Trivium Pursuit

The Story of Laurie, Chapter One

Dear Readers,

Six months ago my wife Laurie passed from this life into glory, is now made perfect, and is ranked higher than an angel. Good for her. Not so easy for me.

Laurie had handled all of the internet stuff — blogs, emails, etc. Now it’s my job. I’m slowly finding the pieces and putting them together.

I am posting here the first “chapter” in The Story of Laurie. It has already appeared somewhere on Facebook. (One of my daughters handles that). It belongs here. Chapter Two will soon follow.

Harvey

The Story of Laurie

Laurie Marie (Melos) Bluedorn: April 2, 1952 – July 27, 2020

Chapter One: The End

The Lord called my wife, Laurie, home at 6:30 am on Monday, July 27, 2020. She went peacefully. You couldn’t have choreographed it any better.

I suppose I could write a book about her and about our many experiences together, but for now I will simply write a few random episodes in our life. It seems to me appropriate to begin at the very end. First I’ll tell you something about how she died. Later, I’ll tell you a little about how she lived.

Cancer

Laurie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer over three years ago. She was in and out of treatment for three years. At the time the corona virus panic set in, she was overdue for treatment. She was denied treatment for three months. We learned later that during those three months the cancer was spreading into her bladder, and was compromising her kidneys. Her developing pain eventually forced us to the emergency room where all was revealed. She had emergency surgeries in the hospital, but being isolated, she was forced to make all decisions on her own. She came back home on hospice care – we didn’t understand that meant there would be no further medical intervention. When further problems developed, the hospice nurse advised us to drop out of hospice and go to the emergency room at the hospital. We switched from OSF in Peoria to Genesis in the Quad Cities, and we sought the advice of a different cancer doctor. He was like an angel of mercy, and greatly helped us with handling her many needs. He did some tests, found a treatment which had some chance of working, which normally had minimal side effects, and if it worked, he had personally witnessed some swift and dramatic turn-arounds. We would know whether it was working within a week or so of beginning treatment. We applied to the insurance for approval of the treatment. We did not expect the treatment would be approved. When we finally learned that the treatment had indeed been approved, it was then too late

The End

The last few weeks, my three daughters rotated turns being with me in caring for Laurie’s needs. They all deserve nursing certificates. The last week was especially difficult because Laurie was losing her ability to communicate. I first noticed it in her writing. Then she had difficulty handling the phone and the computer. Then she had trouble just talking. Then it became an effort for her to hold things. She finally let us feed her and give her drink. She slept a lot. She ate her last about Saturday noon. She drank her last late Saturday afternoon. As I was holding her, she whispered her last words to me, “I love you.” I told her that if she has any influence on this world from the other side, please send me help, because I was going to need it. She never opened her eyes again until the very end. Saturday night, a couple came and sang hymns to her. The last thing a person loses is the hearing. We could tell she heard the hymns and wanted to sing along. Sunday she just slept. Sunday evening she began breathing more deeply. I always slept near her, and about 3:00 am Monday morning I could hear her voicing as she breathed. I thought she might be in pain, so I sat up with her for a while. At 4:30am my daughter awoke me to tell me Laurie had just thrown up. It was what we had fed her Saturday. We cleaned her up, then we called the hospice nurse on duty who happened to live only a few minutes away. She came over, took vital signs, then told us it was usually about three days or so from the last time they eat or drink until they die. She suggested a slight dose of morphine under the tongue would help Laurie breathe. The nurse left. We sat and watched a short while. We saw her eyes moving like she was trying to open them. We both left the room for only a couple of minutes, but when we returned, she was no longer breathing. We called the nurse back. Laurie’s troubles were now over.

Laurie leaves behind myself (Harvey, her husband) her five children (Nathaniel, Johannah, Hans, Ava, Helena), 8 grandchildren (1 adopted), and 4 foster grandchildren (potential adoptions).

