“Take care of you.”
My mother ended nearly every phone conversation we had with that one simple phrase.
The funny thing is, Laurie LoBue was the one who always seemed to be taking care of everyone and everything. No matter what was happening in my life, or the lives of someone in her very extended family, my mother knew about it. This could easily mean she had a nosey, “Gladys Kravitz” mentality; but nothing could be further from the truth.
My mom wanted to know about the lives of her kids and grandkids, her eight siblings, their kids and grandkids, her cousins, aunts, uncles … you get the idea. She wanted to know because she wanted to help – to take care of people, give them love and support.
Most of us care about our families, but my mother backed up her concern with action. She reached out and implored the rest of our family to do the same. When she’d tell me what was happening in a relative’s life, it wasn’t gossip; it was a call to action. The wording varied, but the message was simple: reach out and love whomever she thought needed it.
My mother not only took care of her own family, she was there for friends – my friends, their friends and families. It was not unusual for a friend from back home in Louisiana to call and say, “I was talking to your mother the other day …” If my friends or my sibling’s friends were going through a tough time, they would get a healthy dose of “Laurie Love.” She also wanted to make sure my brother, sister and I were doing the same – reaching out, giving care and love. My mother extended this love to countless people – some I’ve never heard of, much less met. I know this because a seemingly endless sea of people reached out to my family last month to let us know just how giving Laurie LoBue was.
On June 10, my mother died in her hotel room in Las Vegas. Natural causes. One minute she was here, making people laugh with her quick wit. The next minute, she was gone. As you can imagine, this loss leaves a hole in the lives of countless people. In fact, my family may never really know how many people she touched. She had a gift for making anyone, family and strangers alike, feel like the most important person on the planet.
There is no way to fill the vast void my mother left behind, but there is certainly a way to honor it: Take care. Take care of you. Take care of the people you love. Take care of anyone who needs it.
Taking care is much simpler than it sounds. The effort involved, based on my mother’s 70 years on earth, is simply offering a bright smile, a hearty laugh, or a loving ear. Listen to people. Remember their names.
Though she left this life, I feel certain my mother is somewhere “up there” finding ways to take care, and to remind me to do the same.