On Sunday night I attended an Eliza-dance. What’s an Eliza-dance? Well, it’s when by some freak chance you get to wear sleeveless on the night of January 31 at an outdoor restaurant owned by an old friend, soundtracked with the best playlist of all-time to celebrate the life of a girl named Elizabeth who finally died of cancer the week before. Oh, yeah – and you dance your tush off.
This was Elizabeth’s wish: that her people put on an awesome dance party and celebrate. We did. There were a few tears and somber faces, but mostly people obeyed Elizabeth and shook it on the dance floor. I think the cherry on top of this whole event was seeing her mother (whose hair is just started to grow back from her own chemo journey) bust a move smack dab in the middle of the whole crowd.
I couldn’t bring myself to camp-dance level that night, but I appreciated those who could. I knew what lay ahead. And the next day, it came. The weather was freaky warm as we headed down to the Laguna Gloria Contemporary Museum. Somehow this was my first time to visit. It was exquisite and so Elizabeth. I have never seen so many people at a funeral. The music was lovely, the words pierced deep and the truth of it all was summed up in her sister’s words.
“My sister was a painter. And we, gathered here today, are her masterpiece.”
And it was true. Looking around at the talent, beauty and tried and true hearts for the Lord, one could never assemble a piece so profound. People flew in from other countries and states to celebrate a sister, friend, aunt, niece, daughter and cousin that is unlike any other human who has ever lived. If only Elizabeth could be reduced to eulogy words. My words would be that if life had a homecoming queen, it would be her. Now she is really home.
Here is her obituary, which does a decent attempt:
Elizabeth was a renaissance woman. She was fascinated by nature and the different people in her world. She refused to let difficult circumstances dictate her life. Instead she ordered her life according to her own creative principles. She had an innate way of making her environment more beautiful and a style that was completely her own. Her enthusiasm for art and her way of seeing was contagious. Jesus was the cornerstone of Elizabeth’s life and her faith inspires us always.
She was constantly aware of the feelings of her family and friends, without them having to say a thing. Elizabeth’s devotion to those she loved demanded that she give all her attention to the person in front of her. She shared the pain and successes of her community. Elizabeth was the most selfless person we know and she was a connector, always introducing new friends.
Elizabeth constantly created art, and was a frequent contributor to the East Austin Studio Tour. She communicated through her art and her faith. She sang and loved all types of music.
The cardinal is her spirit animal.
She will be deeply missed by her parents, Mimi and Bob Lodowski of Fredericksburg; her sister Sarah, husband Ben Kitchen and their son Benjamin of Austin; brother, Matthew, wife, Dagny and daughter Aubrey of Houston; brother, David, wife, Kerrie and children Thomas and Madeline of Cleveland, Ohio; and her love, Ryan Vaughn of Austin, Texas.
Elizabeth was born September 6th 1980 in Houston, TX. She attended River Oaks Baptist School, Episcopal High School, Texas A&M and CU Boulder. She was also a camper and counselor at Laity Lodge Youth Camp. – See more at here.
So, goodbye Elizabeth. Thank you for opening my eyes to wonder and beauty. I’m pumped to dance with you at the big banquet sooner or later.