Memorials

Laurie donated her remains to the University of Iowa Hospital.Laurie loved flowers, and she loved to feed the birds. In front of our house we have a circle of flowers surrounding a bird feeder. I call this the Laurel Wreath.

On the back of the house I had intended to eventually extend the deck and attach a long planter to the railing where Laurie could plant flowers and herbs like she had in her flower garden. When I build that deck with planter, I will call it Laurie’s Ledge.

A couple years ago, we reduced the size of Laurie’s flower garden behind the house from huge (50’ X 50’) to large (20’ X 40’). This year, we planted fruit trees where the larger flower garden had been. This fall, I will seed what remains of the flower garden over with grass, and next spring I will plant more fruit trees there. This will be Laurie’s Orchard.

Many months in advance, with no thought of her death, Laurie had bought four chestnut seedlings. The day after she died happened to be the day that she had arranged for us to finally pick them up, which I did, and the very next day I planted them across the back of our yard. They say they can grow as high as a hundred feet and live as long as eight hundred years. So I call them Laurie’s Legacy.

On the northwest corner of our property we planted five maple trees, after our five children. Laurie’s Litter.

So when I’m gone, and the property passes to another, I expect much of these memorials will remain for many more years, and her children and grandchildren can drive by and remember her.

19 Responses to “The Story of Laurie, Chapter One”

  1. Rosemary Says:

    Thank you.

  2. Stephanie Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of Laurie’s passing. Both you, Harvey and Laurie have been so influential in the way I have homeschooled my 7 children over the years. I have had so many new homeschool moms ask me for advice and I always just give them your blog address and forward the emails Laurie had sent me when I had so many questions. You both took me from being a flustered and confused homeschool mom and encouraged me to be a confident one, trusting in the Lord to equip me and lead me.
    I cannot thank you enough.
    I will miss Laurie’s blog posts. Your family will be in my prayers. God bless you all!
    -Stephanie Gaddis
    Louisville, Kentucky

  3. Nadeen Wincapaw Says:

    My daughters and I visited you & your family in 2003 after I read your book Teaching the Trivium. Laurie remembered us when I reached back out a couple of years ago. I am in tears reading this and heartbroken for your family. You showed me a different path and “mentored” us in ways you cannot imagine. Thank you so much.

  4. Jean Johnson Says:

    Beautifully written! My heart breaks for you and your family. I pray that God will hold you all in the palm of His hand. May His grace, peace and comfort surround you now and in the days, months, and years ahead. God bless you all.

  5. Karen McLain Says:

    I only ever knew your prescious wife from her posts on Facebook and from this site. I grew to love and admire her so much. I thank you for sharing your story of her. You and your family are in my prayers. Though we never met personally, your wife brought joy to my life and I can’t wait to meet her for real in Heaven one day.

  6. Stephanie Ferguson Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I look forward to getting to know her in person one day in glory, but I am so thankful for the education I have received by both her & you over my years of discipling our children, and what a joy for me to get to learn more about you both personally in this writing. THANK YOU for sharing this with us. You did not have to do that.

  7. jan levine Says:

    So, so sorry💔 I love you and your site, I’ve put it allover any social media I was using. Deepest condolences to you and your family. Jan

  8. Lea Muir Says:

    Hi Harvey

    I’m so sorry to hear about Laurie. I live in Scotland and have been following you guys for a number of years now. I was thankful to have found you with regards to homeschooling.
    It isnae that big over here so ye were a big help to me! Laurie had a beautiful personality and I’m sure wi that head of hair of hers there must have bin sum scottish blood.
    Loved her humour and passion for homeschooling and truthfulness. She always did say some days are just a bit different and you canny do it. And now you will be having those days where you just canny do it. And that’s alright. I’m praying for you and your family. I sit here with my eyes filling up. However, I just want to tell you that she, together with you, changed my life. God Bless you and He cares deeply for you and I’ll see you one day.

    P.S Its freezing over here.

