...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

Sue Feder
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I’m getting really fed UP with people dying. Forgive me, I know that sounds bratty and unrealistic and childish and stupid. But I’m really worn out. I know it happens, I’m not living in a dream world, but I started this blog in January mourning the loss of a friend, Anna Vargo, and last night I got news about Sue Feder.

I know, I know. I’m 52. People die. I’ve known that for a very long time; the first time a friend died I was still going to summer camp; when I was in high school I lost my friend Phil and haven’t forgotten. And there are accidents and illness. And there’s cancer, which took both Anna and Sue and was part of the reason Dennis Lynds is gone and I know, okay? But I’m still angry and upset and worn down by the news.

Of course who the hell can handle such news this week anyway? Between the anniversary of 9/11 and the still stunning pictures and stories from the Gulf Coast, we’re all weary. And it’s not unexpected; many of those weren’t. I knew Dennis had been ill; Anna’s cancer was a fact for months, Sue’s illness for years.

Fall used to be a great time of year for me; I love the colors, the snap in the air. It’s better in New England; I always liked the wind and the leaves and the apples and it’s just not quite the same year. Yeah, leaves change, but the seldom crunch underfoot satisfactorily. And you never see that vivid crimson that maple leaves turn. Many years ago, after I’d moved to Oakland, my dad sent photos one year of an ice storm in Connecticut. Gorgeous, dangerous photos of branches simply encased in ice. He also that year sent photos of maple leaves, huge bright red leaves bigger than my hand, to remind me of the GOOD stuff.

But while yeah we have great apple cider and that's a plus, I’m liking this time of year less and less. Some of it is whiny weather stuff – I feel the dampness and cold. Some is that dad died in November. Some of it is that I hate the phony cheeriness of “the holiday season” which is a bunch of endless tape loops in stores, “holiday wrap” on sale but only if it's red and green, and Jon Stewart (thank god for Jon Stewart) dong at least one show where he’ll use the Very Tired Line “and for our Jewish friends” because oh, we don’t want to leave out the Jews. And whoever else isn’t American enough to “celebrate” the four months of Christmas festivities.

And it’s HARD reading the paper every day but you can’t forget the hundreds of thousands of people who still wonder if they’ll ever get home and if home will be worth saving (you think Habitat for Humanity is gonna be busy the next several years?) And wondering if anyone will remember in three months and if the kids will have presents. And warm clothes. Ick. And if you have a heart, you try so hard not to forget that well, there was that tsunami and people still don’t have homes from that. And there are simply the things that changed our lives forever and we won’t forget and we can’t.

I get cranky about friends dying especially because I really want there to be a balance. I want the bad guys to be dead and the good guys to live longer. I want the shitheads to fall over; I wish the haters would not live into their 80s and 90s, protected by doctors and wealth and their own evil. Sue Feder was a good person. She was intelligent, she provided us with things to talk about, she participated, she was a person who shared her enthusiasms well. She worked her ass of for the mystery community in a number of ways. Someone like Sue should have had more time and I resent it that she’s gone and the bastards who pretend to be ministers and say “god hates fags” are alive. And those who pray for the death of a liberal are alive. And those who think drug addicts should go to prison, except him. He’s alive too. And the people who made this damn world a better and more interesting place are gone. That sucks and I really really resent it.

Sue was going to participate once again in the Light the Night Walk. She’d done it and fundraised for years. It’s the annual fund-raiser for blood cancers – myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma and Hodgkin’s disease. Her goal was $3,000; I sent $25 yesterday to get her closer; right now the page reads $2,537 (thirty-seven?) The walk,the one she would have gone on, is in Baltimore on October 21. I’ve been sending money for Katrina the past few weeks and feeling like there’s no way to do enough. But I can’t walk or participate (it’s too exhausting, even on the scooter, I know how that sounds, but would you believe that it took me DAYS to recover from Bouchercon and what the HELL did I do there?) so I sent money. I don’t know what I'll do on October 21, but Sue will be there.

Sue and I were part of a small wonderful club – we were both Left Coast Crime Fan Guests of honor and I really appreciate that we shared that. And I'm just royally Pissed OFF.

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