written by S. P. Forster
Laurie was only 14 yrs old, pretty with chocolate brown shoulder length hair and eyes. However, she was having a tough time like most young girls do at that age when it came to friends, School and boyfriends. She was energetic, high spirited and would talk incessantly which would sometimes overwhelm potential friends. Much to Mother Michelle's frustration, Michelle was having a tough and trying time, trying to keep up with Laurie when it came to calls from her School and whatever situation arose.
Laurie was the complete opposite in personality and temperament as her brother, Mitch. Mitch was the tall, blonde,good looking, and talented brother that most sisters' friends crushed over. At times, Laurie resented it because many times when she would invite a friend over, that friend would constantly ask about Mitch and want to hang out with him. That in turn, taking the attention away from Laurie, which frustrated her because she desperately wanted and needed a friend that she didn't feel she would have to share with her brother.
Then, because Laurie was having troubles at the School she was attending, it was suggested she transfer to another School that had smaller classes, able to handle her high energy, helping her to focus on classwork. After transferring Schools, she discovered that her other new classmates had 'difficulties' as well. Some had medical conditions, some were violent, and some had learning challenges. Her School shared the same School bus as that of the neighbouring School around the corner and that is where she met her new boyfriend, Brett, that she would meet at the bus stop at the end of each School day.
Laurie and Brett immediately connected and became very close. They shared some of the same difficulties so they were able to relate to each other. Brett came from a very difficult upbringing and childhood. Laurie's heart went out to him. The only flaw in their relationship was that Laurie was only 14 yrs old, whereas Brett was 17 yrs old. So, in Laurie's Mother's eyes, that was too much of a maturity age gap between the two teenagers, which made her uneasy with the budding relationship. She felt that one small blessing was that she had turned her unfinished basement in somewhat of an area with furniture and TV setup so that they had a space where they could have friends over without having to go in their private bedrooms. So, she felt with that setup, there would be no one going off privately.
However, one night she found quite differently. The laundry room was in the basement as well and she already had a load of laundry in the washer when Mitch and some friends announced they were going out. Michelle didn't realize that Laurie and Brett were alone downstairs. When it was time to go downstairs to change over the clothes from washer to dryer, she got halfway down the stairs to discover that yes, that age gap was presenting itself. Very boldly. Brett was very firmly, and in no uncertain terms, told to gather up his belongings and leave their home.
Hence, when the difficulties started. Due to the event of that night, Michelle made it well known to Laurie that Brett would no longer be welcome in their home.
Several days later, Michelle discovered that Laurie had begun sneaking ways to be with Brett away from their home. Michelle knew she could not push Laurie too much about the subject, causing Laurie to pull away from her, so she tried the reasoning approach but to no avail. Unfortunately, it only bred resentment in Laurie.
Neither Mother or daughter knew that these events were the start of a series of events of pain, loss, hardships and strain on their relationship. Neither knew of the double loss that Mother and daughter were about to face and for several years to come.
Michelle herself, had a boyfriend, Luke that neither Laurie or Mitch could warm up to. Luke tried in different ways to show brother and sister he cared for them as he did for their Mother but they wouldn't have it. After years of Michelle being on her own raising Mike and Laurie, they were not used to having a man in their Mother's and their lives.
Michelle, because of the troubles with Laurie, she decided one afternoon, that she wanted to spend some time with her, just Mother and daughter time. So she took Laurie for a drive, parked the car near an open field where they could just go for a walk and talk and spend some time together. It was there, where it was quiet and no friends, boyfriends, cell phones or distractions. It was like Mother and daughter were able to reconnect and come to an understanding.
However, that was not to be. It was shortlived. Just a couple of short weeks later, one morning, Michelle received a call from one of her friends who's husband worked with Luke. Luke passed away at work that morning. Michelle went into shock.
One month later, while Michelle was still reeling from the loss of her boyfriend, best friend and soulmate, the brother and Mother of Brett arrived on their doorstep late one night. Brett had gone missing. Laurie and Michelle were told he'd gone down to the river with a group of friends swimming earlier in the day but never came back out.
Laurie immediately developed health conditions with her stomach: ulcers, insomnia, PTSD, anxiety and depression. She stopped socializing and stayed home. It changed their lives. Those conditions affected Laurie in the way of friends, activities, School and later work. Her conditions held her back from being able to hold down a fulltime job. Alcohol became an everyday demon.
To this day, Laurie battles the daily demons of PTSD, anxiety, depression and alcohol.
No one person is invincible to life's tragedies. A life can change in a heartbeat. Laurie found out at a very young age. It can happen to anyone at any age, at anytime. Life is precious. Every person should treasure and value the people in their lives. Always.