If you haven’t heard, Lisa passed away yesterday from pancreatic cancer. Lisa wrote about her illness and the difficulties and challenges of facing her own mortality on her blog earlier this year. I was already aware of Lisa’s condition before she made it public, but reading her blog post made the news even more difficult to swallow. How could one person be so brave? Why would the world give us such an amazing, beautiful, talented, incredible person — only to then take that person away?
I am glad to have known Lisa at all, but sad that I didn’t get to know her long enough. I am glad that the world got to glimpse her talent in her outstanding novels Flash Burnout and The Mermaid’s Mirror, but sad that she won’t get to share more of her writing with us (and I know she had more, lots more, planned). But more than anything else, my heart aches for her family and closest friends, who will miss her more than any of us.
In the grand scheme of things, I barely knew Lisa — but I am so grateful that she was a part of my life, and that I could be a part of hers — no matter how brief. And though the moments I spent with Lisa were so few, I will always cherish them: chatting with her about the mind-blowing, out-of-body-like experience of winning the Morris Award; planning her appearance at Wordstock last year; gossiping about mermaid sex and other immature things; and the intense, in-depth conversation she engaged in with myself and fellow staffer Stephanie last October. At a post-Wordstock meal with several YA authors, Lisa pulled us aside from the group — away from the conversations about book deals and writing and the profession of being an author — to ask about us. She wanted to know our story. Because that’s the kind of person Lisa was.
I will never forget Lisa, or the small but significant impact she made on my life. The world is less full without her in it, but it is richer still for having been blessed with her presence at all.
And if, like us, you feel the need to do a little bit more, some good friends of Lisa’s have set up a college fund for her son. If you’d like to make a donation, checks can be made payable to the Nathan Wolfson Trust and sent to this address:
Becker Capital Management, Inc.
Attn: Sharon Gueck/John Becker
1211 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 2185
Portland, OR 97204