Sunday, June 03, 2012


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A dear friend, Elizabeth who lived in San Diego and I've known all my life, passed away this morning at 5 am. Her death wasn't unexpected. She'd had breast cancer for fifteen years, but her health had started declining a few months ago. She was adamant about no one making a fuss or special trips to see her. Most people in her life didn't know what was going on. That was her choice and one her friends tried to respect.

In late February when things had taken a turn for the worst, she didn't want me to visit. She said wait until I was planning to be there in May. But I didn't want to wait. Her son suggested I find a reason to be in San Diego that had nothing to do with her. So I signed up for the San Diego RWA chapter's March meeting on digital publishing and flew down there. I arrived a couple of days before the meeting, telling Elizabeth I figured I might as well spend some time with her, too. I think that's a white lie that will be forgiven. At least I hope so. She was doing so well she'd ordered a wheel chair so she could get out. We'd even talked about her going to the dog show for a short time to watch Mackenna compete in May.

But that wasn't meant to be. In April, Elizabeth had to be moved into a facility for hospice care. We had wonderful visits while I was there for the dog show. I managed to see her all but two of the days. One of those days, she wanted me to sightsee so I took Mackenna to Sea World. The other day was too full of dog show stuff. I asked Elizabeth to give Mackenna the same great advice she'd given me when I was at Stanford and spent many weekends with their family. Granted I had four years plus many after that to let the wisdom sink in (or be told what I was doing was STUPID! and she was right), but at least Mackenna heard it. I'm still amazed and thankful how the timing of that trip worked out.

I planned on going back to San Diego after I turned in my manuscript. But unfortunately that didn't happen. The past few months haven't been easy. Something like this really makes you take stock of your life and prioritize things. It's also emotional, and I've been pretty scatter brained and not quite all here. The last few days, since Thursday, have been the roughest. All I've wanted was to be in San Diego. An email from a good friend of Elizabeth's on Friday prompted me to call. Talking was difficult for Elizabeth, but I'm so glad I got a chance to speak with her, however briefly. Elizabeth was ready to go. She'd made that clear when I was there in March and May. But I wasn't quite there yet.

I called her Betty, but she later decided and preferred to go by Elizabeth. No matter what name she went by, she was an amazing woman who helped me become the person I am today. RIP Elizabeth, I love you, and I'm happy you're where you want to be now. But I miss you.