Judson's Legacy

Lauren’s Song

Lauren in my Lap

A window of opportunity had opened, so I tentatively asked, “Can I hold her?”

“Well, you can sure try, but she doesn’t always take well to strangers,” Amanda cautioned. This is a phrase commonly expressed by moms of infants or toddlers when someone asks to hold their baby, but in this circumstance, it was unusual.

It was the summer of 2012 and I was asking to hold Lauren Loughheed, Amanda and Stephen’s 18-month-old daughter who had been diagnosed with Krabbe disease just prior to turning one. Most children with an infantile form of Krabbe often lose their voice by the time they’re one and a half, so it was markedly unique for Lauren to still be expressing herself through cries and screams. Her voice was extraordinary.

Since her parents were willing to let me try, I was up for the challenge of welcoming little Lauren into my embrace, hoping to not set off an appeal for mom and dad. Amanda placed a pillow on my legs and then gently positioned Lauren in my arms. Fortunately, in no time, without even the slightest protest, Lauren contentedly settled on my lap.

“She seems really happy with you, Christina!” Amanda declared. I beamed with delight and maybe a tinge of pride over the idea that sweet Lauren had taken to me.

And then, soon thereafter, I heard it for the first time—I heard Lauren sigh. And then she sighed again. And again. Lauren had these deep, penetrating sighs that were like a song of beauty and calm that danced in my ears and captured my heart. I was mesmerized.

Over the next few years, as we’ve grown closer with the Loughheed family, I’ve been afforded various opportunities to spend time with Lauren; although her voice quieted over time, her sighs remained robust and wonderful. I found myself yearning for her song of sighs. Sometimes I listened through my tears, so taken by her beauty in brokenness.

Last week, on April 13th, Lauren passed away; her sighs on earth were silenced.  But as I lay in bed that night, utterly heartbroken for and with Amanda and Stephen, I could hear Lauren’s sighs racing through my mind and heart. I could hear her song…

(A Tribute to Lauren Olivia Loughheed)

It was like music.
Her heart-shaped lips slightly parted,
Her shoulders gently lifted and fell,
While the sweetest sounds of bliss
Floated delicately into the air.

Lauren’s sighs.

They touched my ears
Like a sublime melody,
A carol of peace arising.
Her body an instrument of grace
In contentment.

As this delicate, fragile, refined beauty
Sighed a ballad of serenity,
Her enchanting psalm
Captured my soul.
Moved me.
I craved her chorus.

Lauren’s songs of sighs
Were a heavenly whisper,
Thinning the veil
Between the present
And eternity.
Sighs of fulfillment.

Yet now our hearts sigh
In sorrow.
In longing.
In loss.
A choir of lament.

But Hark!
A harmony of Lauren’s sighs yet soar.
Can you hear her new song?
Pure perfection
Exhaling glory.
Sighs of hope ascend.

 You are dearly loved and missed, Lauren!


A tribute video for Lauren by Theresa Sweeney…

*Words of sympathy and love for Amanda and Stephen
are welcome in the comments section below.

23 Responses to "Lauren’s Song"

  1. Mark Souder says:

    Stephen and Amanda- What a beautiful child Lauren is! I look forward to meeting her in Our Father's House! Thanks for sharing, Christina

  2. olopop23 says:

    As tear stream down my face, at the beautiful tribute to sweet Lauren, it renews my strength to keep fighting for legislation here in my home state! So thankful to get to learn of Lauren’s Story!!!

  3. Sonia Liz-Cardona says:

    Amanda and Stephen: When my daughter Evana passed away on March of 2008 at only 3 months old, one of the sympathy cards I received I have always remembered because it said, the angels are rejoicing in heaven at the arrival of your loved one coming back home. Amanda is Home.

    At this time I know there are no words that can lessen the pain, sorrow and loss that you both are enduring, a pain that must be crippling your hearts.. but you have that awesome hope that she is no longer hurting but is 100% whole in the arms of Jesus. And the angels are definitely rejoicing because she has come home. What comforted me at my time of grief was knowing that my daughter Evana was whole and in a place where there is no more sorrow and tears. I also found comfort in my time of sorrow in the words from the poem below:

    “A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
    And for a brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world
    But then it flies again
    And though we wish it could have stayed…
    We feel blessed to have seen it.”

