I can still remember the very first time I met Lori. It was January 5, 2003, and I was in the choir room at
The next time I saw Lori we formally met each other and I was so intrigued by this girl who had grown up in
I didn’t have much time with Lori because in May she had to move back to Africa, but in the 5 months that I knew her, we became so close it seemed that I had known her my whole life. We had many sleepovers and hung out as much as possible. I remember one specific time when Lori and her parents came by the house because they wanted to introduce me to Lori’s older brother Marc. Lori had shown me his picture and I thought he was so cute and she promised that she would introduce me to him! When he walked in the door I’m sure my face turned all red and Lori just gave me this silly grin that screamed “Told ya so!” I was so embarrassed but Lori thought it was hilarious that I had a crush on her big brother!
For Lori’s 17th birthday, the youth at
When it came time for Lori to go back to
The year did go by somewhat fast though. Lori and I kept in touch through e-mails. She told me secrets about boys that I wasn’t allowed to share with anyone else. I felt so important to be worthy of hearing her secrets! She told me about her school in
When Lori came back to
We got together as much as we could that summer. One funny memory I have is of us trying to learn the VBS dance moves. My mom had a video of this funny man dancing, so Lori my mom and I all spread out in my living room and danced along with this strange man. It was a Japanese themed VBS and the dance moves were hilarious. We were laughing SO hard at each other and couldn’t even sing because we were laughing so much! Lori helped out at VBS that year and the two of us taught the second grade class together. Though VBS only lasted 3 hours a day, Lori and I would just look at each other like “When will this day be over??” Those kids wore us out! But we had a blast singing, dancing, and telling Bible stories.
In June Lori came to the beach with my family for several days. Some friends of ours have this huge beach house down in Beaufort and I was so excited to take Lori with us. The whole 3 hour drive down to the beach was filled with laughter- mostly my mom and I laughing at Lori’s hilarious stories- she always found something to talk about! And at one point my mom needed something from out of the trunk and Lori was in the back seat, so she pulled down the seat and crawled into the trunk while we were riding, looking for whatever it was. All I could see was Lori’s back side sticking out and I was afraid she was going to get stuck! After a few minutes of searching she finally came out with the item in hand and said, “Phew!!”
We had such a blast that week. We stayed in this really fun bedroom with all these bright colors and we had a big bathroom to ourselves, plus a huge front porch with white rocking chairs. We went swimming and kayaking, and laid out on the deck. We stayed up late talking- catching up on the whole years worth of girl talk we had missed. We explored Beaufort- walked around downtown and took a bike ride one day. I have never been much of a bike rider, so why we thought it would be a good idea to ride bikes down the busy sidewalks is still a mystery to me. So I was leading the pack and Lori was riding right behind me. At one point I was riding through a crowd and I got really nervous, so I flung my foot over the bike and nearly kicked a woman passing by. I looked back at Lori with a “oopsies” look and Lori could barely ride because she was laughing so hard. She said that woman gave me the meanest look ever! We pulled around the corner, hopped off of our bikes and laughed and laughed!
Lori was so sweet to my whole family. Some of my friends don’t really take an interest in getting to know my brothers, but Lori always did. She would tease
When we were at the beach, we decided to be really girly, so we went to the grocery store and bought facial masks and a manicure set. She did my nails and we put on the bright green masks, but Lori and I forced
Before I knew it, the summer was over and it was time to tell Lori goodbye once again. Lori was headed off to her freshman year at
When she came to NC the summer after her freshman year, I went to her house in Coats to spend the night and she gave me advice before I started college myself. She encouraged me to stay strong in the Lord and to meet as many people as possible.
One thing I loved about Lori is how honest she was. When she was struggling with a sin, she didn’t try to cover it up. In fact, she confessed it to people- and that’s what we’re supposed to do! I tend to hide it and pretend that it doesn’t exist, but not Lori. The Lori people saw was the real Lori. She was open about her struggles and her weaknesses and she wanted to use those things to help others in their walk with the Lord and hopefully prevent them from making the same mistakes that she did. I always admired this about her and still hope that I can be more like that one day.
