Losing Mrs. Lapsley

Once upon a time, a guest caught me crying.

It is excruciatingly rare in our ever more connected, yet devastatingly disconnected world, to meet a human at random and connect on more than a superfluous level. But when I recommended the stunning beauty of Lake Julian to a Southern Belle, she saw the pain in my eyes and called me out on it.

Most people are unaware, but I lost my best friend three years ago. I took one day off of work to attend his funeral at Lake Julian – a place we had taken my son dozens of times to fish and hike. He introduced me to the enchantment of these Western North Carolina mountains.

So sometimes, my most genuine recommendations come from a place of beautiful, bittersweet sorrow.

Without any prior knowledge, Kimberly caught me smiling and blinking back tears as I described a place brutally dear to my heart.

She not only called me out on a painful memory, but dragged the story out of me. I bore my soul to an utter stranger, and in turn, she displayed hers.

Over the course of our friendship, she would refer to me her “life concierge,” a term I found hilarious, endearing, and totally flattering. She would text me from anywhere in the world to ask my advice as a concierge – usually sending me into a whirlwind of research.

When she stayed with us at the Hotel Indigo, she very clearly expressed her very high expectations. (I cannot explain how much this is a gift to a hotel – open communication with our guests is truly the only way we can ever hope to satisfy them.)

{If she could read this, she would slap me. She hated being called “Mrs.” Lapsley.}

With Kimberly Lapsley more than most, I truly embodied the definition of a concierge – I was her friend, her confidant – as she was mine.

This guest took me out of my element and inspired me in so many unexpected ways.

A true Southern lady, Kimberly embodied abundance while demons waged war inside her.

She constantly sought out decadence, revelry, and indulgence, while maintaining utter poise and grace.

She taught me to honor my good intentions, and never let anyone else’s bad behavior impact my good behavior. This lesson will always be a source of strength for me.

So, if you were ever graced by the unmistakable presence of Kimberly Price Lapsley, your burning question, your burning curiosity, should not be “how did she die?”, but how did she live? And how can I honor her with my next breath?

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