Sunday, April 1, 2012

Celebrating Lori's Life

My dear friend, coach, and mentor Lori Richards passed away on February 4, 2012 from complications from liver cancer. Lori is the mother to two of my best friends, Kristin and Lauren. I have known and loved these women for almost fifteen years. Lori is one of the first people who coached me and taught me the game of volleyball. She is the reason that I developed my talent and the guiding force behind me playing volleyball in college. Lori has always been a role model in my life and she was a second Mother to me after my Mom passed away. Lori was one of a kind. She lit up any room she was in and had a magnetic personality that instantly brought you in and made you feel like her best friend. I always admired her generosity of spirit and her love for our Savior, Jesus Christ. She will be greatly missed.

While she was in the hospital, I sent her a letter to help lift her spirits while she battled for her life. Here are some excerpts from that letter.

"How can I begin to thank you for changing my life 14 years ago when you came to my high school and asked me to join your team at Players? I didn't know it then, but that decision to play for you paved the course of my future. You gave me two of the best friends I've ever had. You helped mold my talent into something I was proud of. You took me under your wing when my Mom passed away. You helped me get a scholarship to BYU, a place I had always dreamed of attending. And that decision helped me find my husband. That's quite an influence you've had on my life. And I am ever so grateful.

Your two daughters have blessed my life immeasurably. Thank you for raising them to be kind, loving, graceful, compassionate, fun, passionate, and stalwart. In short, thank you for raising them to be like you. Their lives are a testament to the woman, Mother, Grandmother, daughter of God, and wonderful coach/instructor that you are. I'm forever blessed to have known the Richards family."

I was fortunate to be able to attend her funeral, or Celebration of Life, as the family referred to it. And it was truly a celebration of the life of a woman that touched so many lives and gave meaning to the phrase, "live life to the fullest."

My ELK girls. We were missing our E, Erica, who couldn't stay for the funeral. I got a glimpse into our future seeing all of Lori's teammates gather to honor their best friend. I look forward to the years of friendship and memories with these girls.
While we were all in Utah, we gathered at BYU for some playing time in the Smith Field House. Brought back so many memories. Here I am pictured with Lauren's daughter Merit and my son Cash who are future Cougars. Hopefully.
This picture makes me happy for so many reasons. I spent most of my college life in this gym and surrounded by most of these people. And I love that six years later, we are still there for each other. We have each expanded our lives with significant others and children, but we are still one big happy volleyball family.


Lauren said...

I love you Lexi Brown. More than you will ever know.

Janvier said...

What a sweet tribute. I'm so sorry for all of you girls' bittersweet loss! Love you!