The Spokesman-Review : interns

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thuy: Dealing with death in the newsroom

Laura Crooks, one of our features editors, passed away this weekend from what started off as a household accident. She leaves behind her husband Gary Crooks (from editorial board, Smart Bombs columnist) her son C, age 9, and her daughter C, age 6.

The newsroom has been in a slump this week. Most of the newsroom went out this afternoon to attend a memorial service. We celebrated Laura's life by gathering, something she was immensely good at doing - and storytelling, also something she was immensely good at doing.

We heard stories from Laura's brother who talked about her childhood, coworkers from both her life in AZ and at the Review who remember how she balanced being a working mom while not losing sight of the important stuff. Then from neighborhood friends on her block who remember waiting for their children together at the bus stop or breaking bread together... all after we'd been seeing photos of her life. You'd think that 37 years is too early to die, but it's as if Laura knew ahead of time, filling her life with the quality and purpose that might fill the life of someone much older. She lived well and served others well.

It was difficult knowing she was lying in that big wooden box up front. It was a closed-casket service. I heard one of her children cry.

By the end of the service, by some appropriate wave of God's hand, it started to snow. They wheeled her out through the foyer and out the door on the first snow day of the season.

It's hard to ask what good will come out of someone's death, but something I have been seeing is the sense of community. It was a huge hypothetical huddle around the Crooks family. It won't just be in taking shifts to bring food and take care of the kids, but all the love and prayers and support.

Now I want to run up to everyone, hug them and say "I LOVE YOU AND HOPE YOU LIVE TO BE 100" I want to Post-it palooza everyone's cubicles with hopes and dreams and love.

We love you Laura.

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