Thursday, July 6, 2017

In Memorium: Dear Laura, Decantress and Scribe Extraordinaire

I'm not really sure how to start this, as I'm still rather reeling with the shock. On Saturday, the indie perfume community found out that our dear friend Laura, who has been decanting for NAVA for more than 8 years, passed away suddenly due to an illness. I'm not sure there are enough superlatives for me to describe this incredible lady, who made such an impact on our little world, but I hope, today, to do some honor to her, from my very fond memories of the friendship that she gifted me with.
I met Laura more than 3 years ago, when I was just starting my incredible discovery of the Nocturne Alchemy brand. I wasn't really sure where to start, and some kind souls pointed me in her direction, as she was decanting the current Limited Collection, as she always did. I found her Facebook group and Livejournal, and sent her an email. Hah! Gods bless her, she was gracious from the very first time I spoke with her. I told her that I was very, very new to NAVA and that I had never joined a circle before, could she offer a little guidance? And she did, she made things so very easy for me, and we started speaking regularly. I remember that she told me she loved my username! She was a big fan of the show The Walking Dead (see photo above, we are both Daryl fans, and I told her that my fiance is rather Daryl-esque in character). Well, that started us on a little path of long emails, and eventually we had a few phone conversations too! I always wanted to speak more with her but our schedules were opposite, so we only got to have a few marathon conversations on the phone. But I felt instantly connected with her, like we had known each other for years. I think Laura was one of those truly gifted and intuitive people who were able to make everyone comfortable, to make people feel really good while they were speaking with her. How incredibly lovely. I so enjoyed talking to her, about anything under the sun. And she knew my struggles with depression, without me going too deeply into it - and it always seemed to me that Laura was shining a light in my darkness. She always had something sweet to say, some kindness to pass on, something to make me laugh out loud. That was another thing - she had an absolutely fantastic sense of humor. I always enjoyed her posts on her Facebook or in her group. I enjoyed the little blurbs she wrote at the top of each circle for us as well. I'm remembering so many things she spoke of with such fondness, but overwhelmingly, it's her kindness, and the light in the dark that she held, I'm sure not just for me, but for many.
And she was an incredibly busy lady. She was professional, and organized, and she kept notes on quite a huge catalogue of NAVA perfumes. She started the NAVA Wiki after their fan forum was closed, and that in itself is quite the undertaking. Her journal has provided so many of us with notes for perfumes that we couldn't find elsewhere on the internet, she's left quite a legacy behind in our small world. She sent out the most wonderful packages. Everything was done just so, and there was always a little sniffie of something interesting, as well as something fun in keeping with the theme of that season or collection. My first package had tiny little pink umbrellas! I still have them and so many other little mementos from her in a little box. And I bought many a bottle or partial bottle from her sales entries, which was absolutely chock full of treasures. That was absolutely invalueable in helping me learn what notes I liked from NAVA, and whenever someone new asked about them, I would send them her sales page, saying that it's an excellent way to dip your toes in and find out what you like - because it was true.
I actually made her the graphic you see in my sidebar. She sent me the original graphic - so cute! - and I sent her what I had made, and she loved it. I had planned to make a few more for her in a variety of sizes, but I got sick and seemed to stay that way for almost a month after we moved, and hadn't got back into it. I actually had my graphics program open the day I found out she passed away, as I was going to get back into making my graphics - as you see, I'd redone my header for the blog, but not the css yet. I was planning on writing her a nice long email, because I know she'd been behind due to her internet being down, but was getting ready to start the new decanting for the grand reopening. I'm a little upset with myself I didn't get around to it. I think that we always live with some regrets when someone we love passes, and Laura made quite an impact on me, she was more than just a lady I bought perfume samples from, she was a very good friend.
Laura was preceded in death by the love of her life, her husband Bob. She talked about him quite a lot with me, and I felt really honored that she would share her story with me. That was very sweet and touching that she trusted her feelings with me, and I truly valued that.  I know, now, that she is with her love, and her precious cat, and she is happy. Her heart is full. Her body no longer aches, she's not tired, or lonely, or missing her husband any longer, she is at peace. And that's all I could truly wish for dear Laura. I will hold you in my heart, dear friend, and remember the gifts that you gave me, and I will hold the light now. Love you very much. Wish you peace, Laura.
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