When I first came in contact with her, she was posting lots of information on behalf of a group called Patients Against Lymphoma. That group dissolved and she went on her own, advocating for and educating Lymphoma patients and their families through a new name: Hope For Lymphoma.
She moderated a number of support groups and was active in her local government. Every once in a while she'd disappear from FB due to real life circumstances (Hurricane Sandy, the death of a friend's 14 year old daughter, illness in her family), but she'd always come back with some timely posts - occasionally snarky, always smart. She offered me lots of advice and was a blog reader. We shared private messages and she always wrote with pride of her 3 children (youngest is finishing his senior year in high school), while she appreciated the anecdotes and photos I posted of my own Mr. J.
Absent from the online scene for the past few weeks, I did not think anything major was going on. The last time I'd checked in with her (last August), she explained that she'd taken a break from facebook to spend time with her family and friends following the accidental death of her friend's teenager). Totally understandable.
But then today, her mother let her friends know that Liz died on Monday, following a few weeks with flu-like symptoms and then a massive heart attack.
I am totally in shock about it, but it's all I've been thinking about since I read the news. I can't help thinking this should be national news. The world should know that someone so warm and caring, smart and generous, was here. She was a helper to others, because she knew that's the only way to get through this short and unpredictable time we have here together. I don't know if I can get a blurb into the New York Times, so for now, this will have to do.
I am grateful that I had the opportunity to connect with someone who brought so much to the table. She devoted so much of her time and energy to other people - usually other people who were experiencing the toughest challenges of their lives - and she made those lives better. I hope her children know how proud they made her and how highly she thought of them. The lesson she left with me is that one person can have a huge impact. Not money, nor fame, but talking to others and sharing knowledge. The world is certainly a better place because she has been here.
Thank you, Liz.