Lani died at 77, a year of 喜寿（kiju) – celebrated in Japan as a a year of good fortune, a notion that she took great delight in, as she moved toward her death with both acceptance and consciousness, dying, in her own words, “by grace.” As one of her spiritual teachers offered, “If it’s good, take the blessing.” And, indeed, Lani felt so blessed by her experience of living life within what she coined the “Matrix of love.” Those of us who knew and loved her are blessed to have been in relationship with this remarkable woman who was a shimmering light and a beacon for connection.
Lani was gifted with deep curiosity; a lover of both the material and the sacred, the world was her sanctuary and she loved to travel and experience new places. She moved to San Francisco at 19, a place to which she and her husband, Keith (who died two years ago), jokingly referred to as ‘the old Country’ once they made their permanent home in Longmont, CO. She delighted in a life in the ‘arts,’ beginning her academic journey in the history of art, before deflecting into the world of theater, in which she worked as a costumer and designer.
Lani was a passionate person with many loves: the short list includes life, food, friendship, literature, the visual and theater arts. She was also a life-long learner, deeply committed to reaching for the sacred. Her connection to theater attuned her to the importance of ritual, and her fascination with, and love of, the material world, was embodied in her thoughtful curation of sacred objects, even in the final days of her life.
Lani’s mother’s family belonged to the Dutch Mennonite community, while her father’s family stemmed from Norway. She was particularly close to her Sami paternal grandfather, Harald Hansen, whose indigenous spiritual teachings on how to live were deeply grounding and nourishing to her soul, as well as to her maternal grandmother, Katherine Harms, who gifted Lani with gentle courage and deep Jewish roots. Upon learning of her Jewish ancestry in 2013, she swerved off the Benedictine Oblate path she had been on for some years and embraced Judaism with a full and grateful heart, taking the Hebrew name “Noa.” She experienced her life to be a shimmering – a rippling – from darkness to light, and she was proud to live, and die, as a Jew.
Lani was married to Keith Abbott, her partner of 54 years, who died in August 2019, and is survived by their daughter, Persephone Abbott.