Douglas Spencer (dougs) wrote,
Douglas Spencer

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Life without Anne

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.

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