“Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.” ― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed link
I didn't know Lauren Hugelmaier personally but I knew her by sight. She was even more beautiful in person than she is in her pictures. I know you would remember seeing her as well. She was full of life which was punctuated by her incredibly joyful smile. It was one of those smiles that was so infectious that you would smile just seeing it. I know because I did and so did many others.
She loved children and spent a lot of time in her wonderful church home, Hope Lutheran Church, serving the kids as a teacher and mentor. How those kids were blessed to have known her and how hard it must be for them to understand…
"We should not be here," said the pastor as he and the other pastors presided over her funeral. Yes, it is sad when old people die but it is expected. Who can fully grasp being present for a funeral for a beautiful, young life, senselessly cut short?
The church was packed and everyone I saw was clutching tissues. There is much to be said for being in a church in which people know each other as so many knew Lauren and her family. The kindness, skill and love of the pastors was evident as they somehow managed to bring hope into the middle of grief and disbelief. For days, I have pondered how difficult it must be to counsel a family in the midst of such a tragedy. I asked one pastor about that and he told me that such is the time to fall back on the words of Scripture when you have no words of your own.
Sadly, the circumstances surrounding Lauren's death have found their way into the news media around the globe. Grieving in private is next to impossible in this context. May God give this dear family strength to walk this difficult road.
As most of our readers know, The Wartburg Watch is a blog which stands with victims and their families. For those of you who have not heard this story in the news (I do not know how one could avoid it), the following link will provide an overview of the tragedy. I do not wish to review those details here since it is possible that those close to the situation may read this.
Warning: Contents are disturbing
Overview from the News and Observer (Local Raleigh newspaper)
Victims' advocates around the globe are standing with the Hugelmaier family
As reports of the tragedy spread quickly, a number of victims' advocates, doubting the story of "the cold medicine made me do it," began researching and uncovering what some are calling a "secret life" on the part of Phelps. The two of us are heartened by the efforts of those advocates to bring light into this situation in order that justice may be served. No, they are not gossips. They care deeply for those who suffer because many of them have walked this path as well. So they use their skills to bring infomration to light to help victims and their families.
Once again, instead of discussing the details, we are providing the links to the stories so you can read the details for yourself.
Warning: Contents are disturbing.
High profile attorney, Joseph Cheshire, will make sure that his defense of his client gets maximum social media coverage.
Phelps pleaded not guilty in a court appearance. He could face the death penalty or life without parole for his crime of 1st degree murder. His attorney, Joseph Cheshire, was the attorney in the Duke Lacrosse case. He also was the attorney for the pedophile, Doug Goodrich, who molested teen boys at Providence Baptist Church.
The other factor which makes this an even more high profile situation is there will likely be involvement of the Bayer Company which makes Coricidin, the medicine that Phelps allegedly took.
Although we believe that everyone is entitled to the best defense possible, we also know that the tactics which could be employed by the defense could be hurtful to Lauren's family and friends. For example, have you noticed the distancing employed with calling Lauren *a young lady*? She has a name and she was more than just a young lady in Phelps' life.
Matthew’s family and all of us at my firm really send our deep condolences to the family of the young lady.
I cannot begin to imagine how hard it will be for the family to relive this over and over again. I am sure that they have received good counsel.
TWW stands with the family of Lauren Hugelmaier.
After considering the evidence presented on Phelps' media accounts, we believe that it was not Coricidin that *caused* or is responsible for this horrific act. Even Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent, agrees.
However, this medicine made me do it. That’s not an uncommon way for people in his position to respond.”
It is our hope and prayer that truth and justice will be served. It doesn't bring Lauren back to her family, but it does help to provide some closure for those who loved her. Her family and friends have our prayers and sympathy. If there is anything we can do to be of assistance, we are here and our website is at their disposal.
Many have asked if there is something concrete that can be done for the family. Given the high profile nature of this situation, we believe that the family may incur a number of expenses. A family friend set up this fund for the family who I know will use this money wisely. No one asked us to do this. I happened to find the fund while doing some research for this post.
Here is information provided on the fund's page.
Lauren Hugelmaier's life tragically ended on September 1, 2017. She was only 29 years old. As we grieve Lauren's loss, there are financial challenges that lie ahead. This fund will be used to help ease the financial burden for her grieving family. Any amount big or small will be greatly appreciated.
When you get to this part of the post, would you stop for a moment and pray for this dear family? While you do, listen to this song "Legacy", which was played during Lauren's funeral because it was her favorite song.
To Lauren's family: she did leave a legacy, and many people now know about this outstanding young woman who loved God, kids, and her family and always had a smile that lit up any room she entered. She will be terribly missed!
According to the many articles I have read, the family wishes for Lauren to be known by her maiden name, Lauren Hugelmaier, which makes a whole lot of sense. Also, please be considerate in your comments. Our hope is that Lauren's family will know that many people from all over the world are standing with them in their time of grief.