    Lauren was that little butterfly that lighted up your world and though she could not stay I am sure that she has touched and blessed your hearts for having the privilege of knowing her.
    But as you know this is not goodbye, because there will be one day in which you will be reunited with your sweet Lauren.

    – Sonia

  4. Sonia Liz-Cardona says:

    Apologize, in my first paragraph, meant to say Lauren, not Amanda.

  5. Stephen and Amanda–I cannot begin to comprehend the profound loss you must feel at this time. I am humbled that you shard your precious daughter with us. My faith has been rocked with Krabbe and your faith inspires me to be a better follower of God. I just wanted to let you know that I pray for your daughter and other little angels lost from Krabbe every night before we go to bed. We ask the Lord that they may be able to visit you in spirit to let you know they are ok.

  6. Betty Scott says:

    Amanda & Stephen you were so willing to share your beautiful daughter with all the world… May you be blessed and feel the closeness of Jesus fly high Lauren run and play yell all day

  7. God Bless your Hearts. My heart is weeping for you, One thing you need to remember is you did a wonderful job with Lauren and she know it I am proud to say I have been blessed to know Lauren through your blogs Bless Lauren as she starts her now home in the arm of Jesus Amen

  8. Patty Hall says:

    I read her song as I was reading I was also seeing her running and playing without a care, her body whole again and her smiles and laughter ringing all over heaven. Thank you for sharing.

  9. melanie says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter, Lauren. I can’t imagine what your hearts must be feeling and I pray for the peace of God to wash over you during this difficult time. Grateful that you have friends like Christina and Drake to love you through this… Blessings!

  10. Timothy J Hickey says:

    Stephen and Amanda You are both so very loved and appreciated for the way in which you have shown the world how to revere life!

    Love you both, and I do hope we will meet soon!

  11. Janice Cooper says:

    God bless you. There are no words.

  12. I wholeheartedly agree, Debra, that Amanda and Stephen are incredible parents to Lauren. And it is because of them that she touched the hearts of so many!!

  13. Your prayers are a gift to the entire Krabbe community, Liz. Thank you!

  14. Thank you for engaging Lauren's life, Mark (aka Souder like Chowder). 🙂

  15. My heart is heavy in your loss Amanda and Stephen. I have been so blessed to share your precious Lauren's journey alongside my great nephew Kenan and his family. She was and IS a beautiful little girl who will be greatly missed and she now awaits those destined to follow her path… to welcome THEM into the gates of glory…. a true comfort to me.
    God's blessings, comfort and love to your family now and in the days ahead,
    Your boyfriend Kenan's Aunt B

  16. My heart is heavy in your loss Amanda and Stephen. I have been so blessed to share your precious Lauren's journey alongside my great nephew Kenan and his family. She was and IS a beautiful little girl who will be greatly missed and she now awaits those destined to follow her path… to welcome THEM into the gates of glory…. a true comfort to me.
    God's blessings, comfort and love to your family now and in the days ahead,
    Your boyfriend Kenan's Aunt B

  17. What a beautiful tribute to such a sweet angel. She was such a blessing and is now in paradise with our heavenly Savior.

  18. Father Stéphane Pouliot says:

    Peace be with you Amanda and Stephen! You both are in my heart these days as you mourn the earthly loss of the beautiful daughter God gave you! Lauren lives because Jesus lives! She smiles right now and sighs with contentment in the presence of God! Now she prays for you in Jesus at the right hand of the Father!

    Father Stéphane Pouliot, Kingston, Ontario

  19. Ti Ti says:

    Dear Amanda & Stephen ~ Lamenting with you in the loss of your precious Lauren. Thank you for sharing her beautiful tribute. I have borrowed this author’s (unknown) view of grief who recites, “Grief never ends…but it changes. It’s a passage not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor lack of faith…it is the price of love.” May you be comforted and surrounded in the love of our Sovereign God.

  20. Rosemary Krajnik says:

    I’d like to express my sympathy and support for the parents of this precious little girl. Her life touched the hearts of so many people, and she will never be forgotten. She is cradled in the loving arms of God, and she suffers no more. I pray that God will strengthen her parents, as they mourn for her loss. The few short years that they were blessed to have her with them will be forever cherished, and many people will be inspired by their story of love for their little angel.

  21. Lisa Schmidt says:

    It's an amazing thing..when I look into these children's eyes..eyes that are blind..I realize they see so much more than we ever can..we think they just see darkness…No..they see God.

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