  9. Lea Muir Says:

    Hi Harvey

    I’m so sorry to hear about Laurie. I live in Scotland and have been following you guys for a number of years now. I was thankful to have found you with regards to homeschooling.
    It isnae that big over here so ye were a big help to me! Laurie had a beautiful personality and I’m sure wi that head of hair of hers there must have bin sum scottish blood.
    Loved her humour and passion for homeschooling and truthfulness. She always did say some days are just a bit different and you canny do it. And now you will be having those days where you just canny do it. And that’s alright. I’m praying for you and your family. I sit here with my eyes filling up. However, I just want to tell you that she, together with you, changed my life. God Bless you and He cares deeply for you and I’ll see you one day.

    P.S Its freezing over here.(scottish folk always complain about the weather),

  10. Alexandra Says:

    Laurie has been on my mind, here and there, the past six months. I was not aware of her passing to glory. We had been in touch on Facebook for awhile, but then I was no longer there.

    Your family has encouraged me through the years. I remember the first time I read the “Ten Things to Teach Your Child Before Ten,” which I picked up during a homeschool conference in Florida in 1996. I was pregnant with my first child and attending with my MIL, because I was going to be helping homeschool my husband’s siblings.

    I know your family’s early influence in my parenting led to assumptions which just became so ingrained that I wouldn’t have been able to trace them back to you!

    We have our second set of little children, and so have returned to many of the basics of homeschooling and parenting. In recent years I’ve been encouraged again — both by Laurie via FB messages and your resources. (Oh, we love Johannah’s books!)

    Praying for you and your family during this time of grieving and adjusting.

    Alexandra

  11. Catherine Says:

    Years ago, when we were first starting our homeschooling, I was wondering how we could approach classical education from a Biblical perspective, with a focus on the Lord. I wished someone understood my concerns about the amount and type of attention given to pagan gods. Was I being silly? I didn’t think so, but my concerns were so readily dismissed by those ahead of me on the journey…I remember picking up Teaching the Trivium. It was an answer to prayer.

  12. Catherine Says:

    Your family’s work and efforts have been a blessing to ours. Thank you for sharing with us, and for investing in us – so many people whom you have never met. Laurie was a gift. Is a gift.

  13. Dave Roller Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I gave been following this blog for many years and wondered why the last post was in April. My family will be praying for your family.

  14. Ruth Says:

    What a legacy Laurie has left behind. And how beautiful of you to honor her with some of the things she most loved. My heart breaks at the thought of the brutal journey your family had to take with her at the end. How wonderful to know that we serve a sovereign God. That, painful as it was, if it could have transpired in any better way, He would have brought that about. May the Comforter be with you every moment of every hour. With love and prayers from Brazil.

  15. Jorge Chapas Says:

    We are very Sorry! God gives you strength and consolation.

    From Guatemala. Your friends.

    Jorge Chapas & Vanessa Wittig de Chapas

  16. Heather Says:

    I am sorry for the great loss you are feeling. I have been praying for you. I am so thankful that Laurie is with our Lord experiencing what we cannot even comprehend, and one day we, His redeemed, will all be there forever!
    Thank you for your words. I appreciate all you wrote. You and Laurie have been such a blessing in my life and our family’s life for so many years.
    I will continue to pray for you, my brother in Christ. My heart weeps for you.

  17. Anna Medina Says:

    During all the struggles of last year, I am sorry for her passing however we know that she is in glory. I thank the Lord for both of you. Here in Southern California I am grateful for your friends that carry the torch Marty and Carolyn Forte. You have impacted my family and may it be all for Gods Glory. Thank you Lord for Laurie. Anna from Los Angeles.

  18. Kari Vanhoozer Says:

    I needed this update. Thank you for sharing Laurie with us all these years.

  19. Pauline Abello Says:

    Your book on classical education changed my life. Laurie was an amazing woman. So sorry to hear of her passing.

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