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Life without Anne - Songs of innocence and of experience [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Douglas Spencer

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Life without Anne [Sep. 5th, 2002|10:22 am]
Douglas Spencer
[Current Mood |gratefulgrateful]

This is being posted in more than one place. If you read it more than once, then apologies.
Reproduce this elsewhere, or not, as you wish. If you chair a meeting, read it out. If you publish a zine, include it. If you are at work, call out to your colleagues and point at the screen. It's a sort of thank-you to everyone.

Today marks a year without Anne. She died at lunchtime on the 5th of September 2001.
It was about now (half-ten am) that we turned the machines off and started waiting.

The news is full of one-year-after-the-trade-centre. I bet that in 2006 it'll be full of five-years-after-the-trade-centre. It doesn't help.

I was going to say "I hope no-one reading this loses their partner", but that's stupid. These things happen.
Better: I hope that, if anyone reading this loses their partner, they find themselves helped by a team like mine.
The family, UK SF fandom, the British Computer Society, the people at work, the Church.

Some people reading this won't have met Anne.
I was going to write something new today which captured on the screen what she was like in real life.
I can't do that. I tried and it didn't work.

Dave Langford emailed me shortly after Anne died, and I sent him the following lines which he was kind enough to quote in Ansible 171.
I still can't do better than this. Anne had other qualities, but her nature as described in the final line of this post informed everything she ever did.

There were four things that affected Anne's ability to do what she wanted to do.
She had angina, so her heart stopped her doing it.
She had emphysema, so her lungs stopped her doing it.
She had lymphoedema, so her legs stopped her doing it.
But then, she had bloody-mindedness, so she did it anyway.

[User Picture]From: flick
2002-09-05 02:25 am (UTC)
We're still here for you.
Don't forget that.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: dougs
2002-09-05 02:26 am (UTC)
And since you ask, I will be at the pub tonight.
Silver Cross, Whitehall, London. Probably downstairs.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: the_magician
2002-09-05 02:53 am (UTC)


You may not need hugs, you may not want them ... they are becoming an overused currency in online filk IRC channels ... but they express a connectedness that seems appropriate. They are not sympathy (you have that if you want, though your posting doesn't demand that from me), they are not condolences (which again you can have if you wish, they are certainly available here and from me), hugs are a way of saying we're both human and sometimes it's nice to know that we don't have to be alone in our shells ... and sometimes they are more than that ... and sometimes they are less than meaningless ...

The news is full of one-year-after-the-trade-centre. I bet that in 2006 it'll be full of five-years-after-the-trade-centre. It doesn't help.
And a week or so ago it was the x years after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

We are, in great part, the product of our experiences. Our potential may be influenced by our genetics and nutrition, but our achievements and who we are now (current state) are the result of what we've seen and what we've done (and a major part of that is how we've interacted with other people)

Anne was/is a major influence on your life, you are who you are *now* because she was who she was. I am who I am now because of many factors, and a part (?a small part?) of that is you, and therefore is Anne. Each of us has an effect on the people around us, and sometimes that can be disproportionate to the effort expended by the person (Diana had a great effect on many people, through her life and death ... and while *I* can say that her death wasn't a major impact in my life, it did get me to write an article for the worldcon newsletter that day which helped me express how the death of a friend of a friend (a friend's stepmother died the same day) affected me more than the death of Diana, and that is still with me so Diana's death has indeed affected me).

Anne's death now affects me, the lines written (the four things) are wonderful, they paint a picture of Anne which, though not enough for me to pick her out of a photograph, reveal how she changed your life and have now changed (to whatever minor or major extent) mine. Thus the old cliche is revealed that a person is never truely gone, even if we will never see them again.

I want to write more, be more insightful, but I'm going to stop here instead.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: echo_uk
2002-09-05 11:16 am (UTC)
My thoughts are with you on what must be a very hard day for you.
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From: emmzzi
2011-09-05 01:06 pm (UTC)
You are there for us, and we love you for it.

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[User Picture]From: asphodeline
2011-09-05 07:27 pm (UTC)
Can only offer thoughts, prayers and internet hugs but all sincerely meant. Time doesn't really heal, it just sort of numbs us.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jon_a_five
2011-09-06 05:56 am (UTC)
I think she'd be happy that you still love her and have continued to live your life.
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