Letter from Caroline

I am Caroline Litzenberger

  • I was Lauren’s Graduate Advisor in the PSU History Dept
  • I was probably responsible for her insistence on the importance of the year, 1534!
  • I met Lauren 4 years ago when she came to PSU to study history
  • She was interested in studying women involved in the cloth trades in England in the early 17 th century, particularly the interactions between those born in England and those from France and the Low Countries
  • She pursued this interest with diligence and creativity, even spending time in London doing research summer before last, when her disease was in remission

As I began to prepare these reflections, I contacted others at PSU – faculty and grad students – who had known Lauren to ask what had stood out for them

Professor John Ott’s response echoed my own thoughts:

  • We were both impressed by her refusal to allow her illness to become an excuse for her efforts
  • She admitted that it interfered with her work and felt bad about it, but did not make herself a martyr for it.

Grad student, Kelly Oreskovich, said,

  • What struck me was how positive and hopeful she was about her illness
  • She was so matter of fact about it when she spoke of it – how it had changed her world – but she never seemed to let it bring her down.

Another grad student, Briana Rogers remarked on Lauren’s commitment to her studies Nick Walden Poublon, was probably the grad student who knew Lauren best.

  • He and Lauren talked a lot before and after one of my classes last spring.
  • He said, “We were both studying English history, both dreaming of running away to London, and hopeful about our future careers in the field of history.”
  • They promised each other that they would see each other again in the Fall, and he says, “I believed it because I knew she believed it.”
  • When he didn’t see her then, he says, “a big part of me hoped that she had really run away to London.”
  • Reflecting on her struggles with her illness, he said, “She continued her education with strength and dedication without knowing what the future held – it simply didn’t matter, she was doing what she wanted to do.”
  • He continued, “It is because of her that I realize how necessary it is to keep doing what matters, to follow through no matter what obstacles get in the way.”

For all of us who knew Lauren at PSU, her courage was inspiring, her hope a bright beacon shining for all to see.

To quote Professor Ott,

“In so many ways … she exemplified strength in suffering, dedication to getting better, and a never-say-quit attitude.”

During these past several months, I visited Lauren a number of times I was so moved by her courage and by her hope.

I am an Episcopal Priest, as well as a history professor, and Lauren talked with me about her faith:

  • Her very clear sense that God was with her in her fight against her disease
  • Her abiding awareness of God’s love surrounding her and stirring within her
  • And her sense that it was God working through her that gave her the strength and courage and hope that we all saw so clearly and found so inspiring

Now she is with God

And my prayer for her is that God’s everloving arms are, and always will be, enfolding her and carrying her forward in life everlasting. Amen.