On Monday April 11th at St. Bede's Episcopal church in Menlo Park we gathered for Lueza's funeral service. I had driven by the church so many times and because it was beautiful and close to her hospital I always thought that it would be the right place to come together and honor her life. We are very grateful to them for welcoming us and Lueza. We are grateful to our families and friends for being there and for Dora's class and many of the parents and teachers. We are grateful to Father Hinds and Chaplain Salying and Paul Ellison, Mr. Chen and Reverend Jane.
Thank you so much for being here.
We are so grateful to be able to share Lueza with our friends and family and with our extended families of St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School, the Bridge School and the Avalon Academy. We thank St. Bede's church for opening their beautiful church to us.
Lueza died very suddenly on Monday morning. She died at home. She had been very sick with respiratory illness on and off for the past 40 months but she always made it through thanks to her doctors at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. They saved her life many times and figured out how to improve the quality of her life. Because of Dr. Robinson and the Pulmonary team she got all of this extra time with us.
We knew her life was very fragile.
We knew how much she had been through.
We knew her life would not be long.
But we are in shock.
That was the bad news.
Lueza's life was a miracle to us. She survived a massive brain injury at birth but her spirit and love were not affected.
Lueza loved life and was surrounded by people who loved her. To us she was a completely "normal" child. Her sense of humor was a bit darker than most and she loved stories about death and she flirted wildly with married men. Other than that she was a happy teenager who was passionate about movies and music and friends and roller coasters.
Lueza was joyful. She woke up every morning smiling. She loved me and Jacek and Dora. She loved her half-brother Mikolaj. She adored Janie, my best friend and cousin. She loved Vilma and Jill and Sebiha and Ann and Berna and Dr. Robinson. She was crazy for her Aunt Connie and Ciocia Jola and Bozena and Uncle Rich and Nanny and Grand Dad and Uncle John. When she met my dear friend Harry she fell in love with him on the spot because he's so handsome. And kind.
Lueza loved going to the hospital. Everybody always remembered her. When I was there to visit other friends' kids, people would stop me in the hall and point to me and say: "Lueza...right?" The hospital was our special place. Chaplain Carolyn and Sandy and Carly the pain management dog.
I knew they were all worried about Lu but she made THEM feel better because of her joy and equanimity. I googled that word this morning and it is the word for Lueza.
We moved here because of Neil and Pegi Young and the Bridge School. I discovered it "accidentally" while reading a New York Times at Einstein bagel shop across from United Cerebral Palsy pre-school. A story of sublime synchronicity.
When it was time to transition from Bridge we were ready.
When it was time to leave our local public school we were ready and the amazing Avalon Academy had been started by what we call the "Goddesses of Avalon". Annie and Kinga and Lynette. Lueza was surrounded by the finest group of teachers and aides and friends.
We are so grateful.
We have been blessed with schools.
We have been blessed with helpers.
We thank the St. Matt's moms who have taken Dora whenever we had a crisis with Lu.
We have been blessed with doctors. Dr. Buchner, Dr. Peoples, Dr. Mogul, Dr. Mark, Dr. Long, Dr. Blankenburg and Dr. Robinson
We are grateful for our life with Lueza.
The words I need to say:
Be grateful for this life.
Be awake to the love that is around you.
You have all surrounded us with love and food and flowers. Thank you.
We loved Lueza for 16 and a half beautiful years.