Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tribute to Laurie Skadberg

Tribute to Laurie Skadberg
July 30, 1953– May 30, 1985

My sister passed before I wanted her to. However, the impact of her, my memories of her and what I realized from her death have very much shaped my life and my commitment to my own life. She still, after 22 years, is fresh in my mind. And that is good. Laurie was an amazing person. And this book is partly about sharing her impact on my life and hopefully the lives that have been touched subsequently.

I just found this letter and poem in 2007. I don't remember writing it. I believe the year must have been 1996 or 1997. I was suffering from chronic back pain that regular doctors had no remedy for. I went to a wonderful kinesiologist named Ann and that began my recovery, which essentially was that I had acquired an allergy to wheat. The poem pretty much speaks for itself.

The letter I wrote is included first. Now I'm glad to report I think that allergy is going away - it is nice to be healing.

Sometime in 1997.
My sister Laurie committed suicide May 30, 1985. This experience contributed to my growth as a person in so many ways. Every year for about 12 years, around the anniversary of her death, I dealt with considerable issues until I discovered a book entitled "Closer to the Light", a book of several case-studies of near death experiences. It relieved a great deal of the suffering, However, Laurie is still very close in my mind. I even had another direct contact from her in 2008. That story is relayed in the blog posting "Laurie's Angel" (p. 38).

This letter was with the poem that I wrote to Laurie in 1997.

Dear Laurie,
I’m sorry. I can’t believe it has been so long that I am still working through your death. What a mix of confusing feelings. I still am mad that you killed yourself and then on the other hand I feel like I may have been at fault. I am sorry that I didn’t write to you. When I used the excuse that I didn’t like to write to you because it made me miss you – I think there was some truth.

However, I also felt like I was lying too. I was confused. I think at some level I was just too lazy to write.

Recently I realized that I have some guilt that maybe by me not writing that you didn’t feel that you were loved and that’s why you killed yourself. Intellectually, I am pretty sure that is not the case and I know no matter what I must let go of the guilt of the past. And I know that you would not want me to punish myself anymore for what has long passed. But, I have been punishing myself unconsciously for a long time – I think.

I don’t understand any of this stuff because there seems to be no logical understanding of it.

However, the emotions and the memories continue to arise and it seems that for me to set myself free I need to do the same thing.

Not too long ago I realized what a beautiful contribution you made to my life. And you didn’t even know it. The music you left behind helped me to decide to try to work toward love. You’re music became my music and still is the foundation of my preferences today.

Another realization I had was that my using started and ended very close to your departure and return from Norway. I don’t know if there is a direct correlation but the two would appear to have some relationship.

Just today I had another realization about you rescuing me from Phyllis. I had a lot of emotions come up about Devon and having to tell someone else what was happening. It brought up a lot of memories/feelings from deep inside me. Like it was my own pain coming out. I realized that you rescued me from a situation that might have made me an angry, bitter person. Thank you.

I miss you Laurie. I would have liked to have known you better. And I’m really sorry if I let you down. How did you make the angel happen?

Today I want to set myself free. I went to my chiropractor today and you came up again, together with a lot of emotions. This lady is very special and she said I need to ask You, God and myself to forgive myself. And she said I need to forgive you.

I don’t really believe that God condemns and I don’t think you had any hard feelings towards me but I believe I have condemned myself. I have carried a guilt for you, Devon and Arlis. And I think I punish myself by my lifestyle with how I handle money and how I let my God shine from me. I want to set myself free. So I am writing you and God and me this letter to bring this about. I am asking God to help me forgive you – if I haven’t. And I am asking that you and God forgive me and for me to allow you to forgive me, if that is necessary, and finally for me to forgive myself. Please help me to let all of God’s love in.


