So many people left my earthly circle this year, whether it’s friends’ parents, friends of friends, or acquaintances — it sure seemed like death was hovering over us more than usual. Maybe not, maybe I just paid more attention to it.
There were a few people I want to remember here, even if I did it before in the blog, as we close out the year I want to say goodbye once more.
Dennis died unexpectedly in his sleep last March. It was a great shock to all who knew him, and so devastating for his partner Mark and his other family and close friends. Dennis was one of my first fiction fans – someone who reached out into that internet ether and not only complimented me on my book “Benediction,” but wanted to get together to talk about it. What a way to flatter an author! So eventually we did meet. Dennis had also suffered through prostate cancer (a main theme in that book) and went on to found a number of discussion and support groups for gay men with those health concerns. He was a TV producer, sure, but he also brought those skills to his passion as an activist. He was one of those people who knew how to make things happen, and he leaves a great void in Los Angeles. You can read more about Dennis here.
Whenever I think of Linda I just can’t help but smile. She was just the most fabulous, bubbly, interesting, smart and wonderful woman! I just adored her. She’d been a studio exec, a wildlife photographer, a teacher and a writer. Probably many more things I don’t even know about! I knew her best as a writing teacher and then a writing colleague. She had such a way with students, so supportive and encouraging. Just the right amount, and not sentimental. She was, in a sense, very girly, but also very strong and independent. She was also someone to live her life on her own terms — something that so resonates here.
Finally, my aunt Joan Arnold, who died in August at 92. Here’s a link to her obituary on this blog that I wrote earlier this year. What more can I say about her? One of a kind. Another great example of someone who lived life on her own terms, fiercely independent, definitely a role model for me as yet another single person in a big city. She definitely proved that not only could you work and go to the theater and out to dinner and pretty much do everything you always did well into your 90s: She also seemed to prove, to me, anyway, that in a big way the numerical age we all have is just some “idea,” to which we ascribe certain prejudices of what we should or should not be doing. Whenever I think of myself as that weird old guy on the bike with the blue lights, I think of my aunt going to work everyday at 92 years of age (and being a respected and valued member of the staff while there).
“You are remembered for the rules you break.” — Douglas MacArthur