When I started my freshman year at
While we were in college, I didn’t get to see Lori very often, but I don’t think that hurt our friendship. I’d always see her when she came to NC for a visit. She came to
I regret not spending more time with Lori. At one point we thought we might work at Mundo Vista together, but I ended up taking a summer missions position in
The last time I talked to Lori was on April 19th, 2008. She called and left a message saying that she was thinking of me and wanted to see how I was doing. She said I didn’t have to call her back or anything, but she had some free time and just thought she’d touch base with me. I called her back that night and we talked for a while. I hadn’t talked to her on the phone in several months and we had a lot to catch up on. She told me about her recent trip to
She said she had no idea what she was going to do next. Her friends were all still in school and she felt kind of distanced from them because they were in different stages of life. She was considering going overseas for a year to teach English, but wasn’t sure if that would work out. She loved helping people and was so compassionate. Whatever she ended up doing, she wanted to help others. She said she hated living so far away from her nieces and nephews while they were growing up. She adored them so much, like she adored the rest of her family.
She told me she had been sick for a while, but she didn’t make a big deal of it. She always brought the conversation back to me and asked how I had been, how my family was doing. Lori was so concerned about other people and even though she was sick, she didn’t spend time complaining about it.
I told her I was coming to Campbellsville May 18-21 for training for a camp and she was so excited. It had been over a year since I saw her last and I was so excited to see her in a few weeks! We giggled and talked about how fun it would be to be reunited, but this time it would be in Kentucky! She said she would make sure that she was there on those dates so we could be sure and hang out.
We talked about how the thing we love about our friendship is that we can go months without talking, but when we do talk, we just pick up right where we left off and it’s like no time has passed at all. She is one of the few friends I have who remained constant throughout time and distance. For the majority of my friendship with Lori we were not together physically, but we felt just as close as ever. She was a true life-long friend…one that would have for sure been in my wedding one day!
As the conversation ended that night we were still excited about seeing each other soon.
“I’ll keep those dates open,” she said.
“I can’t wait to see you Lori!”
“Me too, it’s been too long! I hope you have a good night, Meredith!”
“You too, Lori, and I hope you feel better soon!”
“Thanks, me too! Bye! Love you!”
“Love you too! Bye.”
If I had known that would be the last time I would hear her voice I would have never hung up that telephone. I would have talked to her for hours and days and told her how much I appreciate her friendship and what an amazing young woman she is. But I didn’t know.
My parents called me on April 26th and told me the terrible news about my dear friend. She died unexpectedly during the night. I can’t describe the way I felt at that moment. I was sitting outside studying in the middle of the academic circle. It was a beautiful day, but suddenly everything started spinning. I felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t speak, couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything. For several hours I couldn’t feel anything. It was like all of the emotion had left my body and I was left feeling like I was in a terrible nightmare. I called Lori’s cell phone and as it rang I prayed that she would answer. I just knew it had to be a misunderstanding. She couldn’t really be gone.
Throughout the next day the reality began to sink in and that’s when the overwhelming grief came. I cried until I had no energy left in my body. I looked back over our old e-mails and in my mind I replayed all of the memories I had with Lori. I’ve never lost someone this close to me before and it was difficult to know how to even begin to handle it. On top of the sadness I was feeling, I was even more overcome with sorrow for the Morrison family. Lori adored her family so much and was so close to them. My heart went out to Uncle Charles and Aunt Kaye and Angela, Mary, Jeff and Marc. I cannot imagine the amount of pain and grief they are experiencing and I hurt for them all so much.
It’s hard to look on the bright side of a situation like this. It seems so unfair and so wrong. 22-year-old girls are not supposed to die like this. Not when they are loving and compassionate and kind and full of life. But I can’t change what happened. It is so wonderful to have the assurance that Lori is with Jesus now. I can’t grieve for her because she is so happy now! I can just imagine Lori up in Heaven right now. She’s probably sitting on Jesus’ lap staring at Him in awe. I bet she’s dancing and singing her heart out up there, completely satisfied and care-free. She doesn’t have to worry about her future anymore. No more worries about being jobless and all the good men being taken. She is at home. I guess I’m a little jealous of her. I can’t wait to see her again. I am going to miss her so much. Maybe God will put our mansions right next to each other so we can still have sleepovers!
Lori Anne Morrison was an absolutely beautiful young woman. She touched my life in a special way and I treasure the memories and the friendship that I shared with her. Lori touched so many lives- people all over the world were impacted by her big smile and her friendly personality. I will miss her dearly and I will never ever forget her and the legacy of love she left on this earth.