This spring has been awfulness compounded on awfulness for so many people. Towards the beginning of the pandemic, we got the heartbreaking news that our friend Lauren had been tragically killed while she was out walking her dog, Holiday, on a Sunday morning.
My friends at Ephemera posted this beautiful tribute at the time:
Lauren has crazy curly hair. Always some really cool glasses and a smile that meant something. She loved words and people and knew how to listen and go on adventures and drink good drinks and love her incredibly well-behaved pup and her circle. She always looked comfortable, approachable, confident. Her circle was big and broad with shoots and offshoots and pockets and was spread out all over the place and it was filled up with love. She was 38 years old and was walking her dog one day and then it was just done. The hard, hard way that her life ended didn’t match, at all, the softness of HER. The story will be about the hardness. It should be about the light.
It was incomprehensible not to be able to gather and share our love for Lauren and grief that she is gone. I wasn’t in Lauren’s inner circle, but I truly admired her. I try to channel my feelings into action, and so a few friends came together to explore a memorial project to honor both Lauren and Holiday. We are working with Friends of Des Moines Parks to have a human/dog waterfountain installed at Witmer Park, as part of the park’s phased revitalization.
Lauren lived with such a generosity of spirit, and while nothing will perfectly capture who she was to so many people, I hope this fountain is a tribute to the way she filled the people (and pups) she encountered with joy. And her appreciation for a good drink.
My kiddos wanted to help raise money for the fountain, so they did a mobile cookie wagon bake sale this weekend. I’ve heard from a few other friends who have fundraiser ideas, so let me know if you would like to get involved!
Contributions can be made through the Friends of Des Moes Parks website. Visit https://www.friendsofdmparks.org/donate and click the “make a memorial” box. From there a payment box (as shown below) will open that will collect payment information as well as include a box for donors to indicate the gift is honoring Lauren.
Or, mail a check the old fashioned way and include a note in the memo line that it is for Lauren’s Witmer Park memorial: