Lauren and Tayden
By Andrew Sheeler
Did you know Lauren Lecomte? Plenty of you did, I’m sure. After all, she was a RA at McIntosh. She died on Feb. 3, 2009, of bulimia. Two years ago. Her father, Serge, wrote a book of poetry, called “Lauren at Two.” On the cover is Lauren, smiling at the camera. She was two years old. I see that picture on the cover and it makes me think of my own daughters. One of them, Tayden, just celebrated her birthday. She is two years old. I think about that, about Lauren, about the grief of a father losing a daughter, and I have to fight for every word of this editorial. This is personal.
I open the book. I’m staring at a picture of Lauren; she’s 20 in this one. She smiling, albeit reluctantly, as if it is more for our benefit than for hers. She strikes me as the kind of person who would reach out and comfort you even as she concealed a deep, personal pain. As it turned out, she was.
Flipping through the pages, I go on a journey through Lauren’s life. In “Resurrection,” Serge’s words paint a picture of Lauren’s birth and I’m there with him, watching my own daughters being born. In “A first visit to the dentist,” Lauren bites the finger of the appropriately named Dr. Payne. I remember my oldest daughter’s first visit, pacing the lobby with ears straining to hear what was going on in the dentist’s office.
The more I read about Lauren, the more she becomes like my own daughters and the more I identify with her father. Most of the poems in “Lauren at Two” were written while Lauren was alive, 13 were written after her death. The final poem in the book is perhaps the most comprehensive. It lays out Lauren’s life, and death, for all to see.
The Flowering of Lauren (1989-2009)
By Serge Lecomte
The gardener’s seed grew in a solitary spot
he watered and weeded.
A trunk emerged with branches out of season,
but no matter how much he prayed, the sun
never seemed to warm his tree.
He breathed on the plant to give it life,
and because he loved his tree with all his heart,
it gave him flowers of various shapes and colors.
People were amazed and told the gardener
how beautiful his creation was,
but the kind praises didn’t deter blight
from taking root.
The tree lived for several reasons,
losing its blooms and leaves.
Then its branches and trunk rotted from within.
The gardener’s heart was frantic to find a cure,
but none of the potions he tried
could revive his beloved tree.
When the people heard his creation had died,
they gathered at the gardener’s orchard
to know if the news was real.
When they saw nothing grew where once beauty
bloomed, they wept so much from love
that their tears awoke the spirit of the tree
as it grew back before their eyes.
The gardener rejoiced as he gave them
cuttings to make sure his tree would never die.
He asked them to call it the Lauren Tree.
You can get your own piece of the “Lauren Tree” at Gulliver’s Books, the Fairbanks Arts Association, Amazon Books and Kindle.