The past week I've turned this news over and over in my mind, trying my best to make sense of Laurel's departure or to glean some salient lesson from our brief crossing. I've never been able to take heart in that silly thing people in the climbing community always say about one of our tribe passing in the mountains: "She died doing what she loved."
So I'll keep this simple. Laurel was a straight-shooter. Laurel made me earn her respect - even after hiring me as her coach. Laurel held herself to high standards, executing relentlessly on her goals. Laurel gave herself no excuses.
May we use her single-minded focus, keen intellect, and discerning nature as guides on our continued paths as alpine seekers.