What is my relationship to Lori? Spiritual advisor, landscape designer, friend….meatloaf recipe provider….we have run an idiosyncratic course spanning many years.
I met Lori at a Nicotine Anonymous meeting. Lori wanted to quit smoking, but could not, and so there she was, quite puzzled by her inability to quit smoking cigarettes. As she explained her life to me later, Lori did not sit in meetings like this, she ran them…but like me, she could not use her customary bag of trick to overcome her addiction to smoking, and so there she was, attentive and listening.
We began working together on the 12 steps and what occurred for Lori was that her life took on the core of the 12 steps and the orientation of her life became spiritual. Lori’s soul is elitist in the best sense of the concept — her soul recognizes supreme truth, love, beauty and honor, kindness. Yes, Lori quit smoking, but that was not all that she did. She completely changed her life and gravitated to a spiritual existence. Lori soared and she continues to soar like a comet toward the infinite. She is the embodiment of selflessness; she is appreciative. But even more than that, Lori’s spirit sings because of a gratitude, absolute.
Now gratitude is not easy, especially in the struggle she has had to endure. And yet, Lori embraced gratitude with her whole heart and soul. And it spilled over into the world, to everyone she knew. Yes, Lori, even in the darkness threatening to encompass her, can jump onto a hobby horse and ride with great joy and delight, singing songs to the planet. In a difficult day filled with pain, Lori will remember it is your birthday…..
Lori’s ‘little girl’ is one of her most prominent manifestations. I was so fortunate to have been very often in her delightful company. I encountered Lori’s ‘little girl’ the day we rode our bikes against a strong headwind. Lori, her helmet falling back off of her head, reverted to 6 years of age, racing against the wind, her face set with determination and the willfulness only seen in a six-year-old. How could one resist falling head over heels in love with this girl with all of her complexities of beauty, intelligence and profundity?
Lori Altschuler is also the embodiment of kindness and acceptance of flaws in other humans. She is the gentlest and the most patient of souls. I know, because she was so patient with me when I had my turn at stumbling….
Time passed. Lori visited my house one day and saw my garden. She asked me if I would give her some gardening tips. And so our life began in a new direction. Flowers and herbs and fountains and pots and what fun we had together making that garden. Fuschias, alstromeria of all colors of the rainbow, butterfly bushes, roses on arbors and tendrils of blue clematis on her picket fence.
Lori loved and loves her garden with all of her heart. And Lori’s little girl was always most present in the garden with her green plastic clogs, her immaculate garden gloves and her clippers. She would attack any plant daring to go wayward with a great and childlike conviction!!!
When I learned of Lori’s cancer, I immediately went into prayer and meditation. One day, a very powerful and booming energy arose. I heard the words clear as day. I will never forget them. “She will have a very difficult time, but she will not die from this.” This occurred almost a decade ago. And thus far, the road has been very difficult, and so far she is still here with us. I still await the miracle promised.
In the meanwhile in spite of chemo, in spite of operations, never has Lori been absent with her overwhelming generosity. Everyone knows this about this dear girl. Yes, I too have been showered with so many beautiful things and so many blessings from her, but oh how she supports those endeavors most important to me. At my first book signing, to support me, she hostessed the refreshment table, greeting and welcoming everyone with her beautiful smile. She was not only there at my second book signing, but helped me to publish the book with her understanding and supportive heart.
And did I mention her cooking? And her flower arranging? Delectable and scrumptious on all counts. She is accomplished in all of the arts. And she is successful on all fronts.
But Lori Altschuler is most knowledgeable in the profound and integrative meanings of life, of illness and yes, even of death. I adore and cherish Lori…much love from Laura