May 17. On this day in 2006, the world lost a vibrant, beautiful woman named Lauren Hanavan. Her unexpected death from complications with diabetes was devastating. Like the rest of her family and friends, I miss her dearly. It’s hard to believe that it was five years ago. Lauren, who was a 23-year-old senior at UNLV in Las Vegas, was set to graduate and was applying to law school. She was also engaged to be married to Bryce Taylor, a UNLV graduate (and wonderful human being). UNLV graciously granted Lauren a posthumous degree and is working to establish a scholarship at UNLV in her name- if you would like to contribute please contact me.
Lauren had fought diabetes since childhood, but that never slowed her down. She volunteered for a number of organizations with a passion for helping kids- it was her professional ambition to become a legal advocate for children in need. Thinking about her makes me smile… like her mother, Lauren had a cantankerous spirit and strong opinions, combined with a huge heart and warmly compassionate soul. And she is every bit as beautiful as her mom, Denise Hanavan, who is a nurse in Las Vegas. She is also survived by her brother Paul, who lives in Tempe, AZ; father John Hanavan in Buffalo, NY; and a long list of extended family and friends. Losing Lauren had a profound impact on my life, so today I take time with my blog to honor her memory. I wrote this poem the night before the funeral…
You are a daughter,
You were a bright, beaming beacon of light in the world, shining on the lives of everyone around you. We adored you for your brilliance, which will never fade.
You were tender. You were modest.
We loved you for your honesty, but you would never admit how beautiful you really are.
You loved to be around children, animals, and all things pink.
You had a pair of shoes for every occasion, handbags and jewelry too… but no accessory could outshine your smile.
You were brave. You were strong.
Your body could not restrain your spirit- not even Goliath’s could do that.
You were tough. You were feisty.
Now, you are at peace… the battle is over and you can rest, but the light of your spirit will be there to brighten our darkest days.
Today we say goodbye, with sadness that you are gone. But we’ll carry you in our hearts… within us, you will live on.
A daughter. A sister. A niece. A fiancée. A granddaughter… You meant different things to everyone, but most of all you were a friend. And even though you never became my sister-in-LAW, you were definitely my sister-in-LOVE.