People of Lauren

For my  wonderful friend, Lauren Ritchie, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 69 at the peak of her career as a ceramic artist and potter.

My Tribute from the  service celebrating her life, June 13, 2015, in Syracuse New York.


Display of her work and my cairn
Display of her work with my cairn


“My name is Elaine and I am a friend of Lauren. It has been my privilege and my luck to be so for over 45 years.

Yesterday morning as I walked the shore of Lake Ontario — a cobble stone beach in particular — I imagined today’s celebration and all of us who would be gathered here today. For we are the people of Lauren. We are all Lauren’s people or we would not be here.

Cobble stone beach o Lake Ontario
Cobble stone beach on Lake Ontario

People of Lauren are lucky, but I think we also have some responsibilities. I would like to humbly offer some simple tenets that we all can practice. I know there are more, but these seven are what I thought of.

1. Be more generous. Be more generous. Be more generous. Open that door in your heart and remember Lauren’s generous heart never shut down.

2. Lay down your fears. Not simple, but try.

3. Laugh. Life is short. Enjoy it.

4. Nurture your art. You have it. Lauren knew it, and so do you. It’s what you love.

5. Forsake your lawn. Plant trees and flowers. Share what you plant.

Lauren's garden 2014
Lauren’s garden 2014

6. Read. Listen to NPR. (Try it, you might like it.)

7. Be a rock onto others. Hold still. Listen. Be there. And even though rocks can’t really do this — suggest things that might help. Lauren always did.

Build  a cairn
Build a cairn

Last I’d like to suggest a small ritual. Whenever you can, build a cairn. It’s a stone pile of remembrance, and sometimes a trail marker. Mine is on the display table, made with seven rocks I gathered yesterday. Don’t upset the landscape, but if there are stones, pile them up. Leave it behind so that all those who follow will know that people of Lauren have gone before. For we are the people of Lauren…Pass it on.”

Happy Lauren and me