Tuesday, May 23, 2006


As many of you know from other sources, Lisa died 3 weeks ago, very early in the morning of May 2. She was never in pain, and died peacefully in her sleep, with me, her two sisters, and the cats and dog keeping watch. Although it wasn't entirely unexpected - she had been going downhill physically for about a month - I don't think anyone expected her death to come so quickly. (In fact, her oncologist, who had told her that Friday that he didn't think there was much more he could do, also said, "we'll talk some more next week.") Lisa had always said that she intended to fight as long as there was the slightest chance of beating the cancer, and it seems as though it was mostly willpower that kept her going. Not that I fully realized it, strong and positive as she always was! Once she was told there wasn't any real chance, she allowed herself to let go - and, being Lisa, wasn't about to hang around and prolong things.

Our friends have been incredibly kind through all of this, and their presence, the week she died and at the memorial service and just being there afterwards - I can't thank you enough for everything. You know who you are.

The hardest thing has been trying to remember not to say "we." For 27 years, I've been part of a couple, quite happily so. I've thought in terms of both of us - our house, our plans, our dog, our writing, our life together - and now I have to start remembering that there is only me. "We" didn't have 3 inches of water in the cellar during the recent flooding, I did. "We" aren't selling Lisa's car, I am. And yet that's the word that still comes to the tip of my tongue. It hurts me when I realize what I've done, and I see our friends wince when they hear me and remember: such a hard thing.

I know it does get, if not better then at least easier, or so I'm told by other widowed people who've been coping longer. But it is hard now.


At 2:21 PM, Blogger M-H said...

Yes, it is hard, and its lonely. It's a form of work that isn't well recognised. Ya just gotta do it, day by day, hour by hour. Other people are sometimes frightened of it, frightened to ask you how you're doing, frightened of the answer. Thinking of you putting one foot in front of the other... most days... other days, maybe, you just can't.

At 2:00 PM, Blogger Linda said...

My deepest condolences. I just happened to discover Lisa's obit and realized I went to high school with her. It sounds like she hadn't changed too much fromm her fiesty self of back then! I wish you comfort during this time of grief and loss.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Lizzy said...

I came to your blog just a few weeks ago in search of one of my favorite SF authors (MIA for a few years)and just in time to read about Lisa's last weeks. Words from strangers cannot mean much, but I will keep you in my thoughts as you inch your way forward on this new path. It's so usual to continue thinking "we" for a while; take your time, good person.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Dharma said...

Oh Melissa

I think of you so often. I am glad you have such a great community around you during this very hard and painful transition. For different reasons I have avoided the "we" word (usually work involved) and it is SO hard. I can only begin to imagine how it must be to do it because of a death. I am so sorry for your loss.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Danny said...

Melissa, I only met you a couple of times but I loved Lisa. I can't imagine having a more supportive (or interesting) colleague. I'm finishing four of her Heinemann books and feel very close to her as I read the manuscripts and talk to her authors. But I still can't get it through my head that I can't just pick up the phone and call her to chat about these projects. It seems unreal that she's gone, especially being so far away and not having seen her towards the end. I even left a comment on Lisa's blog after she died, knowing it would never be posted. Much love to you, Melissa, as you go through this process.

At 3:10 PM, Blogger ender said...

like others, i got here looking for my favourite SF writer and was so stunned to discover the story of the last couple of years. i'm am so sorry to hear about this.


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