Writing Poetry
I used to write poetry.
I liked it when my sister and mother said they were good.
Then my sister went away.
She wrote poetry.
She was an artist.
I don't think I wrote any more poetry.
My sister died.
She hung herself.
I couldn't imagine writing poetry
I've cried.
I miss my sister.
I saw a doctor today.
My back was hurting.
We cried together - I don't really know why.
She said she asked my body a question.
Then she felt very sad.
She told me to forgive.
She told me to ask for forgiveness.
And to let myself to be forgiven.
I don't think God condemns.
I do - but I'm trying not to.
I wrote my sister a letter.
I didn't write her when she went away.
I told her things I could remember.
I remember more.
My sister was my friend.
I asked for forgiveness and to forgive.
Is this a poem?


  1. Andy, I'm writing from Sweden and have just found your blog and the photo of your dear sister Laurie. I have read about your thoughts and poems and want to share with you some memories and thoughts about Laurie who I met in Oslo -

    Laurie! She became a very dear friend my first year in Norway, at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo, where we shared a room with Michael from UK. Laurie was a very high talented artist, and I loved, and love her works. We liked to work in the evenings and we talked a lot.

    Laurie invited Michael and me to a party, I always thought that it was her birthday party, and I guess it was, held in the fall instead of in July. Michael and I took a bus to Laurie´s home outside Oslo and we had a lovely evening with her and some of her friends.

    But one day she was gone and Michael and I were told that she was in hospital and we missed her. All her things were left, and her working coat, checkered in blue and white, hung on our door throughout the semester. We looked after her things and waited for her to come back. I wrote a letter to her that was not sent, I still have it and will always regret I did not send it -

    One hot day in the end of May or one of the first days of June, my friend Astrid and I were working with something for an exhibition when I suddenly could not move my legs, they were like paralyzed. There was a hammock in the school garden and I was helped there. I fell asleep and was awakened by one of the teachers standing under a tree, looking at me very seriously. She told me that Laurie was dead -

    I will always miss Laurie and I cry when I see the photo of her.

    After her passing a very beautiful commemorative exhibition was held in Oslo. Her works was excellent and with great respect written about in newspapers and the major museums in Oslo bought several of her works. I bought a beautiful drawing that later very sad was stolen in a burglary.

    A few years later I had a beautiful dream. There were a couple of bathtubs sunken in the pavement close to a house, the bathtubs were filled with water and someone told me “here anyone can take a bath anytime, the water is always totally clean, because it will re-water all the time”. On the wall above the bathtubs were tiny lightbulbs that created a text: Laurie's Hotel.

    I made a drawing of the dream, and many years later, in 2005, I made two larger paintings titled Laurie´s Hotel. During my work with the third painting a man from Oslo, who also knew Laurie, came to my studio a day when I was not there. He brought a gift, a watercolor painting made by Laurie.

    I know as I write that I still mourn her. She was intelligent, kind and sensitive and had great integrity. I also know that I will always keep her in my heart.

    Love, Bodil

    1. Dear Bodil,

      I hope this message finds you. I had not seen your beautiful message before today. THANK YOU!!!!

      I hope we can communicate more. It is interesting that you posted your comment the day after my birthday this year.

      I have continued to be inspired by Laurie's gift to me. She gave her life so I could become the person I am today. I have been working on very many things to "re-create the world" as she is the one who gave me the courage to be different.

      Here is something I am creating to better share her, my parents, and my story and to create a collaborative network so more people can share their hearts. This is a link to my profile so you can learn a little more about me

      I am praying that this message finds you because I am so grateful for your message right now. It is so beautiful and amazing. It has been an incredibly challenging time since I left a university in 2008 to "do my dream".

      Finally, I recently posted several of my poems on one page

      My direct email is anskadberg@gmail.com

      There I will be able to see your message as I don't get a notice when people post comments here.

      With Great Love,

  2. Replies
    1. Wow Web Producer. You know you posted this on the same day of my sister's passing. It is also the birthday of my middle son Joshua. Thank you for taking the time to read and posting this comment. I am sorry it took so long to reply, I didn't get a notice. Peace!