Tributes To Terri…





“Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased.”

Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon

Spider Robinson




On this bittersweet Christmas Eve, my heart and soul ache for the loss of my beloved niece…

I have learned over these last few weeks that my brother-in-law, Spider, was right. So, in an attempt to lessen my pain and increase my joy, I will be sharing excerpts from our phenomenal Celebration of Terri’s Life over the next few weeks. I hope it provides you comfort and inspires you to celebrate this holiday season wrapped in the warm embrace of your loved ones.

Terri Luanna da Silva

Welcome to our Celebration of Life for our beloved Terri Luanna da Silva, also lovingly known as our gracefulwomanwarrior. Today’s service, brought to you in true Rubbicco style, promises to be an extraordinary tribute to an extraordinary woman, full of powerful music, inspiring words, laughter as well as tears, and most importantly, per Terri’s request, dancing.

Marisa has her fabulous new rainbow dress on and her IPOD is ready to go. So we promise you, Terri, we will get this party started, just as you wanted.

But first… A few words about my incredible niece.

Where to begin…

Terri was my niece, my daughter, my sister and my friend. She was one of the most remarkable, brave, gifted, radical, compassionate and inspirational human beings I have ever known. She lived her life with a level of grace, compassion and a compelling wisdom that is very rare. And in doing so, inspired people all over the world.

And I do mean all over the world. The overwhelming reaction and response to Terri’s passing is truly mind blowing, to use a phrase frequently used by my sister, Jeanne. Blog comments, letters, and donations are pouring in from all over the world; Australia, Russia, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Canada, Amsterdam.

And even… Macy’s department store at our very own North Dartmouth Mall.

I kid you not.

The other night, in an attempt to escape the ever present grief that consumes me, I decided to head to the mall for some retail therapy. I passed by a woman in the shoe department and our eyes locked for just a second. I smiled, as did she, and I moved along. A few minutes later I turned and there she was.

“Are you Dori’s sister?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“I thought so. I’ve seen you on Facebook.”

She hesitated for the briefest of moments, then said, “I had to come over and tell you how sorry I was about your niece’s passing.”

Tears sprung to my eyes.

“Thank you,” I replied, touched beyond belief. “I can’t tell you how glad I am you reached out to me.”

“No, thank you,” she answered. “I don’t know what it was, but I just felt I needed to come over to you.”

“It was Terri.” I said.

She smiled. “I’m sure it was. I can’t begin to tell you how inspired I was by your niece’s story. And by your family. You let us all in during such an unbelievably difficult time. We have such a hard time talking about death and you and your niece did it so beautifully. I just had to come over to tell you how deeply her story has affected my life.”

I went on to tell her how we plan to publish Terri’s blog, and as we talked more, our serendipitous connections continued to unfold as we made more and more connections around our work and our kids.

All thanks to Terri.

But that’s what our warrior did best. Connect. And she encouraged, no, she insisted, that we do so as well. And through that gift of connection, of unconditional love and light, she will live on. Through each and every one of us.

But most importantly, Terri will live on through her greatest legacy of all, the Magical Miss M. Marisa, you continue to amaze your Auntie Laurie with your fabulous sense of style, your crazy, silly, creative videos, your amazing dance moves, your ingenious imagination, and your magical presence. Like your mother, Terri, her mother, Nana Canada, and your Nana Nana, you live and love deeply. Auntie so looks forward to keeping Mamae’s love of life and adventure alive with you.

In closing, I want to say thank you to you, Terri, for welcoming me into your journey- of life, of parenting, of grief, of marriage, of friendship, of cancer, and of the special bond we have shared since the day you were born.

Love, auntie L


Hubby and Nana Nana

Hubby and Nana Nana

Kids craft table

Kids craft table


auntie L and grandpa


Balloon Launch Message from Miss M- “Thank you for all of your love, Mamae…”


11 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for sharing a truly wonderful tribute to an amazing woman! May you and your family continue to share your joys and pains and move through the healing process.

    I lost my mother one week before Christmas many years ago, so I know how difficult it will be to be joyful over the holiday season. Terri and Jeanne are happy together, and they will be sending signs of peace and love to all of you when you least expect it!

  2. I tried to explain this to my friends. About how Spider’s books were a part of my teenage years and I knew of Terri long ago, when she was Luanna. I picked up the narrative a few years ago when I found Spider’s website.

    But it wasn’t just that I had learned of her existence long ago. Terri’s very words were what made me think I knew her, even just a little. Once she went into hospice, I sent lots of light for a peaceful passing. Because she was Terri.

    I’ve been struggling with depression since being laid off this year. I contacted my doctor last month and am getting help, because partly I was inspired by Robin Williams. I did not want to sink into depression that deep.

    Part of the inspiration was Terri, the graceful warrior who fought hard for her life. I’m now fighting to find the happy me again.

    I am very sorry about her passing.

    • Thank you for your kind words… And Terri would be so happy to know she inspired you to a higher level of self care. Peace be with you, auntie L

  3. I can’t tell you how many times the loss of this wonderful light in this world has brought me to tears.

    Maybe because there was so much light in her and around her that the loss hurts. I never met anyone in your wonderful family, but following Terri’s journey has made me feel like you are somehow a family that anyone would want to be a part of. I have sent so many healing, comforting, and hopefully strengthening thoughts to you all. I hope in some small way that those thoughts from a lady in Kansas, did what they were supposed to.

    I know that you all will get through this, it might not be the easiest thing, but you all have the knowledge Terri’s strength came from her family.

    Miss M will dance and when she does, she will be so lucky to have not only people around her to love her, but will be accompanied in the dance by the women who have gone on before her.

    Sorry if this isn’t the most polished or eloquent post, but I guess I don’t really write that well when I have tears in my eyes and a wonderful kitty trying to wash them away.

    Please know that I will continue to send the good thoughts and I am sure that there are many others like me who will do the same.


  4. I first found Terri’s blog through my love of her father’s words- and grew to love hers in their own right, and her as an individual. The couple times I was able to make her laugh in her replies to my comments made it just all the more endearing. This family seems to do through the simple printed word what so many can’t do with so much more- and so she will live on in so many hearts.

    With love
    The Patchwork Doll.

  5. How could Terri not have grace and compassion and strength, with the mother and aunts she had? Thank you, Laurie, for continuing to let the world at large share in your grief. I am so very pleased to learn that there are plans to turn the blog into a book, where it will continue to touch so many more lives.

    I have tears as I write this, though, seeing the picture of you and Spider. For him to have gone from the lovely and loving tribute to his daughter to also losing his father only four days later makes my heart ache for him and all his family. The one image I’m keeping in mind is Terri greeting her Grandpa Charlie with open arms.

    • What a beautiful visual! Thank you. I know Spider this will definitely bring a smile to Spider’s face as well. Thank you, Kay.

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