“To have and to hold from this day forward,
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and health,
until death do us part.”
On June 12, 2010, those words were solemnly promised to each other by David and Lauren Chase. And in the years that followed, they were devotedly lived out. David and Lauren’s story can be summed up in two words: love and faith. From that June day six years ago, David and Lauren began their new life together, filled with the dreams all newlyweds share. On December 24, 2015, their sweet life together was turned upside down in an instant, boldly challenging them to learn the true meaning of those words so happily uttered in that Mississippi church.
David and Lauren Chase entered my life peripherally, as dear friends of my son and daughter-in-law. David and Mike worked together at a trading firm in Chicago and became fast friends. Lauren and Laura met soon after, and bonded instantly. As a parent, I was thrilled that Mike and Laura had befriended such a wonderful couple. Their friendship strengthened them through difficulties and, together, the two couples excitedly planned their futures. When Mike and Laura talked of moving to the suburbs, Lauren fell in love with the idea of owning a house with a backyard for their beloved dogs, Annie and Gabbie. David needed a little prodding to move out of the city, but Lauren and Laura were ready to plot their strategy. The foursome regularly dined out, attended Chicago Blackhawk Championship rallies, St. Patrick’s Day parades and Christmas Parades. In October 2015, just a few weeks before the anticipated Christmas Parade along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, Lauren traveled to Houston, to undergo surgery to donate a kidney to her twin sister, Leslie, who had suffered a rapid and inexplicable kidney failure. That might have been the first life Lauren saved. But not the last, in my opinion. Her swift recovery left everyone amazed. Almost two months to the day from her trip to Houston, Lauren stepped into an airplane en route to Florida, eager to spend Christmas with family and see her husband, who was to meet them there. That reunion never happened because the plane was forced to make an emergency crash landing minutes after take-off. Lauren was air-lifted to a hospital and suffered critical injuries. She was in a deep coma and underwent more surgeries than I could count. In time, her state of consciousness improved and with each baby step forward (for which we were absolutely thrilled), Lauren’s health would take an agonizing three steps back. She was in and out of hospitals and rehabilitation facilities in Memphis, Atlanta and Houston.
And here is where my line about Leslie’s life not being the last Lauren saved comes into play. Lauren’s progress was beautifully updated online regularly by David’s sister, Tara. I found myself checking my email several times a day for a new update and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. The updates were shared on social media thousands of times and in doing so, Lauren’s story became global. I wrote a blog a few months ago in an effort to reach more people, as well. These updates were filled, not only with Lauren’s latest medical miracle or setback, but were also woven with the beautiful love and devotion of her faith-filled husband as witnessed by family and friends. David is a very humble man who does not think he deserves praise for simply being the kind of husband God wants him to be. By sharing David’s strong faith and trust in God’s plan for them, his unending dedication to his ailing wife, his never leaving her bedside in over seven months, and his heartbreaking affectionate kisses with which he showered Lauren (as attested to by Mike and Laura when they visited Lauren), I know that people around the world were changed for the better. I believe with all my heart that sweet Lauren, who loved her husband more with each breath she took, who doted on her canine loves, Annie and Gabbie and who secretly sneaked fried foods when David wasn’t looking unknowingly played a profound role in God’s plan to bring more souls to heaven with her story.
On August 7, 2016, Lauren left this world. We are immensely saddened with this loss but rejoice in the knowledge that she is finally free. Goodbye sweet, beautiful Lauren. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
June 12, 2016 marked David and Lauren’s 6th wedding anniversary. On that day, David posted to Facebook this beautiful sentiment:
“Happy Anniversary, Lauren. Thank you for being so strong while God heals you. I love you more every day!
‘Then the Lord God said, ‘It’s not good that the human is alone. I will make him a helper that is perfect for him.’ – Genesis 2:19 CEB”
“Well done, God. She is perfect!”