Monday, May 19, 2008

The Passing of Laura Allan

Today, Laura Allan lost her fight with cancer. She was a great musician and had a beautiful spirit. I will always remember her for her generosity, easy-going nature, and sense of humor. She lived a life of a rock star . . . always there to help or cheer someone up. When ever I needed something, she was quick to figure out what she could do. She had a gentle spirit that was accepting of everyone, maybe too accepting at times, but that was her nature and no one was going change that about her.

I met Laura through her mother (Dr. Nadine Lambert pictured below) who was my dissertation chair and mentor. Nadine Lambert was killed in a violent car accident in April 26 2006. That day was one of the worst in my life, Nadine was one of the most influential people in my adult life and losing her unexpectedly was numbing. Through the weeks that followed, Laura was often the one who understood the grief and could make you laugh and cry at the same time. It was then that she sent me this song she was working on, I'm In Good Shape. She had shared it with her mother before her mother died and Nadine really liked it. That's not saying much, Nadine loved everything Laura did. Nadine was the ultimate when it came to supporting her children and students. The photo below is of Nadine and Laura - the way I remember both of them.

Listen to Laura's song "I'm In Good Shape"

Dear Friends,
When my sister was sick with cancer, and wanting to drive to Reno, Nevada to go to an alternative treatment facility for a second opinion, she told me that her drivers’ license had expired. She just wanted to go in to the DMV and take the test and was telling me that that was all she needed to do, as they closed when she was trying to do this before.

After her last discharge from the hospital a few weeks ago, she wanted to go back to Reno, and I told her I would drive her. She called me a week ago Friday (May 9, 2008) in the late afternoon and said: “I want you to know that I just got my driver’s license renewed.” She must have put on a wig and taken off her oxygen and gone in there and acted like any one else at the California DMV on a Friday afternoon and somehow passed on the first time, which is difficult in California. Later that evening she called and told me she had rented a car in Oakland to drive up to Reno and back – she got a nurse who was staying with her to take her to the airport and do this.

Laura made it up to Reno last Monday (May 12, 2008), to go to a clinic where patients receive vitamin and nutrient infusions to combat cancer. Her caregiver friend didn’t show up as planned to take her and I had to work so while I was thinking about hiring a driver she drove herself in the middle of the night last Monday with a friend when most people sleep. She called me from Reno to say that she saw a beautiful sunrise in Sacramento at 5:00AM as they were passing through on highway 80. Laura loved it at that clinic as the emphasis was on anti-oxidants and not chemo. She also liked big fatherly male doctors who hugged her and told her it would be ok, and then they would called me out in the hall and sound like the grim reaper.

I spoke to her last Thursday night (May 15, 2008) and she told me she was feeling better but she was lying I knew. I tried to talk to Laura Sunday (May 18, 2008) but her friend/caregiver told me she couldn’t come to the phone as she was very sick and he was planning to take her to the cancer clinic early Monday.

Yesterday morning (May 19, 2008) after I was at work for a few hours I decided to call the cancer clinic hoping I could speak with her, as they usually put her on the phone with me when she is having an infusion. I called and the Doctor got on the phone almost immediately. They had just received a call from St. Mary’s Hospital. Her friend Goshi had carried her into the emergency room around 9:00AM and she died there at 9:27AM, of numerous complications of a horrible cancer that ravaged her body. My take is that she didn’t want to go into the hospital over the weekend, and knew she was dying, and when this time got close, Goshi got her out of the Residence Inn and to the hospital. All in all, probably the best way to deal with the situation.

It was a long day at work as my colleague was not there and the software I use for work wasn’t working and my mind wasn’t completely there. I left at 7:00PM and walked home through the Berkeley Hills and the fog and at home there was an envelope from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Laura’s Drivers License had arrived. All that nagging she hated from my mother and later me, about doing what you are supposed to do in life. Stuff I hated to remind her of but did, all of those “reality” elements I knew she never wanted to hear, and she in her very sick state at the last moment, went in there and got her drivers’ license so it would be a back-up for her to get to Reno. This because she was a true fighter in the face of this horrible disease.

I am so happy that she got her Drivers’ License, however wacky and insignificant that sounds. She wasn’t into being compliant, but when she wanted to do something, like live as long as possible or take steps to that end, she did it.

Here are some samples of my sister’s songs from her first Album in 1978. It sounds dated but it was her sound commercialized for the period.

I don’t need flowers, just your positive thoughts, as I try to pick up the pieces of my sister’s life, which I always tried to steer clear of, and try to treat what remains with dignity and a happy remembrance.



Sunday, May 11, 2008

1.2 million dollar condos

Condo shopping with a friend at the new Mercer complex in Walnut

Creek. Beautiful, serious luxury, rediculously expensive for the size

- ahh to be a young bachelor with money to burn.

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