A Tribute to Lenore Laumann
Jeannie Yee Davis
Remember the days of Prodigy? If memory serves, Prodigy was our first internet provider. I used it solely for email, whereas my late husband, Mark, frequented the Star Trek chat groups where he met Lenore. Immediately after each Star Trek Next Generation episode, they got online and shared remarks about the show. Eventually, they added Deep Space Nine and other Sci-Fi series to their list. They remained faithful to the Sci-Fi TV shows. Then one day, I happened along and added my two cents. The next thing we knew, Lenore and I began chatting.
Have you ever met someone who fitted into your life perfectly, unconditionally, with no strings attached—even though you never met them in person? That was us, Lenore, Mark, and me. Lenore preferred to keep our relationship on the page for personal reasons, which wasn’t a big deal since I grew up with pen pals from across the world, whom I’ve never met, yet we became good friends through letters. This is no different. The three of us remained close friends after the series ended. We even changed to the same internet provider when the time came. We took our friendship out into the real world, where Lenore and I kept our conversations going via email and later snail mail when she gave up the internet altogether. Our conversations expanded far beyond the Sci-Fi TV shows. We went wherever the wind took us, and that was the beginning of a beautiful lifelong friendship.
Lenore has been there with me throughout my adult development years. She rejoiced with me on my career successes and was my shoulder to cry on through my life trials. Lenore and I share the same values, but since we are from different parts of the country, we have different cultural experiences and points of view. She was my sounding board, who always gave me a new perspective that helped me see through the other person’s eyes, which I would never have considered had it not been for her.
We share so many passions. We enjoy the same kinds of movies and TV shows, other than Sci-Fi. We love food, and although we can’t share a meal as I do with my other friends, we manage to share our favorite foods by sending them to each other. We swap recipes, too. We love music, and get this—we both love drums! Can you believe that? We’re both creative. She’s an artist, and I’m a writer. Oh, I would have loved to hang out with her, and she could paint while I wrote. It’s a beautiful dream. Speaking of dreams, one night long ago, I dreamed that Lenore and I met at an outdoor restaurant for lunch. It was a beautiful clear day with a light breeze, and she was tall and radiant with her blond wavy locks and peasant-style dress. I couldn’t make out her face, but I felt her presence so strongly that I thought we had been together. My description of her blew Lenore away at how accurate my vision of her was.
Lenore, along with Mark, has been there with me from day one of my writing career. Next to Mark, Lenore read every single one of my manuscripts, adding her honest feedback. She and Mark cared about my work as much I do. She loved almost everything I wrote—not everything. That’s where a solid relationship is imperative. We spoke the truth to each other without the fear of breaking the relationship. We didn’t always agree, but when we didn’t, we agreed to disagree. When it was appropriate, I edited per her suggestions, improving my story. However, sometimes, I stuck with my words, and she was okay with that. Lenore knew me so well that anytime I fell off my center or was in a writing rut, she guided me back to me. I could always count on her because she knew my voice better than I did. Lenore is my rock and mentor. I’ve relied on her heavily after Mark’s demise.
We were strangers who met on the internet, but our friendship lasted through the test of time. We have celebrated every major holiday and each other’s birthdays, and we have become family. She and I have so much in common that we knew we were kindred spirits and soul sisters.
When you have a special person like Lenore in your life, how do you live without them? That is the question looming over me. Over the years, I was always the sickly one, in and out of the hospital. In contrast, Lenore caught a cold or the flu every so often. I always thought that I would leave this earth before her. Never did I imagine that it would be the other way around. Now, I am so sad that our time together is coming to an end. I can’t believe that cancer is claiming another person I love.
The other day, the song “You Make Me Feel Brand New” came on my Amazon autoplay, and as The Stylistics belted out the soulful words, a lump appeared in my throat, and before I knew it, the tears well up in my eyes—each word ached within me. “How do I repay you for having faith in me?” “Created everything I am.” “Taught me how to live again.” “Believed in me through thick and thin.” It was as if this was a song that I wrote for Lenore. And it goes, “Whenever I was insecure. You built me up and made me sure. You gave my pride back to me.”
I pray God will bless Lenore with a miracle because I am not ready to let go of my soul sister, mentor, and BFF, who has always had my best interest at heart and has kept me on the right path throughout my life. Lenore believed in me when I didn’t have faith in myself. She helped me be a better person. When I was down or in a rut, Lenore picked me up and helped me live again. She was my cheerleader through every endeavor. I love her more than she will ever know. I already feel very alone, knowing that Lenore won’t be with me for much longer. As the song goes, “Without you, life has no meaning or rhyme. Like notes to a song out of time. How can I repay you for having faith in me?” There is no way I can repay her for all that she has been to me. I write this tribute filled with gratitude and love to Lenore as my attempt to let her know what she means to me.
Lenore, I love you and miss you already. I am sad you won’t be here to tell me what you think about my new novel or see it get published. I have always valued your opinion. I’m sad you won’t be here to see my book appear as part of the Hallmark movie lineup. I’m sad we won’t be sharing our life anymore. My life will be so empty without you in it. I will miss our conversations. I will miss YOU every day, even though I know that you will always be my north star.