It is hard to believe my friend Elizabeth Lawrence is no longer around. I keep thinking about her, especially now that it is spring. She loved spring and tending to her garden during her healthy years. Last evening, Rick and I had dinner with some of his former high school friends. Our host, Lori, grew up in the same neighborhood where she now lives with her husband Tim in Tacoma, WA. Lori told me that Elizabeth grew up in the house across the yard during elementary school, before moving to Fox Island. Dr. Lawrence, Elizabeth’s dad, used to come around and tend to the neighbors when they got sick. Everyone loved him. Elizabeth was Lori’s playmate.
Elizabeth passed away in February while I was in India. When I got to Varanasi, I said a prayer for her and floated a candle in her honor in the holy Ganges River. Her candle floated during the Aarti evening ceremony. Bells were chiming and clanging, crowds were gathered to say good night to the great Mother Ganga and some people sang devotional hymns, incense billowed forth and perfumed the night air, and Brahman priests performed their nightly ritual honoring all the elements present in nature: earth, water, fire, air, ether (space). I believe I felt Mother Ganga embrace Elizabeth’s beautiful spirit the moment I set the lit butter ghee candle into the water.
I write this blog post with deep gratitude for Elizabeth Lawrence, or DB, as refers to her nickname Detonator Beth. She attended yoga classes with me for many years when I taught at NIAOM (Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) in Fremont. She stopped taking classes with me when NIAOM closed its doors and I moved to Yogalife Green Lake Studio in 2001. She said she couldn’t stand looking at the purple painted ceiling!
We kept in touch over the years and later, when my mother passed away, Elizabeth helped take care of my sister Toni for four months in the evenings while I taught classes. Toni is a special needs adult and Elizabeth was wonderful with her. Perhaps she coddled Toni excessively, but Toni needed a lot of TLC at that time. After all, Toni had just lost her lifetime best friends/parents and house and was now in her sisters’ care. Elizabeth used to read to her, take her on walks, watch movies with her, do crafts, and tell stories.
Elizabeth loved Ocean Shores and our sanctuary, Little Renaissance. She came out for visits and for a few yoga retreats throughout the years. She also gifted us with many beautiful decorative garden objects and other amazing items for our home. All the items in this blog post are gifts from Elizabeth!
Recently, some friends were gathering information for Elizabeth’s obituary, which is to come out soon. I hope the obituary will make mention of her many talents. Among them, she sang, did theater, was involved in animal rescue and fostering programs, was a Reiki practitioner, played various instruments, including the piano, did creative writing and was an editor. One of her friends, contributing to the obit, reminded us all of Elizabeth’s/DB’s generosity and the empathy of her soul:
Of the 50 bequests in her will, 22 of the bequests go to nonprofits (Environmental, Animal Rescue, Cancer Care and Research, Fighting Poverty, Public Radios and TV). An incredible range of giving. The rest to friends, family, and animal adoptees. And if there is any $ left in the estate, the remainder is to go to “an appropriate charity for sex-slaves-women in India.” !!
I hope you will take time to admire the items I am so lucky to have, from the generosity of Elizabeth’s heart. They are fun and eclectic, a reflection of who she was. I am forever grateful!