“Fear not death for the sooner we die, the longer we shall
“Fear not death for the sooner we die, the longer we shall be immortal."
— Benjamin Franklin
Why, how, when? We can never know the how and why someone passes on, whether it is an act of nature, or perhaps a moment in which they take death on as a personal choice.
Personally, I have a hate-hate relationship with death– mostly hate, for obvious reasons. It is quite difficult to accept the loss of a friend, a sibling, a parent, or any loved one. I particularly find fault with sudden death or suicide. No– I should rephrase that. I am angry at sudden death or suicide. I do not accept it. I do not go gently into the damn night. I am still reeling from the sudden death of my friend Marsh Matulionis, who was an integral part of this magazine. I still mourn the loss of the talented designer Laura Meisner so many years ago. I miss chatting with my friend and co-conspirator, Patricia Cronin, with whom I shared many a convention, joke and cocktail. I feel melancholy over the loss of the tremendous talent and quirky energy of Susan Renee Tomb, who brought Ellowyne Wilde and Evangline Ghastly to life in her extraordinary photography and advertising design.
Now, we say goodbye to another fragile, creative soul. Melissa Windham was a gentle, delightful presence in the doll world, who created fantastic OOAKs and brought an elegance and grace to each event and convention she attended. She and I shared a particular moment of stage fright last year at BarbieCon ’10 when we both signed up to sing Karaoke live in front of one thousand collectors in Cincinnati. I was being cheeky and silly, singing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”; Melissa sang a torchy rendition of “Cry Me A River”. Armchair quarterbacks and shrinks, trot out your theories about personalities and transference and foreshadowing. It doesn’t really matter now.
What matters is that a wonderful and talented group of people have come through the portals of doll collecting and we are all the better for it. The next time you are at a convention and you are feeling awkward, shy, or left out, just jump in. Don’t be afraid to talk to each other and don’t hold back your joy, your creativity and yes, your fears. Sharing this hobby and enjoying the beauty and creativity of fashion dolls is cathartic and freeing. Let your inner artist thrive among friends. Share your talents with the community and don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability and imperfections. It’s what makes the world go around. No man (or woman) is an island, it takes a village, and you know a million other platitudes and clichés about friendship and community. However, most clichés are founded upon truth and it’s a hard truth that we all need each other. Don’t keep each other at arm’s distance; let ‘em in.
learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.