Lauren Astley was so much more than the lovely photos of her in the media could possibly capture (“After tears, recalling a loyal friend,” Globe West, March 17). Beyond her beauty she was this simply adorable bundle of energy. She was feisty, opinionated, spunky, strong, intelligent, and very funny. We all miss her tremendously, and there is deep pain in our hearts not just because she is gone but in the violent and cruel way that she was murdered by someone for whom she had once cared.
As a parent, I have been lifted up by the strength and dignity of how her closest friends, our daughter Ariel, Gen Flynn, Hannah Blahut and Chloe Jacques, along with many other classmates, have managed to navigate this traumatic event. They have been there for each other and for her wonderful parents and their own parents. They have helped us all heal. In spite of their grief and heartbreak, they were all strong and headed off to college just months after losing Lauren. They managed not to just be there but to do well and live full lives. So often over the past 20 months leading up to the trial, they have gathered together, often with either Mary or Malcolm, Lauren’s parents, and are able to remember her with endless stories of happier times. Although there are often tears, the overwhelming effect of these gatherings is usually the laughter that comes with any story involving Lauren.
I know Ariel and the girls want Lauren to never be considered as anyone less than the strong and independent person they knew and loved. She was the victim of a heinous crime but not a victim in any other sense. Lauren was living her life to the fullest degree. She was happy, surrounded by loving friends and family. She loved life and could hardly wait to begin college in the fall. She was small in stature but mighty in personality.
I think that I am speaking for all of the girls and their families when I say that we sincerely hope that in considering donating to the Lauren Dunne Astley Fund, people will remember that in addition to the focus on violence against women, funding programs related to both the arts and community service are an equally important part of Lauren’s legacy.