The country music community has once again been rocked by the news of the passing of another one of its most gifted blessings, Lari White. While the loss is indeed devastating, family, friends and fans are finding comfort in the words that Lari’s mother shared just hours after her daughter passed away.
Shortly after Lari shared the news of her diagnosis with peritoneal cancer, the family created a page on the Caring Bridge website where they could share news of her treatments and visits to the doctor, in addition to the joys of family visits. And even on Jan. 23, the day that Lari passed away, her mother, Yvonne, was heartbroken, yet still uplifting in her message.
First she explained that Lari had left the hospice facility to be at home with her family. “Lari wanted to go home to the holler to be with [husband] Chuck [Cannon] and their three amazing children,” she wrote. “She was able to do that over the weekend, still in hospice care. She asked for two kinds of days: A aunny day and a rainy day.”
Lari did get her sunny day. Her mother continues, “The Sabbath day broke in the holler with sunlight streaming through the windows, lighting up the very special sunflower arrangement for Lari on her dresser … She had a day surrounded by an abundance of love and care, in her own bed, her own home she loved so.”
And then, describing the morning before Lari succumbed to her illness, Yvonne wrote, “Monday she awoke to the sound of rain on her roof, a sound she always loved. When Lari was about 4, she was taking a walk down the sidewalk with her little umbrella, in the rain. One of our older neighbors came out to check on her, asking if I knew she was doing that, and Lari replied: ‘Oh yes! My mother allows me to take Rain Walks!’… And I did! … The rest of her life we always laughed about ‘Lari’s Rain Walks.’
“When I awoke, hearing the same rain on our roof, I said to God: ‘Today Lari might take her Rain Walk.’”
Yvonne also shared some words from Lari’s songwriter-musician husband, who told her, “I thought of you letting your firstborn go, and knowing there is no such thing as ‘letting go’… Just some words we say to describe something hearts don’t do …”
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She closed her post saying, “That powerful, soul-stirring voice is introducing a new level of singing ‘Amazing Grace’ today … and heaven is a better place … just as this broken world was mended by Lari’s love. Lord, I give her permission to do her Rain Walks … until I can walk with her again.”
Even though Lari’s illness was discovered last fall after she had been struggling with health issues, the news of her cancer diagnosis wasn’t widely known until earlier in January. The petite songbird underwent surgery and chemotherapy treatments in an effort to stop or stall the disease, but to no avail.
As her mother and countless of her country music peers have said, Lari was a positive and bright force in the music industry. When radio or media asked how to pronounce her first name, she often said, “Lari … rhymes with starry.” And it truly wasn’t just her name that sparkled, but also her incredible heart.
We’re sending love and light to Yvonne, Chuck and all of Lari’s family, along with her friends and fans during this tragic time.