Lindy Moone, what a tribute to your sister! Breaks my heart!
Here’s Gretchen — how I will always remember her. The Mona Lisa of the family. She was beautiful inside and out, generous, compassionate, empathetic and smart as a whip. She gave her all, and then some, for her family and even for strangers. She bought a house so my divorced, disabled brother would have a decent place to raise his kids. She took in a family of four strangers for months — a family who had lost their home in a hurricane. She risked her life to save a pregnant woman who was being stabbed on the street. She was not a churchgoer, but she believed in an afterlife. She was good — good for no other reason than that the alternative would be impossible.
I would give anything to be with her again. If you believe in angels, then you are looking at one.
Lindy, there’s more than one Mona-Lisa-beautiful woman in your family (look in the mirror, honey).
Gretchen–the high cheekbones, thinly tweezed brows, center-parted hair–reminds me of my sister Julie:
Cancer is a murderer, too–a faceless fugitive from justice. How? Why? No answer is ever found. I keep saying my sister’s death wouldn’t occupy so much of my attention if it had been something “blameless” like “natural causes,” as opposed to “whoever did this to her is still out there living free” — but cancer is “out there” too and is a far, far greater threat to our loved ones than some human murderer.
Bravo for this: “Thank you to those who are thinking of sending flowers or whatever, but don’t know what to do: What Gretchen would have wanted is for people to make donations to their local animal shelters, instead. She once (probably more!) braved harrowing traffic on a multi-lane road to save a kitten. Webster (named after the road) and many other animals lived long and happy lives thanks to her.”
Lindy wrote: “Two days ago (July 16, 2015), my family and the world lost a beautiful person. Hearts are broken from sea to shining sea.”
Here are me, Elisa and Gretchen in happier times.
Do not rest in peace, Gretchen. Wherever, if ever, whoever you are… just keep doing what you do, saving animals and people… making the lives of everyone around you better while you neglect yourself. Hell no, fuck that. Take care of you, next time, will you? Promise me…
For those who want to know more: a month or so ago Gretchen was diagnosed with inoperable liver bile duct cancer. She’d been ill for many weeks — months, in fact — but her first doctor swore it was just lingering effects of stomach flu. Far too late she finally got a new doctor and the testing began. She was due to start chemo last Monday, but they put it off because she had a fever. She should have been in the hospital, but wouldn’t go. I think she knew this was it and wanted to be home. Elisa lived with her and was there when she collapsed. The paramedics were there in just a few minutes, but they couldn’t save her. Massive blood loss. No doubt no one could have saved her even if she’d been in the hospital.
Lindy, your loss is bigger than the Grand Canyon. May we all meet again in a hereafter. What prescience for you to write as you did of the afterlife in your first novel. (Is that a spoiler?) Did Gretchen write too? Is there anything you could publish posthumously?
Thank you for sharing this, Lindy, and readers, don’t miss Lindy’s “Alive” (a letter to Neil Gaiman).