In Memoriam

I really don’t like summers when every week or so I hear that someone else is sick.

In addition to Teddy Kennedy, this week, two of the people I have been praying for passed on. The first was the youngest daughter of one of my cousins, Jessica Lliteras, age 30, who had been battling cancer for several years. The second was Ann Braude, a room mate when I was in grad. school and notable SF/Fantasy fan, who died of intestinal sepsis after several very painful weeks. In both cases, it had to be a welcome release from pain.

I knew Jessica mainly through her mother, the closest of my cousins on my father’s side. They are all staunch Evangelical Lutherans who really do live their religion– the kind of people who give Christians a good name. Prayers were asked, and since I believe in doing unto others as they would do for themselves, not as I would have them do for me, I put out a prayer to Jesus. I got the sense that he really cared about her, but neither my prayers nor those of several Christian congregations produced a miracle. She does seem to have been the kind of person whose courage inspires others, and it’s clear that her life enriched life for those who knew her. My sorrow is for her mother– to lose a child must be the worst of griefs.

Anne was a brilliant, witty and knowledgeable fan, and an excellent writer, who will be deeply missed by all her correspondents. For her, I was talking to Kuan Yin, my fallback deity for healing, or “the best possible outcome”. According to reports, Anne was not lucid very much after she went into the hospital, but she did make it clear that any life that did not allow her access to her books and her cats was not acceptable, and that’s what she would have been condemned to if she had survived. She was fortunate in having devoted friends, Bruce Arthurs and Hilde Hildebrand, who visited her, fought the system to get her care, and will probably have to sort through a house crammed with books and papers to settle her estate.

By the way, can I put in a plea to everyone to make a will? If you don’t have the kind of property that requires a formal legal document, at least write down your wishes about funeral services and the like, and some directions on distribution of things like books and religious items, so your heirs don’t end up cursing you instead of mourning? I even have a checklist-form for such things that I will be happy to send to anyone who asks.

Meanwhile, enough, already! Everybody who’s sick, get better, and if you’re well, please stay that way!