My sister-in-law, Lori Eoriatti, passed away in January of this year. Lori suffered from aplasitc anemia and was only 38 years old at the time of her death. Written with a grateful heart, today’s entry is dedicated and inspired by Lori.
Lori lived an amazing life, or perhaps it is better to say Lori lived life amazingly well. Finding joy in the moment, laughing as loudly and as often as possible, befriending everyone and anyone…that was Lori. Beautiful inside and out Lori could strap on a pair of heels and paint the town red or pull on some work boots and stomp through the horse corral. Incapable of pretense Lori was Lori with all people and in all places.
About five years ago Lori was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, and her way of life changed almost immediately. Her compromised immune system forced extroverted Lori to stay away from groups of people and limited her activities. She spent more hours alone. The courses of treatment included receiving platelets and blood. She spent many hours in the hospital hooked to bags of plasma.
Her diet changed, her lifestyle changed, and she had virtually no control over any of it; or so it would have seemed.
Hours alone became hours of solitude for Lori to read scripture and pray for strength for herself and those she loved. While fresh platelets and blood coursed into her body she made friends with the nurses and read books by Christian authors. Pursuing treatment thousands of miles away from home without family or friends, Lori sought out an opportunity to volunteer. She packaged boxes for a homeless shelter. It was something she could do alone and positively affect the lives of other people. No matter how many lemons life handed her, she found new ways to make lemonade.
Lori’s body weakened, but her faith strengthened. The disease had no control over her faith or God’s grace. Her faith became enormous, inspiring, and contagious. People lauded Lori’s faith and courage, but Lori always gave the glory to God insisting that without Him she would have neither. She prayed for healing, but she welcomed God’s will with confidence. She amazed us.
Lori became what Jesus calls us to be in Matthew 5: 14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
In the darkness, Lori’s faith was the light. I imagine like most of us the flame, at first, was small and flickering barely visible in the depths of the darkness, but Lori took action. She prayed, she read scripture, and she drew close to God. God blessed her faith, and Lori’s flame grew into an enormous bonfire inviting others to enjoy the light and the warmth offered to us through deep faith in God. And that is how I like to picture Lori; seated in a lawn chair, her great smile stretched across her face, inviting people to pull up a chair and light a candle of their own. Lori always did enjoy a good party.
“If you are what you are meant to be, you will set the world on fire.”
– Saint Catherine of Siena