a reason for this. I’m not sure I will ever be.


17 Responses to “A cold and broken Hallelujah…”

  1. […] Three weeks after That Kid, just as things were settling down, The Most Terrible Thing happened. For this, it is no longer the finding of these words, but rather the saying of them, that […]

  2. […] One year, today, since the most terrible thing. […]

  3. […] people and climbing. And in this whole big beautiful busy city, I am The. Only. Person. missing Lauren. I have great people here: family, friends. They love me, and they take tremendously good care of […]

  4. Jean Smith says:

    Amy, I so wish I had met you at the memorial, but the weekend was a blur of great grief and great joy. Thank God I was surrounded by my Coppercreek family, as you were. We will pull through this and the sun will eventually overcome the dusk. Sending you lots of love and hope to meet you in May if you make it back down.

  5. You are so gifted at putting into words what so many of us feel. As a social worker who is now working in the school system with “those kids”…I was so moved by your wisdom and I keep coming back and rereading the things that you have said. As someone whose former job was working with crime victim survivors and their families I encourage you to seek support from those who have walked that path before you. The loss of a loved one is hard to deal with, the loss as a result of a crime makes it even more complicated and awful. Grief is sneaky and rears it’s head at the most unexpected times, especially when the criminal justice system is involved. Wrap yourself in the knowledge that you aren’t alone and that Lauren’s life is so much more than how it ended.

  6. kindergeek says:

    Thinking of you every day and sending love across the miles. Your bravery at expressing the depth of your emotions is remarkable. You, her family and every life Lauren touched are her legacy. I wish I could just sit and hold your hands and listen to stories of her glorious life.

  7. Betsy Grimes says:

    Oh, my heart aches to be of some comfort. I too have a cold and broken hallelujah…our son died 3 years ago yesterday. Please know that I am lifting you up in prayer am so terribly sorry for your loss.

  8. Greta says:

    Thank you for finding words. Mine continue to fail me.

  9. Greg says:

    Please accept my humble condolences for your loss.

  10. Stephanie says:

    Grief so strong speaks volumes about how wonderful Lauren was (and is). Love to you and the whole collective family. With heartfelt prayers from Washington State.

  11. My heart is broken for you. Sending light and love. xxxoo

  12. kellyscott98 says:

    Oh Amy, my heart breaks for you. I hope you can find some joy through your pain this holiday season. Sending hugs from Kingston. xo

  13. Kalli B says:

    Thank you so much for putting words to my feelings. I have walked through the mindless numbing steps of continuing living life, laughed joyously recounting stories, cried and cried at how unfair it all is that we don’t have OUR best friend anymore, and at the end of the day… I read your words. And it is SO GOOD to feel like I’m not alone in all this. That because of her, I have a second family. And that is why it’s so so sad AND why we can still feel love even in this darkest hour. Thanks as always…

  14. I’m sorry for your personal and collective loss. May you find comfort in memories, strength in the support of family and friends, and peace in the knowledge that you do not grieve alone.

  15. faige says:

    I can hear the pain in your voice in your words as you write this post. There is so little solace when the pain is so raw. Hopefully the pain will ease in time.

  16. Nicole Sorensen says:

    Prayers and hugs from Nebraska.

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