A Beautiful Child

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

In Loving Memory of
Lauren Sarene Key

If Tears Could Build A Stairway,

And Memories A Lane,

I'd Walk Right Up To Heaven

And Bring You Home Again!

Posted by Missing Lauren :: 8:53 PM ::

As I sit and think about Lauren, so many sweet, wonderful memories come to mind. When she visited with her dad, her favorite thing to do was to have a tea party!

In her room was a small table and chairs with her tea set. There were many dolls, some were gifts to her from her great-grandmother....a collection that passed along to Lauren before her great-grandmother died. When Lauren was given the larger blonde doll for her birthday, it quickly became her favorite, but all of her toys took second place when it was tea time!

When Cam learned Lauren was his daughter no one could have been happier. All he talked about was the little girl he knew to be his little baby. He began to change. There was a new gait to his walk and a new fullness of his chest as he proudly proclaimed he had a little girl! Yet, this beautiful child, whom he learned he had fathered in February, 1999, was not allowed to see him. Cameron Brown became a man on a mission....to meet his daughter.

He wanted to see her smile, touch her skin and hear her laugh. There wasn't a moment's hesitation, and he became impatient when he was told by Sarah he couldn't. That simply wouldn't do! He had his doubts that he was her father until the tests had been completed. He could never go back and change the consequence of having had those doubts before. He could never regain what was lost because of those doubts, but as soon as he realized Lauren was his little child, he swelled with pride and was driven by a new desire. He contacted an attorney to find out what he could do in order to see the child he now knew he had fathered. He was advised to go to Family Court in Orange County. He made one contact and appointment after the other until he finally met with a facilitator who worked with him to get visitation. By now it was already April, 1999, and Cam had still not been allowed to see his daughter.

By September the case had been heard in Family Court and Cam agreed to a schedule established by Sarah so that he could finally meet his daughter. It had been seven long months of waiting, and at this point, nothing else mattered. His mother went with him shopping for gifts to bring to Lauren at their long anticipated meeting. Cam bought Lauren dolls and a baby carriage and anxiously drove to a park near Lauren's home where he was scheduled to meet with Sarah and Lauren. The meeting time came and went but they never showed up. Disappointed and discouraged, Cam returned home. It was October before a meeting was finally arranged again.

It took some doing to finally arrange his first visit with Lauren, but it was a day he will never forget. He was described by friends and family as floating on clouds. His life would never be the same. Yes, knowing he had a child thrilled him, but finally looking into the eyes of the most beautiful child in the world was overwhelming. As he knelt down to wait for her to approach him, she playfully snapped a picture of him. Cam fell in love. The smiling, playful child looked him in the eye and all doubt Cam ever had was erased in an instant and replaced with pure elation. If only he had not had reason to doubt. If only. If only. If only.

The first meeting was short, but they quickly agreed on a second meeting. Cam walked away with his head held higher, his chest puffed out further, and his dreams of a future with his little daughter the only thing that mattered. He left the first meeting already anxiously looking forward to the next.

Sarah came to the second meeting with pictures of Lauren for Cam to keep. Among those pictures was the one Lauren had taken of him at their first meeting. Patty tells of what happened the night of that second meeting. Cam sat down at the table and put the pictures of Lauren in front of him. He sat there for a very long time looking at the pictures and touching her little face that beamed back at him. The memory is firmly embedded in her mind and brings a huge smile to her face as she reflects on watching Cam beam from ear to ear in amazement.

Each time Cam met with Lauren he anxiously awaited the next meeting. He simply could not get enough of the beautiful child whose eyes reflected back into his and gave him such enormous pleasure. When he was home, he could be found with Lauren's picture in front of him looking lovingly at the little girl who had won his heart so completely. As time went on and the visitation periods increased, Patty lovingly recalls watching Cam sit with Lauren as they had tea parties. Cam is a tall man, but he became even taller when he was with Lauren. He would proudly take her to meet his friends, and she sat on his lap as they watched television. The love between them was intoxicating, and Patty has a special glow remembering the moments they shared together.

A horrible accident took Lauren's life. Cam is a very sensitive person who doesn't always find the words to express what he is feeling, but his heart was on his sleeve after he met Lauren. His heart was crushed when she died. With the exception of Patty, all of the things that were once so important to Cam became unimportant. He stopped surfing, except on rare occassions, and many of the other outdoor activities he had enjoyed all of his life. He would find it difficult to sleep because he couldn't help but think what he might have done to keep the accident from happening. If only he had made a different choice that day. If only his mom had agreed to his request to take Lauren to see her. If only Lauren had not been so upset that day, and if only he had not chosen to take her to a place he felt was peaceful and relaxing. If only. If only. If only.

Lauren was an extraordinary child. Nothing can be done to lessen the sense of loss and the unimaginable pain suffered by so many, especially her mother. She brought something very good and very special into the lives of many. Lauren was easy to love and very difficult to live life without. Cam was so proud of her. He carried a picture of her in his wallet that became very tattered from taking it out so often to show to whomever would look.

You were loved, Lauren, and you will never be forgotten. May God's light always shine on those who have suffered such a tragic loss.

Posted by Missing Lauren :: 11:19 AM ::